Greetings my Fellow UU Members and Friends
Surprised? I know it has been a long time since you have heard from me about Transitioning. I hope you have noticed that it has been happening in a quiet subtle way with minor changes in our routine and slight modification in our traditions. Rev Sam has brought back older traditions of our faith and has introduced new ideas as well.
We are now fully staffed with a delightfully talented Music Director Paul Yoder as well as an organized and gracious professional Congregational Administrator, Judy Gilmore, in our Front Office to meet our needs and grant our wishes. Both are wonderful additions joining our loyal and energetic Director of Family Ministry, Lisa Lawrence. We have begun moving back together and hopefully forward together.
As promised, I am here to bring you up to date and to introduce the next BIG step in our Transitioning process – that of choosing the Search Committee for our next settled minister. It is time to go to work.
To begin – please check your Calendars and circle Friday, June 3rd at 7PM in red. That is the date for joining your fellow UU’s on Zoom for a full congregational Meeting to vote for those in the congregation who will become members of the Ministerial Search Team.
Each member and friend will be asked to participate in the selection of the committee members, and we will do this by personally speaking with every member and friend. The process we are using has been developed by the National Office and has been in use for several years. I had personal experience with this process at my last fellowship and found it to be a fair and equal approach to making sure we were all included.
Beginning Monday, April 11, and over the next 4 weeks, each member and friend will receive a phone call from either a member of the Board or a member of the Nominating Committee asking for your recommendations on who you would trust to be on the Search Committee for the next Minister. A series of questions have been developed to use in the quest for the perfect committee. I am including this list of questions for you to review so you will be familiar with what you are going to be asked and can give each some thought before the call. The most important question is the last one asking whom you would trust to do this work. You will be asked to give no more than 3 names for consideration.
These names will be compiled into a single list ranked by how the number of times their name is recommended and the final selection will be voted on by the congregation using the top 13-15 names. This will be done by zoom on June 3rd at the full congregational meeting. If you are unable to participate in that meeting – the newly revised Bylaws have made it possible for you to vote by proxy. You will also be able to review the top finalists before the meeting.
Our goal is to have our committee selected and confirmed by June giving them time to begin their work preparing for the activities which will take place in the Fall and Winter and involving our members and friends once again. We will do as much as we can on Zoom so as to include our snow and rain birds. This is a serious process and confidentiality will be considered imperative. So, we will not be seeing or hearing of the work being done by the committee – which is why trust is the most critical component of your recommendations.
You now have access to a member/friend directory – some with photos. This should help you as you think on this task. I have more to share with you but will put it in my next communication with you. I want the topic of this message be around the choosing of a trusted committee to find our next settled Minister. I would also like to impress upon you that this is a choice for each member and friend. We will not be asking households to give a combined response. We will talk to each member or friend in a household.
The list of questions for your review is below this message. If you have questions about the process, please feel free to contact me and I am happy to answer your questions or respond to your concerns.
If you are the primary email reader in your home, please make sure you share this information with other UU members and friends in your home.
- The Search Committee should represent the entire congregation.
- The Search Committee should be trusted by the congregation.
- The Search Committee should be in touch with the changing nature of the congregation.
- The Search Committee should be responsible to a good process for itself, the congregation, and Unitarian Universalism.
Selecting a Search Committee is the work of both the leadership and the entire congregation. While congregational by-laws may indicate a procedure, and while congregations ultimately have the ability to make their own decisions, ministers are more likely to be interested in serving a congregation where the Search Committee is representative, trusted, in touch, and responsible to the entire congregation. Years of trial by interim ministers and Transitions Coaches have yielded this recommended selection process:
The process described below can be time intensive. However, experience has shown that it produces good results and a high degree of respect and trust for both the new Search Committee and the board.
- The board and Nominating) Committee divide up all the households in the congregation and place a call to every single household. WE are asking that the caller speak to both members in a household separately. – Even if one is a friend and the other a member).
- Each household should be engaged in a conversation around these questions:
- What are the good qualities needed for someone to serve on a Ministerial Search Committee?
- Who in the congregation works well with others?
- Who can represent and serve the whole congregation well (including looking out for the needs of children) and not just a piece or “faction” of the congregation? Who would have no “axe to grind?”
- Who knows (or can learn) the history and culture of the congregation, whether a member of long standing or relatively new? Who can use this history proactively instead of reactively on behalf of the congregation?
- Who has been and/or is active in the congregation and has demonstrated both responsible participation and responsible leadership?
- After a high salary, the most attractive quality a congregation can have is self-awareness – awareness of strengths and weaknesses, what the congregation is like at its best and at its worst, as well as on an average day. Who would be able to know and relate all this to potential candidates?
- After thinking about all of these questions, who would you trust to serve on the Search Committee on behalf of the congregation?