Dear Members and Friends:
The time has arrived for us to begin our journey through the transitioning process to celebrate the retirement of current Minister, Terry Sims, and to begin the selection process for our Interim Minister.

NO ONE – ministers, lay leaders or congregants are taught the skill of saying goodbye. How a ministry ends may affect not only how the ministry is remembered and regarded but also subsequent ministries. Endings should focus on celebrating what has been done, expressing feelings of gratitude and saying goodbye in a way that is remembered positively.

We are currently putting plans together for a Retirement Celebration for Terry – with members/ friends, family, and community friends. Our plans are tentative; however, we are focusing on having an outdoor, in-person gathering with all Covid Restrictions in place. It will not be a sit-down banquet with entertainment, but we will have all the bells and whistles we can possibly have within the limitations of the pandemic. Details will be forth coming and if you wish to assist in the preparation – please let Kathryn know. For now – Please save Saturday, May 22 to help us conclude Terry’s ministry with grace, gratitude, and a great deal of fun. (and maybe a few tears)

Rather than let you wonder what is going on and what steps are being taken for this move, the Board will send out information at each step to keep you informed. This information will be in the form of a letter (like this one), an announcement by the President and we will if requested, offer a Zoom Townhall to respond to your questions and concerns. We are also attaching to this letter, a document from the UUA addressing Phase On: Concluding a Ministry Well

Here is an overview of the first step in the process. When Rev. Terry retires, we will be choosing an Interim Minister from a list provided by the UUA. We file information about our Congregation with the Transition Office of the National UUA and ministers, interested in our church, indicate their interest in the same manner, through the UUA’s Transition Office. The UUCS Board assembles a committee to research those interested, and when they have determined possible candidates for the position, each candidate will be interviewed virtually. We will be provided with information about each interested Minister which, among other information, will include recorded sermons, and we will have access to their web sites and references.

This is very much like hiring an employee except that we will not advertise outside of the National Organization. We do this because these applicants are trained specifically for Interim Ministry work. They come to a congregation to prepare members for the move from one settled ministry to the next and most often the interim is with the congregation 24 months. This preparation may include reviewing practices that may or may not be serving them well, assisting through the emotional processes of transitioning, setting sights forward, and connecting the congregation to needed resources where necessary. This interim minister is hired by the Board of Trustees and may not be called to the settled minister’s position.

Our Board met on February 20th to review the process, plan timelines, arrange meetings with the District UUA Representative and the Transition Manager for the National Office and discussed how to communicate our movements and this process to our entire congregation of members and friends. We also spent some time on deciding who should represent us on the selection team.

As President, I have sent the required documents to the National Office of the UUA of Congregations to inform them of our need for an Interim Minister beginning August 1, of this year. We have met with our District UUA Representative and with Christine Purcell, the Transition’s Manager for the UUA. We are meeting this Sunday to assemble the team that will review the Ministerial candidates’ profile and resume and interview their choices. In the meantime, the remainder of the Board will be working with the congregation to compile information about us to present to the candidates applying for Interim Ministry positions.

Once we have assembled our selection team – we will notify the congregation and at that point we will talk more about the next steps. This is a sensitive process with short timelines so once we have the first steps out of the way, things will move quickly. We anticipate being finished with the entire process by the end of May. We will then know who the Interim Minister will be even though they are not scheduled util August 1.

And so, our journey together begins.
Yours in Faith, Friendship and Gratitude as we move forward.