Thank you to everyone who participated in the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop in early December. We had more than 60 people who participated, which is a larger number than our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) workshop facilitators have seen in much larger congregations! We appreciate the commitment to our beloved community this demonstrates.
Participants appreciated the opportunity to consider how their privilege affects their decisionmaking; the critical qualifications we would be looking for in a minister—knowledge, experience, leadership stance, etc.; and to share perspectives and hear from other congregants. One participant noted, “it is hard for us UU’s to face our own prejudice. The workshop made us look at ourselves and the reality that white supremacy and racism exists deep in our unconscious minds and the structures of our religious denomination and institution.”
We will share the synthesized themes from the cottage meetings and the survey that we conducted early in the fall in the next few weeks. Then we will share the congregational record that we submitted to the UUA. The congregational record is a UUA-designed online system that includes more than 80 questions; the answers provide a comprehensive overview of our church and our hopes for the future. Ministerial candidates review the congregational records and then submit their applications to churches that interest them.
Over the next month, the Search Committee will be reviewing minister application packets to identify the people we will interview via videoconference. Then, from this first round of interviews, the committee will identify the “pre-candidates” to host for a weekend that includes in-person interviews as well as observing them lead a worship service at a “neutral pulpit.”
You’ve heard from us and our transition coach that a time would come when we wouldn’t be able to share much information with you. We’ve been communicating openly and frequently all fall, but this begins our period of silence. We won’t be able to tell you how many applications we received, how happy we are with the applicants, how many we’ve decided to interview, the schedules of their interviews and visits—and certainly no hints about who these applicants might be. Confidentiality is crucial to a successful search. We appreciate your understanding during these next several months.
Be sure to keep the week of April 28–May 5 and May 5–12 marked in your calendar. We expect one of those two weeks will be our candidating week when the congregation will have the opportunity to meet our ministerial candidate. Any questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
— The Minister Search Committee (Alice-Ann, Carl, Carol, Colin, Janne, Maggie, and Susannah)