Minister Search

UUCSS Ministerial Search Committee

UUCSS is currently in the midst of a search process for its next settled minister. As part of that process, the congregation appointed a seven member search committee at its June 2018 annual meeting. The search committee members are (left to right, below): Janne Harrelson, Maggie Hayes, Colin Riggs, Carol Hamilton (chair), Alice-Ann Beachy, Carl Miller, and Susannah Numa.  They can be reached at

Six major phases of the Search Process

  1. GETTING STARTED (June – August): Search committee and board familiarized themselves with the search process. Search committee held a retreat facilitated by our Unitarian Universalist Association search coach. Search committee agreed on roles and responsibilities.
  2. CONGREGATIONAL CONVERSATIONS (September- October): Through a series of cottage meetings and an online survey, members and friends are invited to provide their input into the search process. Questions that will be considered include: To what is this church called? What is our vision for ourselves? What are the things we want to do together as a congregation to live our faith? Where do we, as a faith community, want to direct our attention? This input process will culminate in an all-congregational session to distill the data collected on October 14th. The themes that emerge from this discernment process will inform what goes into the congregational record.
  3. CREATING THE CONGREGATIONAL RECORD AND PACKET (October – November): Each congregation in search provides comprehensive information through a UUA sponsored website that ministerial candidates can review. Ministers also create a profile of themselves on this platform that the search committee will access.
  4. INTERVIEW PROCESS (December- January): The search committee will review the portfolios of the ministers who have expressed interest in our congregation. They will choose 8-10 candidates and conduct video interviews with each.
  5. NEUTRAL PULPIT VISITS (February-March): The search committee will invite 3-4 candidates to a weekend interview. During this interview the candidate will preach at a neutral pulpit with search committee members present.
  6. CANDIDATING WEEK (April/May): The search committee will invite their final candidate to spend a week at the church. The ministerial candidate will preach on the first Sunday, participate in many events throughout the week to meet as many members as possible, and then preach again on the following Sunday. The congregation will then vote as to whether to call the candidate as the settled minister.

The search process at a glance (link).



Storm Closure January 13

Due to the winter storm affecting the region, worship, rentals, and all other programs and activities at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring will be cancelled on Sunday, January 13, 2019. No staff will be on-site. Walkways and exterior stairways will not be cleared. The office would normally re-open on Monday afternoon; however, given…

January 2019 Volunteer of the Month – Susannah Numa

Susannah Numa is the Volunteer of the Month for January.  Susannah was raised Unitarian Universalist.  When she came to UUCSS in the fall of 2010 and experienced a few services with Rev. Liz Maclay and Rev. Ellen Jennings, it felt right, open, and comfortable.  The music program was enticing, and she appreciated the diversity of services and worship styles.  Susannah began by volunteering for nursery and…

New Year’s Update from the Search Committee

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…

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop – December 1st

The Search Committee invites all UUCSS members and friends to join us for an important workshop, entitled “Beyond Categorical Thinking.”  The workshop will take place on December 1st, 1:00-4:00pm, and is designed by the UUA to promote inclusive thinking for congregations who are in the search process for a new minister. Two specially trained and experienced facilitators – Mary Esther Johnson and Carol Carter Walker…

November Greetings from the Search Committee!

Thanks to everyone who answered the congregational survey, participated in a cottage meeting, and came to the data synthesis work session on October 14. The participation was great, with more than 150 people participating in cottage meetings and more than 170 responses to the survey! Some facts from the survey: • The most common adjectives people use to describe UUCSS are “friendly,”…

Pastoral Letter, October 31, 2018

Dear Ones, On Sunday (10/28), we came together in worship, carrying various kinds of grief from personal, national, and international news. When the worship service ended, we still had those griefs, but we also had the strength of being part of something larger than ourselves. Realizing that the news keeps on coming, while the memory…