Ministerial Search Committee Activities
We’re continuing to move forward with the search for our next settled minister. Recent activity included continuing to work on documentation to be provided to potential candidates, hosting a Beyond Categorical Thinking session October 29th, and compiling the results of the congregational survey. The summarized Congregational Survey results can be found here: https://docs.google.com/
Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop
Saturday, October 29, 10am – 2pm including lunch! Cockrell Hall
THINK OF A MINISTER. DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT.
Chances are, you thought of both. And distinct images perhaps came to mind. In terms of a minister, what images came to mind? Was it a person of a particular gender, race, or age? Beyond Categorical Thinking is a highly recommended part of the search process for our congregation. In finding the person who would be the best match for our minister, we could potentially overlook or even let biases keep us from knowing that a particular person would be the best match for us.
Our congregation will host a Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop on October 29, from 10am to 2pm which is designed to help us see our own biases. We will have a trainer via zoom who will facilitate the 3-hour session, and your Search Committee will provide lunch during an hour break in the middle of the workshop. Our trainer will be Rev. Amanda Schuber, an experienced workshop leader and UU minister in Macon, Georgia. We hope you will join us!
Sign up for Small Group discussions
1. Signups for small group discussions are now open. You can sign up electronically at https://www.signupgenius.
The Search Committee and prospective ministers will use the information collected in the small groups to learn about our congregation, and the discussions will help us get to know each other better. A Search Committee member will facilitate the discussions in each group. Sessions will be split between “open” and focused on a particular group in our congregation (such as the Board). A short summary report will be included in the congregational documents packet for ministerial candidates. The discussions will take place during the last week of September through mid October.
2. We received over 100 responses to the congregational survey, Many thanks to all who took the time to participate!
Our activity over this month has included preparing the congregational survey and small group meetings, working with the board and finance committee on some key details, and updating the church website
How you can get involved:
- Fill out the online congregational survey, coming soon. The survey will provide us with important information that will inform our committee’s activity, and we expect that the summarized results would be read closely by prospective candidates to better understand our congregation.
- Attend small group meetings that we’ll be scheduling soon
Our Ministerial Search Committee is already working with the UUA and beginning to progress through all the phases of a Settled Ministry Search. We have read the UUA Settlement Handbook and have discussed it together. In June we attended a Search Committee Training and in July we held a retreat facilitated by a UUA staff member. We are very excited and hopeful about the process. Click to see who is on our Ministerial Search Committee.
In the fall, your Search Committee plans to survey the congregation and hold small group meetings (cottage meetings) to get information about the congregation’s expectations of a new minister. The congregational survey is a real opportunity for the congregation to move toward a different future with a new minister. The Search Committee plans to collect basic demographic data from individuals and to ask ministry-related questions, emphasizing what the congregation needs more than what the individual completing the survey wants from a future ministry. The results of the survey will be shared with the congregation and with ministerial candidates.
Also in the fall, we will hold a Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) workshop led by a UUA staff member. This workshop is designed to promote inclusive thinking and help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. This program includes a three- hour BCT workshop and a Sunday morning service with facilitators trained by the UUA. The entire congregation will be encouraged to attend this workshop.
The following information from the UUA Settlement Handbook outlines the phases of the Settled Ministry Search.
While the sections/phases are linear in their presentation, they also can and sometimes do overlap. This is especially true for ministers who are in search and are also looking at a potential next ministry. Everything cannot be done separately and perfectly, though it should not be glossed over, bypassed, or assumed to be unnecessary. This becomes complicated on a set timeline, yet most congregations and ministers manage to make this work with the help of the process, Coaches, and UUA staff,
All sections are necessary but not all are equal, especially in terms of time and work commitment. Each covers a distinct phase of the overall search.
Phase 1: Concluding a Ministry Well comes out of the very real and lived experience that any and all previous ministries affect the next ministry. Congregants and ministers often blur ministries into a single narrative and base their next ministry on this narrative, often expecting it to be the same or, conversely, assuming it will have no effect on their next ministry. Neither assumption is true.
Phase 2: Education and Preparation for Search focuses on intentionality, being mindful of the process of moving the entire congregation toward search with deliberation and care, knowing who can and should assist you in the process, and knowing how to select a search committee wisely, fund the research, and connecting with a search committee retreat leader. For ministers, this involves research, information gathering, and thoughts on timing, whether you are finishing your ministerial preparation or serving in a ministry.
Phase 3: Building the Structure to Search includes congregations’ search committee roles, process, and organization. The work of the search committee is to gather information, materials, and insights on the congregation to present an authentic picture for ministers. For ministers, this involves preparation of their materials, website, and references for the search.
Phase 4: Opening Up for the Search is about the search committee presenting itself publicly to ministers, ministers expressing interest in congregations, what each should do once that happens, and what a congregation should know as this goes on.
Phase 5: Discernment/Mutual Selection is about the process of moving from many options to a final option for both ministers and congregations. This process moves from the initial release of ministers’ names to congregations to interviews to pre-candidating weekends to the final discernment process.
Phase 6: Finalizing the Offer is about what happens when you have a mutual yes and are moving toward a candidating week. This includes contract negotiations, background checks, and announcing the candidate.
Phase 7: Entering into a New Ministry is about what happens during candidating week and beyond.
If No Match Occurs: The Second Offer Date is for congregations and ministers who are interested in continuing in settled search but did not find or become a candidate after the first offer date. This is a continuation of the settled search process, albeit on a tighter timeline.
Click here to see how these phases of the Settled Ministry Search translate into a timeline. We are hoping to settle a minister at BAUUC in August 2023.