While the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst will continue to offer a vibrant ministry of spiritual inquiry, loving support, social justice outreach, and religious education for people of all ages, we are also in an exciting time of transition.

Following the departure of our minister of 11 years upon her retirement from full-time parish ministry in 2016, we are engaged in a two-year interim ministry time in order to prepare ourselves to welcome a settled minister. A Ministerial Search Committee has begun work to find the best match for our congregation.

This is a wonderful, energizing opportunity to reassess who we are as a congregation. And this active process of interim ministry will help us call a minister who we are ready to welcome with open minds—we will be open to a different style, different method, different ministry, that will meet the needs of our congregation and our ministry to the larger world.

Thankfully, we are not the first Unitarian Universalist congregation to take this journey, and so we have wise examples to follow. We have the guidance of an interim minister, The Rev. Cynthia A. Frado, who is trained to help congregations prepare for new ministry. And we  have guidance from the UUA.

Here are some of the tasks we will undertake as we travel this path:

Claim and honor our past, celebrate our virtues, and heal our griefs and conflicts

With our interim minister’s assistance, we will study who we have been and what we have done, celebrate what makes us who we are, and acknowledge our differences and conflicts.

Recognize our unique identity, strengths, needs, and challenges

With our interim minister’s assistance, we will plan to describe ourselves to ourselves fully and fairly. In describing what we are good at and where we need help, we will get clues about preferred qualities in our next called minister.

Clarify the multiple dimensions of our leadership, both ordained and lay, and navigate the shifts in leadership that accompany times of transition

With our interim minister’s assistance, we will plan to evaluate the effectiveness of our organizational structure, the ways in which we fill lay leadership positions, and the relationship between ordained and lay leadership.

Renew connections with available resources, within and beyond the UUA

With our interim minister’s assistance, we will seek curricula, counsel, and other resources that will strengthen our congregation now and in the future. 

Renew our vision, strengthen our stewardship, prepare for new professional leadership, and engage our future with anticipation and zest

With our interim minister’s assistance, we will discern our common understanding of our future and strengthen our care of each other and our religious community, so that we head into our search for a called minister with commitment to a wonderful outcome.