By the time you read this, the Ministerial Search Committee will have met 51 times over the course of the past 9 months. This included four full weekends in intensive interviews and relaxed conversations getting to know each of our final four candidates. We’ve put miles on our cars, enjoyed seeing other congregation’s Sunday morning offerings, observed our pre-candidates deliver sermons and children’s stories, shared many meals, and laughed a lot. It’s been a very rewarding process.
The last half of March is a time of discernment for the MSC to determine which of these four wonderful people will be the best match for the UUSA now and in the future. Each of the pre-candidates brings different strengths, and each would provide us with a different style of ministry.
A number of you have asked us why can’t we bring in all four pre-candidates on successive weekends and have the congregation vote? Decades ago this practice was not uncommon. However, it is no longer done in UU congregations because it can lead to conflict and division. Some congregants would prefer pre-candidate A, others would prefer pre-candidate B and so on. As a result, no one candidate would receive the overwhelming vote of confidence needed for a successful ministry, and the congregation would be divided – not an optimal beginning for a new minister. And finally, few pre-candidates would agree to participate in such a process.
So, at the end of a long process of interviewing, evaluation, reference-checking, and consensus-building, the search committee will present you with one candidate who is, in our opinion, best for our congregation.
On Thursday, March 29 at noon, we will be calling our first choice candidate. Assuming we have a match, we will then invite that minister to be our official pre-candidate. Once the minister accepts our offer, and after we have completed background checks and have a signed contract in hand, we will announce the candidate’s identity probably sometime in early to mid-April.
During “Candidating Week,” (tentative dates are April 29 to May 6) the candidate will spend nine days with us. The week will include two Sunday services and, with your help and participation, will include a range of different activities with the aim of giving everyone abundant opportunities to get to know our candidate. Immediately following the second sermon, the entire congregation will then vote on the candidate. If the congregation votes to approve the minister by a margin of 90%, and the minister accepts, the new minister will likely move to our area in early August, and officially start this Fall.
This vote is critically important to the UUSA, as it will set us on a new course as a UU community. Watch for a special mailing in the coming weeks introducing the candidate and with details about Candidating Week.
We are excitedly looking forward to the next phase in the life of this congregation, and honored and humbled to be a part of helping to choose the person who will lead us as we move into the future.
Ministerial Search Committee: Carolyn Cave, Chair; Jenn Chylack; Lisa Cyr; Mary Herman; Anne Perkins, Steve Rice