Your Ministerial Search committee is working hard these days. We have read Ministerial Records, listened to a multitude of sermons, and done Skype interviews. We have also had many discussions about the ministers who expressed interest in our congregation, choosing the strongest applicants for our pre-candidating weekends. We will be inviting three or four pre-candidates to come visit for a weekend in February and March. During each of those weekends we will host a minister from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, interviewing them, answering their questions, and basically getting to know each other. We will travel with them to a neutral pulpit and listen to them deliver a sermon. We will do our best to honor the suggestions and opinions you offered in the congregational survey and the cottage meetings as we continue to consider which minister might best serve our congregation.
As a reminder, here is a brief summary of our schedule after January:
February: begin weekend visits with applicants (officially called “pre-candidates”)
March: continue those weekend visits
Late March: send a ranked list of our pre-candidates to the UUA. We hope one of our top choices will also have chosen us. If so, that person will become our “candidate” and we will start arranging to have them visit with our congregation for a whole week in April.
April 28 through May 5: Assuming we have a candidate, we will invite them to come here for Candidating Week. During this week, the congregation will be able to experience two services led by our candidate, meet them, and vote on whether or not to call them as our new settled minister. This week gives the whole congregation time to get to know the candidate and consider whether they would be a good fit as our new settled minister. It also provides the candidate with time to decide whether they want to serve as our minister, and whether they will feel at home in our Pioneer Valley.
Please feel free to ask us questions about the process but not about the applicants themselves, as we continue to honor the confidentiality of the ministers. Thank you for trusting us to do this work for all of us.
Carol Johnson, Charlie Atwood, Janis Gray, Kiana Diggs, Sue Kelly, Jess Murphy and Louise Grosslein (co-chairs)