An update from the Ministerial Search Committee
We’re getting closer! We’re now in the midst of the pre-candidating weekends. You’ll recall that in January we were immersed in reading ministerial records and profiles and watching online sermons from an initial pool of 20 ministerial candidates. Last month we culled the list to 10 potential stars, conducted Skype interviews with each of them, called references, and then selected four highly qualified finalists to become “pre-candidates.” Once we chose our pre-candidates, the UUA sent additional summaries of these ministers for our review.
On four separate weekends, each of the final candidates meets with the Search Committee in person. The weekends include a relaxed dinner with the Search Committee at one of our homes, an intensive 3-hour interview the next morning, a confidential tour of our building, time off in the afternoon and evening for the candidate to meet with a real estate agent, tour the area, and enjoy other activities in the area. The following morning they preach at another congregation, similar to our own but not in our immediate area, followed by lunch. These weekends during which committee members and pre-candidates have asked questions, listened, laughed, shared, discussed and sized up our mutual “fit have been enriching and spirited. It is a privilege to engage at such length with people of such depth.
We’ve set the bar high in considering the minister’s skills and strengths and are keeping all of you in mind as we go through this process, guided by what you told us in the cottage meetings and survey – what you most love about our Society, the qualities you wish for in a new minister, and your hopes and dreams for our congregation. Our finalists represent a spectrum of backgrounds and ages, life experiences and interests. They all would bring significant gifts to our congregation, and as we would expect, their strengths, their areas for growth, and gifts differ one from the other. As we’ve said before, no one candidate will possess every skill or quality we would like. We do know that whomever we present to you for a vote will embody the best of our faith tradition and will be someone we are confident will be a good match now and over the next many years.
We will extend an offer to our first choice candidate at noon on March 29. This timeline is part of the overall UUA search process: across the country, all the search committees will be extending their offers at noon on that day. Candidate details will be shared with you as soon as we have acceptance confirmation from the candidate and UUA. Once the minister accepts our offer we will set up our Candidating Week when the minister will come to our Society for a week of meetings and daytime and evening social gatherings bookended by sermons by the minister. Following the final Sunday service our congregation will vote. Stay tuned in April for details about the many opportunities you’ll have to get to know the candidate.