Curious to know more about the ministerial search process? Wonderful! Our Ministerial Search Committee is committed to being as transparent as possible about this process. Though there are some parts of our search that must remain confidential, we will share everything else that we can.
Here are some answers to common questions about the ministerial search process, including links to further information and documents provided by the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). If you cannot find your answers here or in the linked documents, please email our Ministerial Search Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate the congregation’s involvement, both in asking questions and in participating in activities that support our search. See the question “How can I help?” below for more information on how you can support us.
Why does our church have a Ministerial Search Committee (Search Committee)?
Our current minister, Reverend Connie Grant, joined our congregation as an interim minister, and both she and the congregation planned for her to be our minister for one year. Since her time with us ends in the summer of 2022, it is time for us to find a new minister. Unitarian Universalist congregations choose their ministers through a congregational vote, rather than having ministers assigned to them. The national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) provides a framework for choosing a minister and shared tools for ministers and congregations to describe themselves to one another and decide if they are right for each other. Through the UUA process, each congregation that is looking for a minister, often described as being “in search,” forms a Ministerial Search Committee of seven people from the congregation who look for a candidate that will meet the needs of their whole church.
How was our Ministerial Search Committee chosen?
Our congregation voted to approve our Search Committee at our Annual Meeting in June 2020. The Board selected the members of the Search Committee slate by asking all members of the congregation who they would trust to do the work of the Search Committee. Then they compiled the names and picked a balanced group of committee members who had the collective trust of the congregation and met the UUA guidelines for Search Committee members.
How can I help?
We need help from all of our church members, friends, and visitors to make our ministerial search successful. We are grateful to have a strong response to our congregational survey in September; 75% of our congregation gave us feedback on what we need and want in a minister! The results of the survey are in a video available here. Thanks also to the many members who gave us helpful feedback during the cottage meetings we held in October 2020 and attended the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop in November 2020. Please continue to participate in the search process with the following activities:
- Read our Ministerial Search Committee updates to remain up-to-date on our search.
- Watch your weekly email and other church communications for information on how to help the Search Committee from fall 2021 to spring 2022.
- Participate in activities to meet the new minister during Candidating Week: April 24 – May 1, 2022.
How does a Ministerial Search work?
A Ministerial Search typically takes nine or ten months, from the time the committee is elected to the time that a congregation votes on whether to accept the candidate that the committee has chosen. In the fall, the Search Committee gathers information on the congregation and its needs and send it to the UUA; this is called the Congregational Record (CR). (Our CR document is available to read when you are logged in to the Member Portal). In the winter, committee members interview ministers who have expressed interest in our congregation. The committee then narrows down our choices and conducts more research and interviews and send the names of ministers we are interested in to the UUA.
If the committee finds a minister who is a good fit, we will select one Candidate Minister. This minister visits the congregation in the spring, and our congregation then votes on whether to “call” the minister, or ask them to be our minister. If the minister accepts the call, then they will become our minister in August 2022. You can read a far more detailed explanation of the search process in the Settlement Handbook, which is available on the UUA website.
What happens if we don’t find a new minister?
If the Search Committee does not find a good match candidate, or if the Candidating Minister is not sufficiently approved by the congregation, the Search Committee may choose to participate in a “second round” search. The second round takes place in the spring of the same year and is very similar to but much quicker than the “first round” since all of the relevant information has already been compiled.
If this second round search is not successful, or if the committee decides it is not the best course for their congregation, then the congregation applies for an interim minister and can search for a new minister the next year, or later. This is disappointing when it happens, but far better than choosing a minister who is not a good fit. Successful searches, in the experience of the UUA, happen when congregations and ministers are both self-aware and patient.
We appreciate your interest in our ministerial search process! Please take note of the ways you can help during the search process, and as always, if you cannot find your answers here or in the linked documents, please email our Ministerial Search Committee at email@example.com.