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 search@dupageuuchurch.
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 Mike Walker, joined our congregation as an interim minister, and both he and the congregation planned for him to be our minister for two years. Since his time with us ends in the summer of 2021, 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; 68% of our congregation gave us feedback on what we need and want in a minister! Please continue to participate in the search process with the following activities:
- Join a cottage meeting this month – we will lead cottage meetings on Zoom; check here for dates and times, and email Karen Hutt at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. You must reserve a spot to receive the Zoom link.
- Attend Beyond Categorical Thinking, a workshop that helps church members to recognize biases that would prevent otherwise qualified candidates from being called to ministry, on Saturday, November 14, 2020, 1 - 4:30 p.m. You must register by November 7 by emailing Karen Hutt at email@example.com; there is also a small amount of preparation work that we will send you after you register.
- Participate in activities to meet the new minister during Candidating Week in late April
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; 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 (this year the visit may be virtual), and our congregation then votes on whether to “call” the minister, or ask them to be our minister. If minister accepts the call, then they will become our minister in August 2021. You can read a more detailed explanation of the search process here.
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 that is not a good fit.
This year’s Search Committee has already agreed to extend our commitment to a second year of ministerial search if we do not have a successful search this year. We take seriously our covenant with the congregation to find a minister who is a good fit. Successful searches, in the experience of the UUA, happen when congregations and ministers are both self-aware and patient.
What else do I need to know?
You can read our Ministerial Search Committee updates here. These updates summarize our committee’s most recent activities.
If you would like more information on how the search process works overall, you can read more here.
To return to the main Search Information page, click here.