Ministerial Search Process
How to Contact the Search Team
- Search Team Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Look for our table on Sundays in the atrium.
- Find us on Sundays by our yellow ribbons.
How to Navigate This Page
We are excited to share updates about the search process with you on this page. The most recent update can be found under “Latest News.” We’ve also compiled responses to common questions, so be sure to check out the FAQ for a quick overview of the search process.
Survey Open Sept. 4 – Oct. 2
We have scheduled focus groups for larger UUCB interest groups. Those not participating in focus groups are encouraged to sign up for a cottage meeting (zoom and in-person); just use the tabs at the bottom of the page to choose your date.
Search Team Covenant
In addition to covenanting with the congregation, the search team has developed its own internal covenant. A living document, this covenant is open to reevaluation and change.
For more information about the Search Team, you can access the team’s individual bios here.
The Ministerial Search Committee is following the recommended UUA guidelines for a settled minister search, as described in the answers below, because this process provides the most comprehensive support for assessing the needs and hopes of the congregation. However, it is understood that, at any stage, should we determine that this is in the best interests of the congregation, we can pivot and look instead for a different type of ministry, such as contract or developmental.
Our last called ministers, the Reverends Kristin and Christian Schmidt, left in the spring of 2020 to be closer to family on the East Coast. In August of 2020, our current interim minister, Reverend Michelle Collins, began her work with us. She was hired for two years, but in light of the unsettled pandemic times, the board extended her term to a third year so that we would have a full measure of support and deliberation through our search process. An interim ministry of at least one year in duration is recommended by the UUA as key to a healthy transition to the next ministry.
Suzette Anderson-Duggan, Don Klose, Greg Lemieux, Ladie Malek, Sandy Portillo-Robins, Deborah Schmidt, Lorraine Schnurr, and Ariel Smith-Iyer.
Our congregation voted to approve our Search Committee at our Annual Meeting in May 2022. The Board selected the members of the Search Committee slate by asking all members of the congregation whom they would trust to do the work of the Search Committee. The board then balanced the result of the congregational vote as needed by appointing committee members from the slate. For a more detailed description of the MSC selection process by our Board Vice-President Helen Tinsley-Jones, follow this link.
- Co-conveners: Ladie and Greg
- Communications: Deborah and Suzette
- Negotiating Team: Ladie + 2 board members (tbd)
- Treasurer: Lorraine and Sandy
- Survey: Lorraine, Don, and Greg
- Cottage Meetings: Don and Ladie
- Beyond Categorical Thinking: Ariel and Don
- Neutral Pulpit: Ariel
- Congregational Record: Deborah, Don, and Sandy
- Document Packet: Sandy
- Interview coordinator: Suzette
- Reference checker: Lorraine, Ariel
Please feel free to reach out to us with your concerns or questions. We can be reached at email@example.com. Also, on Sundays you can identify us by the yellow ribbons on our nametags.
A Ministerial Search typically takes about a year from the time the committee begins its work to the time that a congregation votes on whether to accept the candidate that the committee has chosen. A more detailed explanation of the UUA recommended search process is available through this link: UUA Settlement Handbook.
Click on the image below to see it more clearly.
This process is designed to be very deliberative, providing maximum opportunities for congregational discernment and engagement and sufficient time to prepare all the materials that give potential ministers the best view of our church.
At a specially called Congregational Meeting at the end of Candidating Week, the congregation votes on whether or not to call the minister recommended by the search team. UUCB bylaws state that “a Called Minister(s) shall be chosen by at least a 90% vote of members of the Church present and voting at a congregational meeting duly called for that purpose.” If the congregation votes to call the minister, the search committee will then share this intention with the minister. If the minister accepts the call, the committee will inform the congregation that the call has been accepted.
Below you will find a simplified timeline. The complete recommended UUA Search Timeline is available here: Settled Search Calendar
September – December
|○9/4-9/30: Congregational Survey
○Sept-Oct: Focus groups and Cottage Meetings
○Nov 5: Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop
○Mid Nov-Dec 1: Congregational record and packet submitted to UUA
|January – May||○Jan 2: Receiving the initial list of applicants for the first offer date
○Mid Jan-Mid April: Interview and selection process
○Early to Mid April: Announcing the Candidate
○April 30-May 6: Candidating Week
○Mid May: Congregation calls the Minister
|August||○August 2023: Minister joins congregation
- Take the congregational survey! This is your first opportunity to engage in the search. The survey goes beyond providing updated census information, helping the committee to create a picture for prospective candidates of who we are and who we aspire to become, as well as providing a jumping-off point for future forums on what we the congregation feel we need from a new minister. The survey was released Sunday September 4, 2022 and will be open until September 25th. Details can be found in a special congregational email dated Sept 4th.
- Participate in a focus group or cottage meeting! These are small group conversations facilitated by search committee members in October. The conversations explore the same 3-5 focus questions and are opportunities for congregants to share, listen, and build on what others say with regard to the congregation’s needs from a future ministry.
- Attend the Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) workshop on November 5! It is a 3-hour program held for congregations that are in the search process. Begun in 1988 at the request of ministers who faced discrimination during the search process, the BCT workshop has become an important tool for congregations to become aware of the biases, both conscious and unconscious, that we have around the identities our potential minister may hold. Originally concerned with issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability, BCT now includes gender identity, ethnicity, mental health, class, age, size, etc. The workshop is sponsored by the ministerial search committee, presented by one or two UUA-trained facilitators, and adapted to address the concerns raised by the congregation in their application.
- 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.