Board of Trustees Message about our Ministers’ Departure Announcement, April 16, 2020
For the past four years, our congregation has been blessed to have Revs. Kristin and Christian Schmidt as our ministers. Whether by nurturing small group ministry, worship associates, and pastoral care, helping to reshape family ministry and administration, inspiring social justice and online connection, or sharing their musical talents and other generosities, they have made us a better church, a better community.
Christian and Kristin’s news this week that family considerations have led them to another ministry calling has literally taken our breath away. Many among us are shocked or surprised, while also coming to understand their choice – their need – to be close to family for support in raising their boys.
So many questions are arising about what this means for our church – especially in what is already an unstable time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Who will guide us in our ministry? How will that be decided? What does this mean for our future?
Fortunately, as Unitarian Universalists we embrace and accept uncertainty, recognize the creativity that new opportunities present, and trust that we as a community can find our way together.
As your Board of Trustees, we are responsible for setting next steps for where we as a congregation go from here. We have multiple options including an Interim Minister, a Contract Minister, a Developmental Minister or perhaps another alternative entirely. No decision about a specific option has been made.
Because of the particular schedule required to consider hiring an Interim Minister, we need to submit information to the UUA by April 23. At an emergency Board meeting on Tuesday night, the Board appointed an Interim Ministry Search Team comprised of Suzette Anderson-Duggan, Bill Brown, Jean Gleason, Sheldon Jones, and Deborah Schmidt. We appreciate these talented and dedicated members and their willingness to put in the time to allow us to pursue the interim minister alternative. Their work in gathering information about the church and its needs will help us move forward no matter the direction in which we decide to move.
To help answer questions about our options, you are all invited to join a Zoom call with Rev. Jonipher Kwong, the Professional Life Staff of the UUA Pacific Western Region this Sunday, April 19 after worship (in lieu of Virtual Coffee Hour). Look for the Zoom link in UUCB’s Week Ahead.
The members of the Board of Trustees have already heard in this short time from congregants about the many feelings the ministers’ departure raises, and we share many of these same feelings. Amidst the isolation of the pandemic’s social distancing, Kristin and Christian have made sure members stayed engaged through phone calls to all congregants, online worship, and Zoom gatherings. We can honor their service best by continuing to reach out, lend an ear, and support each other and the congregation as a whole through these times of transition at UUCB and beyond.
As we work our way through this ministerial transition, the Board is dedicated to being open and thoughtful about the options, fully engaging and communicating with the congregation, and grounding our decisions in our covenant and our mission.
In the meantime, please stay tuned for an announcement about celebrating Kristin and Christian’s ministry and saying our goodbyes– even if it is with social distancing.
Kerry Simpson, President for the Board of Trustees
Mailing address: 1 Lawson Road, Kensington, CA 94707
Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday
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The Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley · 1 Lawson Road · Kensington, CA 94707 · USA
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