The Search Process
The UUA has developed a rigorous and successful process for helping both congregations and ministers find the right fit. Our church is working closely with our UUA designated representative to help us through this transition.
How does this all work?
The best way to get a sense of the overall process is to review the timeline here. You’ll learn what the committee is doing, as well as how you can be involved.
The timeline says that we only get to see one candidate—why?
If we bring two or more candidates before the congregation for a vote, it can split the congregation and cause unnecessary conflict. This is why the UUA developed a process and guidelines for selecting a search committee. The search committee will work hard to understand what you want in a minister. Tremendous effort will go into screening candidates, meeting them, checking their references, and comparing among them against what you want. Let’s trust the process; the UUA has spent a long time creating it.
What happens if we don’t find a minister in the search?
The congregation will decide if it wants to keep the same search committee or select a new one. We would then enter a shorter search cycle, look for new candidates, and work to find the best fit. Not finding a minister is not a failure. It just means that we aren’t “settling” for someone who doesn’t seem to be the best fit. Much depends on the pool of applicants we can attract. Our interim minister will still leave, but we can bring in another interim or a consulting minister.
Do the candidates have to be UU ministers?
No, but only UU ministers can use the UUA settlement system. That is the system we have decided to use. While the church could call a non-UU minister, that is not the direction the congregation is going.
I am considering visiting your church/or have just visited, so far I like who you are and what you stand for, but I am concerned that you are searching for a minister. Why are you in a search? What happened to your last minister?
Our previous minister resigned to work full-time to finish her dissertation for Divinity School. The minister of a church is on a career track, while the congregation is a group of people that live in a geographic area. Many people live their whole lives in a particular area, but careers don’t work that way. Our church has been around since 1733 and we plan on being around for a long time to come. Our principles are enduring.
How much is this going to cost the church?
The board has budgeted $10,000, and we have sought to raise this money through our “AJ Campaign”. This money will cover in-person interviews with “pre-candidates,” who will be flown here for face-to-face interviews, preaching at a distant location, and an opportunity to see the community. Only the best pre-candidates are brought in for this process, but there could be three or four visits like this. The final candidate will then be brought to Harvard for a full week, including two Sundays, to meet as many of you as possible and preach two sermons. These trips comprise the largest part of the search budget.