The Ministerial Search Committee has had a very busy couple of weeks! Many thanks to those of you who attended the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop on January 10th and the follow-up service the following Sunday. We found the discussions to be thought-provoking and enriching, and hope you did as well. As always, your thoughts and comments help us think in different ways about what would make a minister a good, effective match for us.
Your MSC is relieved to be more than halfway through the search process, and are excited to update you on our progress! At the beginning of January, the UUA released to the MSC the list of ministers who had read our basic information and expressed interest in learning more about our congregation. After reading through the basic information on these ministers and consulting with our ministerial settlement representative, we then exchanged detailed information packets with all twelve (!) of these ministers. Your search committee then spent a very intense week and a half reading through all of these packets as well as reading through and listening to dozens of sermons! Several ministers stood out as possibly being a good fit for our church in a variety of ways, so we spent an entire Saturday conducting Skype interviews with five of the most promising candidates. After much discussion, we narrowed our list down to three excellent ministers, all of whom have agreed to pre-candidate for us.
The pre-candidating process is basically an extended interview weekend for both the interested minister and the search committee. The pre-candidate will spend the weekend with the search committee, from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, where we will have an in-depth group interview, tours of the church and community, and lots of casual conversation, where both the MSC and the pre-candidate minister contemplate how good of a potential fit we are for each other. Sunday morning, we will all head to a different UU church to hear the pre-candidate preach at a neutral pulpit.
After conducting three of these pre-candidating weekends and thorough reference checks, the MSC will then select one minister to be our candidate minister. On April 2nd at noon EST, the search committees will all make their offers to the minister they hope will candidate for them. Once the minister (hopefully!) accepts the offer, he/she becomes our candidate minister, and we start setting plans for Candidating Week, which will be April 26th May 3rd. This is when everyone in the church will get to meet the minister! He/she will preach twice while here, meet with the board and various committees, and participate in social events designed to give everyone a chance to meet the minister and to let him/her get a feel for the life of our congregation and community. Immediately following the second Sunday of Candidating Week, there will be a congregational vote where the church decides if they desire to call this candidate minister as our next settled minister. The UUA requires at least a 90% yes vote, but most ministers would be hesitant to accept a call that wasn’t supported by at least a 95% vote. As we get closer to Candidating Week, we will have more information to share with you, both about the candidate and the process! Right now, the MSC has to respect the confidentiality of all of the ministers in search and their current congregations, but we are happy to answer any questions you have about the process and timeline.