SearchOur congregation is well on track for calling a new settled minister to serve our church beginning August 2015. Such a process takes more than a year to complete, which means it is time to formally create our Ministerial Search Committee.  To that end, members of the Board, Transition Team, and Nominating Committee met on Saturday, Feb. 8 and, with input from UUA materials, reaffirmed the process and established the detailed timeline for assembling this important committee.  (Note this is not for the Interim Minister search; a Board committee will manage the interim search.)  As prescribed in our congregational documents, the Search Committee will be made up of seven members; five are elected by the Congregation and two are appointed by the Board. The Nominating Committee’s task is to assemble a slate of at least five candidates, from which the Congregation will elect five committee members. Our congregational documents also allow for candidates to petition the congregation for signatures and be added to the slate of candidates without being nominated by the Nominating Committee. There are a series of steps with dates described below which will bring us to the congregational vote in a meeting on Sunday, March 30.

Please note that while only supporting members of the church can serve on the search committee or recommend people to be elected to the search committee, we are sharing the process with members and friends alike so that everyone may be aware of what is transpiring in terms of our search for a new settled minister.    If you are unclear whether you are a member or whether a potential nominee is a member, please contact Chris Schleuder ( or 269-375-3262) or Anna Shade ( or 269-372-9847) for verification.

Before the Nominating Committee begins the process of assembling the slate of candidates, we invite input from the Congregation, as described in this timeline:


Sun, Feb. 16 – Recommendation cards will be available to members of the church. Members are asked to provide 2-3 recommendations for excellent candidates for the Search Committee. Cards will be mailed to those who are not at church that day.

Sun, Feb 16 – March 2 – Recommendation cards can be returned to Chris Schleuder in the church office.  Members can also email their recommendations in lieu of returning the cards (

Sun, Mar 2 – Last day to turn in recommendation cards or send recommendations via email (by noon).

Between March 3 and March 15 the Nominating Committee will review the recommendations with consideration of the UUA recommendations (listed at the end of this article) and begin to assemble a slate of at least five candidates.

Any who wishes to petition to be added to slate outside the nomination process should collect five signatures from members of the congregation on a petition form. Forms are available from Chris Schleuder in the Church Office and should be returned to Chris in the Church Office. If petitions are submitted by March 14 we will include these individuals in the March 16 announcements.

Sun, Mar 16 – Candidates will be announced to Congregation at church and information will be posted on the website and in the foyer.

Sun, Mar 23 – Candidates are invited to introduce themselves at the all church meeting. This is also the deadline for any petitions from church members who wish to be added to the slate outside the nomination process.

Sun, Mar 30 – Special meeting of the Congregation – vote to select five Search Committee Members. An absentee ballot process will be in place for any special circumstances where members who want to vote cannot attend that meeting.

April – the Board will appoint two additional members to the Search Committee for a total of seven members.

May – Congregation and Search Committee join in covenant. Search Committee appoints a Chair. Search begins.

Here are some guidelines from the UUA for us to consider as we think about excellent candidates for our Ministerial Search Committee:

  • Known and respected by others in the congregation
  • More strongly committed to the congregation as a whole than to any subgroup
  • Well informed about the demands and time requirements of search committee membership. Members should promise to attend every meeting, and to give about 250-400 hours over the coming year
  • Balanced by sex, age, interests, and tenure of membership to reflect the diversity of the congregation. Major areas of church life such as religious education, social action, property management, finance, and music should be represented by participants, not partisans
  • Balanced by attributes: organizational ability, broad theological awareness, computer skills
  • Not paid members of the church staff, except in the case of a senior minister who will be supervising the minister to be called
  • Pledged to conduct a search that is fair and nondiscriminatory with respect to race, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, age, and national origin
  • Committed to maintain confidentiality and to seek consensus
  • Capable of both self-assertion and compromise
  • Not prone to extreme reactions to ministers. The previous ministers’ strongest supporters or opponents are rarely the best choice
  • Well suited to teamwork: a search committee is no place for Lone Rangers

We appreciate your involvement and support. If you have questions about this process, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee.

Bob Wallis (Chair) 269-344-5202
Tim Bartik 269-381-9648
Nadine Godin-Nassaney 269-491-1118
Sarah Hill 269-532-5799
Missy Howse-Kurtz 616-780-5939
Rick Johnson 269-657-3460

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