December – From the Minister

Our search process for a new Assistant Minister is well underway. I would like to give thanks to a capable and visionary Advisory Committee appointed by the Board in August, as well as to you for your participation in six Congregational Conversations held this past month. We’ve been asking you three questions: How does this church matter, in your life and in the world? What do you want our candidates to know about our congregation? What are we seeking in our new minister? Your answers have been strong and clear:

When in crisis, this is the place to be for whatever you need.

It is a beacon for non-cisgender folks, whom we actively support.

We sing, we march, we cry in church.

Healthy governance prevails.

This church shows up for what matters. This church matters to me because I need a community. It gives me the inspiration and hope I need to combat the depression and hopelessness that I fear. I feel at home here. This church matters to the world because it unites us and doesn’t divide us. It is working toward the goal of peace.

To find the right candidate, we are engaging a rigorous process prescribed by the Unitarian Universalist Association. It ensures that those who apply here meet all requirements in preparation for UU ministry and that they are in good standing; the process also helps us live into our intention to remain in covenant with all other UU congregations currently in search.

Before Christmas, the Committee will have completed a 25-page description of our congregation, with help from past and present members of the Board, lay leaders, key program staff, and many of you. They’ll design a website through which applicants can “meet” us in even more detail.

By mid-winter, they will be reviewing applications. We hope to interview 3-4 applicants in person, and to select our next minister in April to begin work here in late July or August. Already prospective candidates are calling me with inquiries, and it is an honor to tell them, “I know of no place better to do ministry.”

Our search team is advising on two other vacancies as well: a half-time membership coordinator and a half-time youth coordinator (as, with pride and sadness, we will bid farewell to Jill Schwendeman this June). Our thought now is to combine those two positions into one, to attract a dedicated applicant who can work with Amy Peterson Derrick and with me to help us reimagine ministry to children, youth, and adults in a more unified, cohesive way. This position may be filled by a minister or by a talented lay person. It, too, will begin this summer.

In 2011, when we were searching for WBUUC’s first Assistant Minister, I wrote these words to a colleague I had not yet met, and they hold true now: Friend—I hope to serve, and serve with, this people for a long time. I seek a colleague whose calling to ministry and to the liberal tradition is passionate and rooted, who loves this work and unique life. I seek a comrade who will work extremely hard, yet guard the boundaries of professional deportment and selfcare. I want your light to shine, and I want to be among those who are a little dazzled by it. I seek a colleague who will love these people as much as I do, and who will know their love and their respect in return.

And I hope that you like snow.

I hope you’ll contact me with questions or ideas about the search, or contact the Search Committee at Alex Bartlett, Alan Hagstrom, Pat Hogen, Laurie Kigner, Kathy Sedro, Renee Smith, Nancy VerSteegh, and Katy Lowery (Chair).