UUFP Ministerial Search

One of our major goals is to hire a professional minister to serve us in a half-time position (approximately 20 hours per week). The Ministerial Search Committee was formed: Alex Fauchet, Ann Hobson, Dorothy Latta, Arlene Morrissey, Henry Morlock, Nicole Navarro, Margaret Schwartz and Norm Taber. The role of the Ministerial Search Committee is to recruit, screen and recommend a potential candidate to the congregation for approval.

The first major task of the committee was to develop a Congregational Record with details about our congregational life, and our “needs, wants, and desires” for professional ministerial support. One key element of this document is defining specific work priorities for the limited time a minister in a half-time position will have. The Ministerial Search Committee gathered this information through congregational meetings as well as through discussions with small groups and individuals in the congregation.

The Board of UUFP confirmed the financial commitment for professional ministry on March 20 and the position was posted on the “job opportunities” site of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

We are moving into a new phase of our search: REAL CANDIDATES! Within three weeks, we received three inquiries about the position. Each applicant was sent a copy of the Congregational Record.  From these three inquiries, we have received (to date) one formal application.

One critical part of the search process is that the committee must keep confidential both the names and the locations of the ministers under consideration and the details of committee business. This is an understanding and an expectation within the ministerial community and the UUA.

There are several reasons for the rule of confidentiality: 1) Ministers settled in a congregation may not have told their present parishioners that they are contemplating a move. These parishioners are entitled to hear the news from their own minister at the appropriate time; 2) When the identities of unsuccessful applicants are known, it heightens the competitive aspect of the search process. This hurts the collegial feeling among ministers and (when neighboring congregations compete for the same minister) can create hard feelings among congregations; 3) It is harder to resolve differences among the members of a search committee when factions of the congregation are looking over its shoulders. It is better for members of the search committee to resolve differences in private.

Confidentiality is not secrecy. Though confidentiality must be preserved, the committee will share information about the search process and will keep you posted on our activities.

We want to remind you that the committee will present only one candidate to the congregation for approval.

Why only one? For a successful ministry, we want and need an overwhelming affirmation in the final congregational vote. If we presented multiple choices, no candidate would receive the almost unanimous “yes” vote that signifies that affirmation, and the congregation might find itself split into camps. The committee values the trust and confidence you have placed in us to make this momentous decision. By the time we present you with our choice, we will have reviewed all applications, checked references, interviewed candidates, and discussed the candidates in depth. At every stage, we hold in mind the best interests—the hopes, dreams, and concerns – of our congregation. When it comes to the final decision, we will offer our selection for an up-or-down, yes-or-no vote. The committee will not present a candidate that the committee does not feel would be in the best interest of the congregation.

If you are interested in seeing our Congregational Record, or if you have any specific questions or would like more information, please contact Dorothy Latta (chair) or any other member of the ministerial search committee.

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