Settled Minister’s Search Committee Update! December 12, 2016

The Search Committee has been feverishly working to get everything in to the UUA Transitions Office on schedule and we have done just that! We thought it was time for a tentativeschedule of where we are headed from here. Below you will find the schedule for the next months. Since this puts us into a confidential time slot, you won’t be hearing too much from us, but please know that we continue to work hard to do our very best for everyone at UUSD. And as always, feel free to talk to any of us on the committee at any time.

Schedule for Search Committee Going Forward:

  • December 2 – Interested ministers were able to review our ten-page Congregational Record that was developed by the UUSD Search Committee. During this time, the committee also has been preparing a packet that has been placed on a thumb drive that will go out to interested ministers — a very significant packet in size of information not only about us, but also our surrounding area.
  • January 2 – Committee views list of interested ministers and their packets.
  • January 2-6 – Committee decides on those we want to interview.
  • January 9-20 – Zoom interviews with perspective candidates.
  • January 23 – Decide on final candidates and make contacts.
  • February 5, 12, and 26 – Candidating weekends with neutral pulpits. The Search Committee spends the weekend with each candidate and travels to the neutral churches to hear sermons by the candidates. After these weekends end, the Search Team decides on a final candidate and does extensive background checks etc. Inform the Board of Trustees of our choice for them to give us a go-ahead.
  • March 30 at noon – Extend offer to final candidate. 
  • Between April 30 and May 7 – Candidating weeks (9-10 days) with sermons at UUSD for the congregation on April 30 and May 7. After the May 7 sermon,membersof the congregation will vote with at least a 90% aye vote —hopefully! During this candidating week, there will be receptions with the Board, Committees, and members to meet the candidate.

Jean Charles - Chair
Len Bowman

Jeff Cordiano
Deb Davies
Betty Kirk

Carol Carter Walker Conducts "Beyond Categorical Thinking" Workshop at UUSD on Sunday, October 30, 2016

DSC 0454 enhancedA special thank you goes to Carol Carter Walker, who conducted the “Beyond Categorical Thinking” workshop at UUSD on Sunday, October 30.

The Search Committee coordinated the workshop, which is offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association for congregations involved in the search for a new Carol Carter Walker search committeeminister. The program is designed to promote inclusive thinking and to help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. The Sunday program included a morning worship service at which Carol delivered the homily — “We Are All One.” There were 35 participants in this thought provoking three-hour workshop.


Settled Minister’s Search Committee Update! September 29, 2016

Thank you to the 81people who participated in the six sessions of Cottage Meetings in September! Each group discussed three questions and the brainstorming that was done will be used to formulate questions for ministerial candidates and UUSD leadership interviews.

Our next big event will be Sunday, October 30, when Carol Walker will be presenting a sermon – “We Are All One.” Carol, who is a UUA Beyond Categorical Thinking Facilitator, will talk about the urgency of looking beyond categories and stereotypes in our ministerial search and in the fulfillment of our principles and purposes. She will be leading a related workshop after the service from 11:30-1:30 in the sanctuary for members and friends.

When a picture of the “ideal minister” (categorized by age, gender, gender identity, nationality, physical ability, race, and sexual orientation) comes to mind, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude ministers who fall into certain categories. At times, as we get caught up in comparing candidates to our “picture,” we can even forget what it is we hoped for in a minister.

This 3-hour conversation will give everyone a chance to examine (personally and congregationally) how we can avoid letting prejudice become a part of our search process. It is yet another way for us to put our faith into lived experience and improve the odds that regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for us and will serve us well.

We can’t stress enough how important this workshop can be for UUSD and its future. Please seriously consider attending if at all possible. It will be time well spent! Since there will be handouts, it’s very important that you actually sign up for the workshop. There will be a sign- up sheet in the gathering area beginning this Sunday.

As always, please feel free to contact or talk to anyone on the Search Committee (Len Bowman, Jeff Cordiano, Deb Davies, and Betty Kirk). Please know we truly appreciate your support!

In the Spirit,
Jean Charles
Search Committee Chair

Beyond Categorical Thinking: Search Committee Workshop — October 30, 2016

“Will the new minister hear me? Will my concerns and needs be met? Will the minister understand what I’m living with?
How will the community respond to our minister?’

In answering these questions, a picture of the “ideal minister” (categorized by age, gender, gender identity, nationality, physical ability, race, and sexual orientation) comes to mind. With this picture in place, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude ministers who fall into certain categories. At times, as we get caught up in comparing candidates to our “picture,” we can even forget what it is we hoped for in a minister.

On Sunday, October 30, UUSD will participate in the Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) workshop offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) for congregations involved in the search for a new minister. The UUSD Search Committee invites all congregational leaders, members, and friends to participate in this workshop.

The Beyond Categorical Thinking program is designed to promote inclusive thinking and help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. This program includes a Sunday morning service with BCT workshop facilitators followed by a three-hour workshop. In the workshop, UUSD members will:

  • Consider the hopes, expectations, and concerns they have for a new minister;
  • Learn more about the ministerial search process; and
  • Explore how thinking categorically about people sometimes interferes with choosing the best candidate.

Come to the October 30 Sunday service and remain after coffee hour (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) to participate in this UUA-sponsored three-hour workshop.

The selection of a minister is important. The Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop is another opportunity for everyone in our congregation to be a part of that process. This experience will provide guidance for the search committee in our work. 

Summary of the Congregational Survey Results Slide Show

The slides will automatically advance every 30 seconds. Click the left or right arrows at the bottom of the frame to go back or forward.


Ministerial Search Committee Update — August 2, 2016
Cottage Meetings for Members and Friends

Coming up in September are Cottage Meetings for members and friends to attend. These “Focus Groups” will be limited to 15 people per group and will last one hour and a half. Below you will find the scheduled dates and times. Beginning this Sunday, August 7, through August 21, there will be someone from the Search Committee in the foyer after services to help you sign up. You may also email Jean Charles with the date that best suites you.

The meetings will be facilitated by a Search Committee member who will have approximately 5-6 questions to discuss. A sample question may be, “How would you describe this congregation to a prospective minister?”

The meetings are scheduled as follows:

  • Sunday, September 11 (11:45-1:15) — Two meetings, one in the large RE room and one in the Sanctuary
  • Tuesday, September 13 (10:30-12:00) — Sanctuary
  • Thursday, September 15 (6:00-7:30) — Sanctuary
  • Sunday, September 18 (11:45-1:15) — Two meetings, one in the large RE room and one in the Sanctuary
  • Monday, September 19 (6:00-7:30) — Large RE room
  • Wednesday, September 21 (6:00-7:30) — Large RE room
  • Thursday, September 22 (10:30-12:00) — Sanctuary
  • Saturday, September 24 (10:30-12:00) — Sanctuary
  • Sunday, September 25 (11:45-1:15) — Two meetings, one in the large RE room and one in the Sanctuary

Please feel free to direct any questions you may have concerning the search process to Jean Charles or anyone else on the committee — Len Bowman, Jeff Cordiano, Deb Davies, and Betty Kirk. There will be more updates to come! Our intentions are to keep you updated whenever something new is happening.

Ministerial Search Committee Update — August 1, 2016

Rev.Craig4x6 2016 07 19 editedSAB edited 1On Sunday, July 10, Rev. Craig Hirshberg delivered a sermon on It’s Only Change. She spoke to the congregation about the ministerial search process and how everyone can be involved. Rev. Craig is UUSD’s Ministerial Search Committee’s MSR (Ministerial Settlement Representative). She serves us through the UUA’s Transition Office.

Hopefully, many of you had a chance to meet Rev. Craig during coffee hour before she met with the outgoing and incoming Board members. Sunday evening was a working dinner committee meeting at Betty Kirk’s home from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. On Monday, July 11, Rev. Craig presented a workshop from 9:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m. on the search process, helping the committee assign to specific duties for each member and to work on a calendar of deadlines. The entire committee agreed that the extra time and energy put into these workshops was invaluable, and Rev. Craig is a great consultant for us to depend on to walk us through the search process.


The survey from the search committee should be well on its way to being shared and completed. The results will be posted on the UUSD website under the Settled Ministerial Committee News. We can’t stress enough how important it is to respond to anything the Search Committee offers to you. All of the information gathered from the survey and meetings will help the committee make the best decision for UUSD. Although anyone is welcome to participate in all activities, keep in mind that in the end, only members will vote for the final candidate.

In the upcoming months, the Search Committee members will be interviewing staff (LSFD Director and Music Director) along with church leaders, such as committee chairs and the Board of Trustees. During the month of September, you will be asked to attend a Cottage Meeting (focus group). These face-to-face meetings with a Search Committee member and about 15-20 people will allow us to ask some important questions. An example of that might be — “How would you describe this congregation to a prospective minister?”

Please keep in mind that your Search Committee is always available for comments or questions at any time. We are here to receive and record as much information from our congregation as possible to help us in this very important decision.

UUSD Ministerial Search to Begin
—Board of Trustees

Even though it seems that Rev. Paula has just begun her interim ministry with us, it is none too soon to begin one of the most important spiritual journeys UUSD has undertaken. We are embarking on the search for our next settled minister. This will be a relatively new experience for UUSD, as it has been many years since we conducted a full ministerial search. The most recent was the search that resulted in Rev. Keith Goheen being called as UUSD’s minister. When Rev. Mike was hired, he started on a quarter-time basis and the formal search process was not appropriate.

On February 3, the Board of Trustees, at its annual retreat, met with Rev. David Pyle, JPD District Executive, to review the procedure for conducting a settled minister search. He was able to offer ideas, based on his own experience and that of others in the UUA as to what have proven to be the most effective and productive practices to find the best qualified minister for UUSD. His suggestions were carefully discussed, considered, and accepted as the best practices. His most important suggestion was to get started immediately by forming our Ministerial Search Committee.

He recommended that in order to do the “hard spiritual work” of identifying the right minister for our congregation, “You need a team that has specific skills, that trusts each other, can hold confidentiality (even from spouses) and, most important, work well together.”

Based on Rev. Pyle’s recommendations, the board will appoint a search committee of five members, who will work together, and with Rev. Pyle and the UUA’s Office of Ministerial Transitions, to find the most qualified candidate for UUSD. The five committee members will be selected by the board from members of the congregation who express their interest and willingness to devote significant energy and time over the next year on this task.

The qualities, experience and skill sets we are seeking include:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to advocate for one’s point of view, but, most importantly, the ability to see other perspectives and work toward consensus
  • Ability to keep information absolutely confidential, including from one’s spouse
  • Membership in UUSD, a connection with this congregation of at least 2 years, and preferably, some experience in volunteer work or leadership in the church
  • Skill in and experience with information technology (websites, Skype, etc.)
  • Good at talking with, interacting with people
  • Organizational skills.

Rev. Pyle recommended that no Board of Trustees member or their spouse/significant other should serve on the search committee, nor should spouses/significant others both serve on the search committee.

Application forms (see below) are available for those who wish to be considered, and they should be completed and submitted by April 17. This is the same deadline date as for applicants for positions on the Board of Trustees and the Leadership Development Committee. The committee will be selected in May, and will begin work in May or June.The Board is anxious to have a diverse committee that will bring together a cross section of ideas and experience. Please consider being a part of this most important committee. If you have questions after reviewing all of the material (see the links below or the hard copies available at the church), please contact a Board member.

The following are links to:



Beyond Categorical Thinking: Search Committee Workshop —October 30, 2016