Ministerial Search and Transition – Board Reports
Prepared by Barny Dunning (chair) for Sep 15, 2020 board meeting
- The main focus right now is the congregational survey, which is live and there have been several announcements to the congregation to urge them to fill it out. Last Monday, 23 people had filled out the survey.
- The search committee will be leading the service on Sept 27, explaining the time line and urging people to fill out the survey.
- We have reserved four neutral pulpits for the pre-candidating weeks (when we will invite up to 4 people to present a Sunday service for us).
- The youth have made a video of the church building which will be edited and made part of the document packet that prospective ministers will review.
- The ministerial transition webpage on our church's webpage has been revised to reflect the changes in our committee membership. Brent is working with the communications team to increase the visibility of the webpage when one goes to the church website.
- The meeting on Monday will focus on two things: setting up the service for Sunday and developing a list of church groups for which we will plan focus meeting in October.
Prepared by Barny Dunning (chair) for Oct 20, 2020 board meeting
- The congregational survey is now finished. Our goal was to have a participation rate of at least 60% and we finished close to that. Brent is now working through the data, as one of the products that need to go into the written documents that prospective ministers will read.
- We led a church service in late September to explain the search process to the congregation and encourage them to participate in the fact-finding sessions. By all accounts the service went well. We greatly appreciate all the help from Rosemary and the production crew.
- Our biggest effort right now is the cottage meetings and focus groups, which are designed to gather answers to some specific questions. Answers will also go into the packaged documents for prospective ministers. We hope to have all of these meetings done by the end of the month.
- The details for the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop are finalized and the two facilitators attended the church service mentioned above. We will have a "meet and greet" session with the facilitators and the committee next Friday night, and two church-wide sessions on Saturday. The facilitators will lead next Sunday's service and then we will have a final session that afternoon with the committee. A reminder: all Board members are welcome and strongly encouraged to attend the Saturday workshops and the Sunday service.
- The next task will be writing two documents called the Congregational Record and the Documents Packet. Kat Braz has agreed to help with production and we will pay her out of our budget.
- The negotiating team met with UUA compensation consultants on Monday and agreement on a proposed salary level should be reported to the Board at this coming meeting.
Prepared by Barny Dunning (chair) for Nov 17, 2020 board meeting
- The search committee is progressing on a number of fronts. We finished the congregational survey in late October as well as the series of meetings and focus groups that we had to gather information from congregants and friends. A summary of both the survey and the meeting results has been prepared and will be available to prospective ministers.
- The main focus for November is writing a series of documents describing our church and church family. Two of these documents are called the Congregational Record and the Documents Packet, and are the standard sources of information that prospective ministers will look for in researching our opening. In addition, we are creating a "Welcome Document' that will be placed on our church website that allows a more creative expression of who we are (lots of pictures, videos links, etc.). Kat Braz is helping us with editing and producing the documents, then Rosemary and our UUA Transitions Coach will review them before they "go live" on December 1.
- Once those tasks are done, we will turn to the planning of the pre-candidating weekends that will occur in February and March with our selected candidates.
No board meeting
Prepared by Barny Dunning (chair) for Jan. 19, 2021 board meeting
The Ministerial Search Committee is in the process of doing phone interviews with prospective candidates. The UUA warns us against providing too many details about the candidates themselves - even the number of applicants - but I can certainly say that we have a sufficient pool of ministers interested in our position that we are sure that we can fill the four slots that we have for "pre-candidating weekends." These events will be done mostly via Zoom. Typically during a non-pandemic search, the pre-candidates come to town, visit with the committee, tour the church building and the town, and give a service at a neutral pulpit - typically another UU congregation in the state. We are currently preparing how to have an equivalent experience when travel is not possible. The pre-candidating visits will take place over a time period from mid-February to mid-March.
We are impressed by the range of people and experiences represented by our pool of candidates. One of the search committee members remarked that there are certainly many applicants with personality - it is not a drab bunch! We will continue with our phone interviews (also being done through Zoom) and check references of our applicants through the coming week. Our immediate deadline is that we can offer pre-candidating visits to our top candidates on January 23rd and they can respond whether they are interested in coming on January 24th. At that point, we will begin matching interested applicants with specific dates.
We sent all the applicants a link to the Christmas Eve service in which our musicians played such an important role. They also got a link to the Welcome Packet that Kat Braz created for us. In that Welcome Packet is a video made by our UU youth, showing off the church building and stating why the youth think ours is a great church. I think all the candidates that we have spoken to have commented that those materials showed off our congregation in a very positive way and congratulated us for the creativity of our members.
Prepared by Barny Dunning (chair) for the February and March 2021 editions of Lighted Chalice
The Ministerial Search Committee has been going through a very active period. We received the names of ministers interested in our position at the beginning of January. Confidentiality dictates that we not talk a lot about the pool of applicants - even how many. But I can say that there are more ministers in search this year than is typical, relative to the number of churches with open positions. So we got a very healthy pool of applicants with a diversity of interests and personalities.
We have conducted a round of zoom interviews with the applicants that interested us the most, and have been checking references. All of this activity leads up to "visits" (it's all on zoom this year) by our top candidates during weekends in February and March, with each visit including a service led by the candidate at a neutral pulpit. With luck, this will culminate with our offering the position to our top candidate on April 1st (no foolin'). Assuming that we have a match with a candidate, there will be a week of activities in late April - early May during which the congregation and candidate will get to meet.
Prepared by the search committee for distribution to the congregation
Greetings from the Search Committee,
The ministerial search process is drawing to a close. The search committee is thankful to everyone that participated in the process through the congregational survey, focus groups, and cottage meetings. Our congregation's hard work during Rev. Rosemary's interim ministry has paid off. We have a candidate for settled ministry.
The search committee is excited to announce Rev. Jennie Barrington as our candidate for settled minister! Rev. Jennie has an excellent blend of experience and passion for social justice, pastoral care, and Unitarian Universalism. She is eager to create a shared ministry that enriches our congregational life and builds a beloved community in Tippecanoe County and throughout Indiana.
We are thrilled for you to meet Rev. Jennie and see the possibilities for our shared ministry together. There will be multiple ways to get to know Rev. Jennie over the next two weeks. She will be in town April 24th through May 2nd and leading the worship services on both April 25th and May 2nd. An outdoor meet and greet with the candidate will be held at the church in the afternoon after service on April 25th. An all church email to sign up for the meet and greet and other opportunities to engage with the candidate will be sent on Tuesday. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be a mix of small in person gatherings and Zoom meetings to interact with Rev. Jennie. The best way to learn about the candidate is from Rev. Jennie herself. Please read the attached letter from Rev Jennie.
The search process will conclude with a congregational meeting on May 2nd to vote on whether to call Rev. Jennie as our settled minister. Please make every effort to attend the congregational meeting via Zoom immediately following service on May 2nd.