Update On the Search for an Assistant Minister 2/6/2017
The Search Committee met three times in January to prepare for the important task of selecting potential ministerial candidates to interview online in preparation to determine which of those would be invited to interview in person during the month of March as well as preach in a neutral pulpit in a Bay Area UU Church.
These meeting agendas included assessing the feedback from the recently completed MDUUC Member Survey that reflected congregants’ responses to top priorities regarding the areas of needs that an Assistant Minister should have at this time in the life of our church. Members were also asked to select specific ministerial qualities they considered most important in screening candidates for this position. Among the top priorities selected were the minister’s role in contributing to inspiring Sunday services; fostering a sense of community and fellowship; playing an active role in pastoral care; and actively encouraging and supporting the social justice programs and work of our congregation. The committee also determined that members were looking for the following skills and qualities: assuring efficient and effective church administration; active and compassionate pastoral care; encouraging and supporting new members to become fully invested in the life of the church and its many activities; and providing visible leadership in our community and beyond the church.
The committee also determined additional skills that would be necessary to build a dynamic ministerial team in supporting our lead minister, Leslie Takahashi. There is a need for the new minister to be detail oriented and who has a passion for multi-tasking in our fast-paced environment; to possess a high level of interpersonal skills as they interact and intersect with diverse individuals and groups; someone who is flexible and has a good sense of humor; and someone who can easily take direction from our lead minister and support her in her established work with the staff, Board, the Make It So strategic goals, and the congregation at large.
Recent meetings have addressed the use of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Ministerial Settlement website that houses all of the extensive profiles of ministers who are seeking employment and have expressed an interest in our specific position. The last week of January and first week of February have been devoted to reading the profiles of eleven ministers who are interested in our position and prioritizing which candidates would receive an invitation to interview through an online video conferencing application called Zoom, which is similar to Skype but supports multiple participants. By the end of the two weeks, a minimum of five candidates will be interviewed by the committee, and from that group at least two or more candidates will be invited to visit with us for a weekend in which they are interviewed extensively; given a tour of the campus and surrounding areas; and preach in a sister UU church.
At the January 26th meeting, the Search Committee learned about and had a robust conversation regarding a vitally important program entitled, “Beyond Categorical Thinking.” Mr. Barb Greve, our Developmental Director of Lifespan Religious Education, led this discussion about this program which is designed to promote inclusive thinking and prevent unfair discrimination during a congregation’s search for a settled minister. We felt very fortunate that our very own DLRE has a twenty plus year involvement with this incredibly important program and we are grateful to have his knowledge and support during this search process.
If the committee is unsuccessful in finding a candidate who meets our needs in this first round, we will continue to search through the spring. Please look for a future update about the work of this committee at the end of this month.
Nancy Rivara, Chair