On Sunday, November 13, the Board of Directors met with interested members of the congregation to discuss the retirement of the Rev. Connolly next summer and our options for what happens next. The Board showed the UUA material and resources available at the UUA website, including the Transitional Ministry Handbook, and we all watched a 15-minute video about Interim Ministry. As you can see in the handbook, when a long-standing minister retires, the next step recommended and preferred by UUA is “almost universally” an Interim Minister.

However, that does not mean our church has to hire an Interim Minister. Generally speaking, we have four options:

a Lay-Level Ministry (what we had before hiring a minister)
an Interim Minister
a Called Minister (full-time, either from UUA or elsewhere)
a Consulting Ministry (full-time or part-time)

To choose the option that best serves our church requires us to understand what each option offers and requires. Also, given our current size and location, we must get a sense of what is possible. Further, recognizing that efforts to pursue one particular option might fail, it would be prudent for us to develop back-up plans.

During the November meeting, some members voiced a concern that the Board will move forward and act without providing adequate opportunity for the congregation to engage in discussion and make their voices heard. As President, I promise that the Board has no desire or intent for this to occur, and we will schedule a very important meeting in January (separate from the Congregational Meeting on January 22) with the sole purpose of addressing our next ministry.

For this meeting in January to be productive and for us to make a good decision, we must all inform ourselves adequately. I strongly encourage everyone to follow the links at the bottom of this letter or to read the information available at the church, so that we can educate ourselves on these options. The Board has already begun to do this.

Details are still to be determined, but the plan is to produce a written ballot that lists well-articulated choices, and when we are ready (probably in February), the congregation will vote. All members are welcome to contact myself or other Board members should you like to have a one-on-one conversation about this important topic.

Resources

In the Interim edited by Keith Kron and Barbara Child
Don’t Wait Until the Pastor Leaves by Michael Durrall
org/careers/ministers/transitions (transitioning)
org/careers/ministers/interim (interims)
org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/transitional_ministry.pdf (Handbook)
org/careers/ministers/interim/173977.shtml (Video)

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