Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme. The theme for November is Change. This month’s post is offered by Janna Sundby.
Building a trusting relationship with our developmental minister was just one of the goals that we set out to achieve when we signed our agreement in April 2020. I believe we’ve achieved that important goal despite there being a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that’s still circulating. Change remains our constant companion. The Minnesota seasons are our colorful annual roadmap for growth, change, death and it starts again. Moving, altering, familiar yet somewhat different with each evolution.
We thoughtfully chose a “Developmental Minister” hire back in 2018, following input from the Ministerial Troika, that never included an option for that person to be our settled minister due to the UUA’s guidelines. We agreed to choose between a contract, vs. a settled, vs. a developmental minister and selected the developmental as the best option for us.
Hiring our Developmental Minister, Rev. Lisa Friedman, has been a wonderful successful change. Yet this was not luck; we did the hard work of researching, refining, defining and recording our collective goals for developing ourselves, and seeking spiritual guidance from a new unknown ministerial leader.
One thing I feel the board should make clear to everyone is that Rev. Lisa could never be our settled minister. She’s here now to help us continue to discern who we are when seeking a settled or contract minister. We’ll need to do the work again regarding who we collectively are as a church over the next few years. The hard work, that reflection, research and recording of who we are, once we feel we’ve met the collective goals we set with Rev. Lisa, will allow us to set new milestones for the next yet-to-be-known leader.
Lo and behold, “She likes us!” we exclaimed. Yes, we found what we were seeking because we did the deep reflection. Rev. Lisa has genuinely built trusting relationships with us despite not meeting many people in person for the first two years. She’s also built relationships with current staff while assisting us in hiring two great new staffers. (Welcome Karen and Jill.) The staff has coalesced under her leadership. In fact, many things have coalesced under her leadership to help take us into the future.
Rev. Lisa was not actively seeking a Developmental Ministry position, but when she read the description of our goals, she felt like it was a role she would naturally be good at. It’s been good for her and good for us. Within the next 2-4 years we’ll reflect again on what we need in our next minister. It’s a 16 month process from start to finish, if all flows well.
The “church” remains the people who commit to this community. Surely as individuals change and the community evolves, our collective church will continue on. I’m excited about a positive track forward and hope you are, too.
I’m pleased we found each other and that it’s worked out so well. Let’s work together to guide the collective “us”” toward where we want to go. Rev. Lisa doesn’t know what exactly her next role will be when she eventually leaves UUCM, but she’s very committed to working with us to achieve our goals before she moves on. I’m hoping you will be energized for what we have created together thus far and in the planning for our future.
Rev. Lisa and our board president Becky Halat will be having an open conversation around this topic at a service in January and you’ll be invited to partake in the discussion. Let’s continue to do the work together keeping an eye on where we’d like our church community to be in the near and distant future.
— Janna Sundby
Vice President, UUCM Board of Trustees