New Minister Board Update: Week 2

The Minister Selection Task Force is busily updating documents which are the foundation of the materials we will make available on the UUA website for prospective ministers.  On the website, prospective ministers can learn more about us and decide if they want to apply for our position.  Our interim ministers have told us that they believe we have a strong portfolio due to our strong financial position, congregational growth, and new church building among other favorable attributes, and we think it is likely that there will be nation-wide interest in the position. We plan to find a minister that will help us work to achieve the goals we have identified using information gathered from the annual survey and the board listening sessions. Next week, we will share information about these goals. Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for May and we are hopeful that we will have a new minister (or minister team or other possible configuration) to share at that time, or soon after that.

New Minister: Board Update Week 1

In order to provide more transparency about the process of selecting a new minister, the Board will be providing weekly updates on our progress.   (And note that although we’ve used “minister” we are also open to a minister team or other possible configurations.)    UUCM has a long history of selecting called ministers who do not have a pre-agreed term length.  For a variety of reasons, we have decided it would be best to take a different course for our next minister.  We are pivoting to a development ministry model and it is the responsibility of the Board to select the best applicant.  We have recently identified our Selection Task Force which is comprised of Robert Brooks, Bill Arnold, Julia Antonsen, and Becky Halat, who are working with Christine Purcell, the Transitions Program Manager at the UUA.  We are on track!  Next week, we will be sharing more about the developmental ministry model and more details about the process so stay tuned!  If you have any questions, please ask any Board member.

From the Board: January 2020

“Often in reclaiming the freedom to be who we are, we remember some basic human quality, what we find is almost always a surprise but it is also familiar; like something we have put in the back of a drawer long ago…”
Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom

The UUA Soul Matters theme for January 2020 is Integrity. In this month’s curriculum, the path to integrity is described as “tending to wisdom and wholeness within”. The UUCM Board has been working on discerning our congregation’s path in finding our next minister. Feedback from the Listening Sessions which the congregation took part in last fall revealed a lot about what our church is, and what the congregation wants to continue to be in the future.

One of the clear messages we discerned is that most of us sought out this church for the Unitarian Universalist beliefs, but we have stayed because of our UUCM community. In answer to the question “Why are you part of this church?”, the most frequent theme was that people are looking for community and connection, and they find it here. Continue reading →

From the Board: December 2019

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. This month’s post is offered by Robert Brooks, who discusses his experience of awe in relation to the compilation of reflections from our recent Board Listening Sessions, and the board’s process of moving towards the selection of a minister at the end of this second interim year.

Awe: noun (2) reverential fear or wonder (OldEnglish)

Awe is a numinous object, a purely intellectual intuition, emotionally powerful but hard to hold in my attention. As soon as I try to hold on to my sense of awe, like the proverbial bar of soap it slips from my grasp. Continue reading →

From the Board: November 2019

PAY ATTENTION!! At some time or another we heard this from a parent or teacher. For children, the world is full of stimuli and new information, it’s not surprising that a child’s focus isn’t always where an adult would expect it to be.

In the modern world, it is also hard for adults to pay attention. Balancing work, family, hobbies, church, and other commitments means we are not always mentally present even when we are physically present.  It is easy to get lost in thought and not pay attention to a movie, miss a moment in a conversation, or drift off during a sermon (not that I have ever, ever done that…). Technology makes this even easier — phones and iPads provide a ready distraction.

That said, there are definitely times where attention is absolutely required (like driving). Other times, if you just pay attention, you’ll have experiences you might not expect. A walk in the woods turns into a wildlife spotting adventure and a chorus of sounds. A chat turns into a deep and meaningful conversation and sharing of experience.

Over the past year, our UUCM troika has definitely paid attention to us. Their observation and listening has allowed them to provide insights into what our church does well and what we can do better. In turn, we have paid attention to what they are telling us, so we can grow and change in a positive way.

Because the troika won’t be with us next year, the board is now working to pay close attention to you. Our listening sessions are designed for us to be sure we know about your hopes and dreams for UUCM as well as your worries and concerns. Even if you miss the listening sessions, please let us know your thoughts. Only by paying attention to you, will we be able to choose a ministerial direction for UUCM.

— Bill Arnold
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees

From the Board: October 2019

The theme for October is “belonging” – an affinity for a place or situation.  Both intuition and research show that people need to feel a sense of social connectedness, and that belonging comes with feeling that one is an accepted member of a group.

Considering that humans evolved for tens of thousands of years living in small tribes, it is not surprising that belongingness and social connectedness are an integral part of the normal human psyche.  Tribe membership increased a human’s chances of survival from starvation, predation, and violence by neighboring tribes. Selection pressures for connectedness and belongingness were probably intense.

Abraham Maslow’s influential theory on the hierarchy of needs identified our physiological needs for food, water, and warmth as superseding our psychological needs.  But subsequent research has shown just how fundamental our need for social connection and belonging are, and how important the fulfillment is to healthy human psychology and functioning. Continue reading →

From the Board: September 2019

September’s theme is “Expectations,” a theme of particular interest to me as a new board member. I’ve been a member of UUCM for over two years now, and have been so happy to find such a caring and welcoming community.

“Expectations” is a big word, with many resonances. What does the congregation expect of me in this new board role? What are the other board members’ expectations? And what about the interim ministerial team? I could quickly get overwhelmed—and not merely by a string of rhetorical questions.

Certainly, there are the basic expectations, like going board meetings and being an active member of church life. Those are obvious, and I’m sure there’s more to it than that. It’s good to expect things from each other, and to hold each other accountable, to hold oneself accountable. Continue reading →