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January 30, 2022

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the Ministerial Transition Town Hall last Sunday. As noted in the meeting, the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) has been developing tools to make sure the process of nominating the Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) to the congregation is as transparent and responsive as possible.  Below you will find several links.

Here is the link to the MSC Member job description.  This will give you an understanding of the skills sets, time commitment, and responsibilities needed for individuals you recommend to serve.  Before you recommend an individual (including yourself) for consideration please review this document.

There is also a link to our recommendation form.  Please use this form to make your recommendations to the LDC. Please use a separate form for each person.  It will give you the opportunity to tell us why you think this person will make a great candidate.  If you are recommending on behalf of a group please list everyone who is making this recommendation.  Please note, that only members can make recommendations.

Next, please sign up for one of the MSC Information Forums listed below.  These forums are designed to hear from the entire congregation regarding what you think is important for a MSC member and to provide information.

We are asking you to register so that we can determine who is not able to attend for any reason, including low-technology access.

We will schedule additional sessions if needed.

We will utilize other outreach strategies as we determine who has not been heard and how to best respond.

Finally, if you need to reach out to the Leadership Development Committee, you can email us at  Every LDC member will receive this email and we will determine who can best answer your questions.

  • We prefer you to contact us via email so that we can respond as a group to your questions.
  • If you cannot for any reason use the email link please contact any LDC member with your question.

Your LDC members include:

Carol Dunlap                Bonita Kirk

Larry Landon                Anita Lee

Annette Marquis            Denise Rimes

Justin Tolley


December 2021

One of the essential components of a ministerial transition is regular communication.  This is the first in a series of communications that serve to inform the First UU family about the transition and its status.

Transition Coaching

Christine Purcell serves as the Transitions Program Manager for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).  Her role is to assist and/or coordinate assistance to congregations entering the search process.  She joined the Board meeting on Tuesday, November 30, to outline (at a very high level), the ministerial search process.  Each search gets the care and full attention of the UUA staff, and Christine and her colleagues are available for support throughout the process.  Christine will join a First UU town hall meeting, to be scheduled for mid-January, to have a similar conversation with the congregation.

Establishing a Search Committee

The First UU Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is already working on how they will build a slate for the search committee selection.  Aside from compiling a qualified slate, the LDC wants, as one of their primary goals, to contribute fully to the democratic process within our congregation.  Christine emphasized the importance of creating a process that people can trust by proposing candidates who listen well, work well in covenant, and have no “axe to grind” in the search process.  The LDC has asked Christine to join an upcoming committee meeting to further detail the process so that they can get underway.  Once the slate is compiled (through a process that the LDC will build), a special congregational meeting will be held to elect a search committee of seven people.

The Search Committee begins its work

Once the search committee has been elected, Christine or her designee will conduct a search committee retreat, making sure that whoever conducts the retreat fully understands the nuances of an internal candidate.  The search committee will begin their work by building relationships, establishing a covenant, and laying out the timeline for the process.  Key activities will include a congregational survey, cottage meetings (focus groups), and the development of a congregational record, which is a comprehensive overview of the past, present, and future of the congregation.  The congregational record is also shared with Rev. Sherman.  He will also put together a packet, reviewing his past, present and future thoughts to share with the search committee.

The Ministerial Candidacy

The search committee will determine, in collaboration with Rev. Sherman, whether his candidacy is a good match for the congregation.  If both agree, a modified candidating process (modified for an internal candidate) will occur, which will include preaching and information sharing by Rev. Sherman. If, for any reason, Rev. Sherman is not presented as a candidate, First UU will continue to have the full support of the UUA related to next steps.  If Rev. Sherman is selected as a candidate, the final decision to call will be made by a vote of the congregation.

The difference between and internal and an external search

There is little difference between the two types of searches, although they are separate.  Ministers, through their affiliation with the UUMA (Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association), are in covenant with one another.  As part of that covenant, ministers respect the current positions of their colleagues, so an internal candidacy honors those currently in a congregation who are candidating in that congregation.

What are the next steps?

The Board is responsible for officially charging both the LDC and the search committee with work, to include language around our values, ethics, and boundaries.  Christine emphasized the importance of communication with the congregation.  The Board, the LDC and the search committee will strive to maintain a low level of anxiety during the transition, which will also be a part of the charge.  There is much work to do, and many variables that we are considering, including, but not limited to

  • Awareness that an internal search is relatively unusual (most congregations only have one minister, if that)
  • Our internal candidate is a person of color. How will that impact our actions?
  • What happens if Rev. Sherman is not called?

If your small group or committee has questions, please let us know by emailing us at  Thanks to all of you who have already asked questions and offered feedback.  We welcome all of those opportunities!