2023 promises to be a year of important transitions for us
in several ways. None are more obvious than transitions in pastoral leadership as Doug Long anticipates in the weeks to come. The UPUCC Strategic Visioning Task
Force is offering thoughtful guidance to the Coordinating Council and
Congregation through the initial stages of this transition process. Provided
below is an FAQ meant to provide information and transparency to our
congregation about the ongoing work.
FAQ - Strategic Visioning Task Force -
Q: How are we going to find our next minister?
A: There are some steps we need to take before we are ready to find our next minister, especially if we are to know who is the best minister for us right now. In general, the process is two stages.
Stage one – Doug remains at UPUCC as our Senior Minister, while we reflect on who we have been and assess who we want to be.
Stage two – An Interim Minister is hired and a Search Committee begins their work in pursuing a new Senior Minister. (With the help of our Interim Minister, we submit a church profile to the National UCC describing who we are, our goals and the kind of leadership we seek. That profile is then provided nationwide for ministerial candidates to consider who may then offer their personal profiles for consideration to the UPUCC Search Committee. Then, we hire a new Senior Minister!)
Q: How long might this process take?
A: It might be more helpful to consider the things that need to be completed, rather than a strict timeline of dates.
Things we need to do
Complete the Convergence survey
Reflect on where we’ve been, and discern where we want to go
Create a church profile
Search for and hire an Interim Minister
Assemble a Search Committee
Interview candidates for the Senior Minister
Hire a Senior Minister
All said, the thoughtful transition from the time of Doug’s announcement last August to a new permanent minister would normally require, roughly, two years.
Q: What is an Interim Minister, and why do we need one?
A: An Interim Minister (or Intentional Interim Minister) is a minister who is chosen to lead a congregation for a short time, with the specific task of navigating the transition between leaders. These ministers are not eligible candidates to be the new Senior Minister.
Especially given our ‘congregational polity,’ it is important for the Congregation to establish its identity apart from a minister. A break is necessary to loosen the dependence on the former minister while enabling the embrace of new leadership. Interim Ministers are very common when congregations search for new leadership.
Per our bylaws, Interim Ministers are chosen by the Coordinating Council. This is different from Senior Ministers, who are chosen by congregational vote.
Q: What was the Strategic Visioning Task Force?
A: The Strategic Visioning Task Force was created to provide thoughtful guidance to the Council and Congregation in the first portion (the first stage) of the overall transition process. They were not a search committee but instead their work involved gathering information, mapping out necessary steps, and offering a visioning process that included the congregation.
With the approval of the Coordinating Council, the Strategic Visioning Task Force (SVTF) engaged the consulting firm Convergence to help us understand where we are today as a community, where we’d like to be in the future, and how to get there. Convergence conducted a survey of the congregation and provided a report with data and recommendations in March, 2023. Subsequently, the SVTF held a congregation-wide visioning weekend that took place March 18-19.
Afterward, the SVTF compiled a comprehensive report of their findings and presented them to the Coordinating Council on April 20. Thus, Phase One of our work (Visioning) is complete and the Council will lead us all into Phase Two (Searching!). Members of UPUCC may access the compilation of the visioning work found on our Covenant Partners/Members section of this website.
As outlined in the UPUCC Bylaws, the Coordinating
Council has now named an Interim Search Committee.
Questions about the Interim
Search may be directed to the co-chairs of the Interim Search Committee:
Acosta- Sara.Melinda.Acosta@gmail.com and Nicki Norris- firstname.lastname@example.org