2023 promises to be a year of important transitions for us
in several ways. None are more obvious than transitions in pastoral and
administrative leadership as both Doug Long and Peg Arcari anticipate retiring
mid-way through this calendar year. 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 is the Strategic Visioning Task Force?
A: The Strategic Task Force is offering thoughtful guidance to the Council and Congregation in the first portion (the first stage) of the overall transition process. They are not a search committee but instead their work involves gathering information, mapping out necessary steps and, importantly, offering a visioning process that includes the congregation. Per our UPUCC Bylaws, a search committee will eventually be established by the Coordinating Council.
Q: Where are we now?
A: The Strategic Visioning Task Force, in December, recommended to the Coordinating Council that we engage in a consulting engagement with 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. We believe using outside coaches/consultants will be an advantage during this time of transition. Having people with an independent perspective will help ensure that all voices and opinions are considered as we prepare to make one of the most significant decisions in our congregation’s history. The Coordinating Council approved working with the consulting group.
The Convergence group will engage UPUCC with a survey of the congregation, ministries, context and staff. Following completion of the survey, the consulting group will provide a summary of the data collected. Finally, all of this work will lead us toward engaging in and completing long-term visioning for the future of UPUCC.
can be addressed to Edward McFarland, Chair of the UPUCC
Strategic Visioning Task Force.