Beyond Categorical Thinking: Ministerial Search Workshop Summary

Our workshop was held on Sunday October 23 from 12 noon to 3 pm in Fellowship Hall.

The Beyond Categorical Thinking ministerial search worship service and a related three-hour afternoon workshop were held on Sunday the 23rd. The worship service that morning included all members of the search team with the sermon provided by Jo Ann Dale and Mike Takada. The sanctuary was full, and everyone enjoyed two rousing musical performances, one by the CrUUner's and the other by the adult choir. After a tasty lunch with wraps from Piato, our guests also led the workshop, which had a great turnout with 69 participants. Through a lot of discussion and group activities, everyone learned the importance of looking for the absolute BEST fit in a minister--and learned that if the chosen candidate happens to be of a different race/ethnicity, or lgbt, or have a disability, we shouldn't let that dissuade us from our selection. Likewise, we learned we shouldn't go looking for a particular category of minister thinking that they will help us be more diverse in any of those aspects.

Our Ministerial Search Workshop Leaders: 

Michael Takada is a member of the Unitarian Church of Evanston. Since finding a spiritual home at UCE back in 1989, he has happily participated in a full spectrum of roles at UCE: Sunday School teacher & class coordinator; Senior High Youth Group advisor; served as RE Board Chair; served not once but twice on the Board of Trustees, most recently as Board President; former Chair of the Racial & Cultural Diversity Leadership Group; member of the Stewardship and Membership Development committees as well as serving as a Worship Associate. Michael’s passion and commitment to anti-racism and diversity work includes 10 years’ experience as a former trainer with the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference program. Michael lives in Chicago where he raised 3 wonderful daughters, all of whom elected not to come back home after graduating from college.

Jo Ann Dale lives in New Albany, Indiana with her disabled partner (now wife) of 38 years.   After retiring from a career as an attorney, she attended seminary, studied grief counseling, and did bereavement support work and eleventh hour companioning with a hospice organization.  She enjoys speaking on a regular basis to her Louisville congregation at Clifton Universalist Unitarian Church, as well as gardening and playing ukulele with two local bands.  

Jo Ann and her family are dedicated Unitarian Universalists and are active in social justice projects.  Jo Ann has been part of the Beyond Categorical Thinking team since 2003, and continues to enjoy the energizing experience of working with Unitarian Universalist congregations engaged in the search for the settled minister who best meets their particular needs.

Jo Ann and Michael are not employees of the UUA, but are members of UU congregations that have gone through special training to teach the Beyond Categorical Thinking curriculum. They themselves represent some of the diverse groups we are exploring in the workshop.