The Search Gets Real

The work of the ministerial search committee is getting more and more exciting! We all had been anxiously awaiting January 2, the day on which we would receive the names!! It was a terrific feeling to get a HUGE response from ministers expressing an interest in our congregation. That same day, everyone on the committee scanned through all of the ministerial records so that we could talk about them that night.

We met that evening, then contacted the ministers to ask for their ministerial packets. With both records and packets there was a great deal of information to go through, including text, audio, and video clips. We were already starting to feel as if we were acquainted with the potential candidates. The committee members had different perspectives on the ministers, and we listened to each other with great interest. Ultimately, we had no real difficulty in agreeing on which ones we wanted to interview via Skype.

Throughout this process the search committee was guided by all the input given to us by the congregation. Our ultimate question to decide the fate of each pre-candidate was always “Could this person be our minister?” The answer to this question was based on what we know from the surveys and cottage meetings.

The Skype interviews were fairly intense, but actually quite fun. In most cases, we thought of more things we would have liked to talk about, but our time was limited. Following these interviews, reference checking, and some long discussions, we chose our three pre-candidates. Again, we always relied on our ultimate question to keep us on track.

These three ministers will be traveling to meet with the search committee and preach at a neutral pulpit somewhere in Central Illinois in February or March. The committee will be working hard to make sure that each pre-candidate has a chance to get a good feel for our church and community, and that we also get to know them well.

Ultimately, one candidate will be chosen, and invited for the (Saturday to Sunday) week of April 29 to May 7. During that week, our candidate will give two sermons and meet as many church members as possible in various meetings and gatherings. On May 7, our congregation will vote on whether to call the candidate as our minister. Remember that you must be a member of the church to vote. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining now!

Check out our Church Information Packet prepared for ministerial candidates at:


Umeeta chalice3

Leading the search is the Settled Minister Search Committee, whose members are Sam Beshers, co-chair; Sandy Hannum, co-chair; Jerry Carden; Kelly Halcom; Brian McDermott, Amanda Owings; and Umeeta Sadarangani.  You may contact the committee through any of its members.

Two of our main tasks are to get information and ideas from the congregation, and to keep you informed.  One important category of information is what aspects of ministry are of the highest priority to our congregation and how they relate to our goals for the near future.  The committee will use this information to give us an idea of what our next minister should be like.  The other kind of information we will need is about the current state of our church.  We will use this to put together an information packet that will tell prospective ministers about us, and that we hope will be attractive to them.

We will keep you, the congregation, informed through regular contributions to the Uniter, the E-news, displays in Fellowship Hall, and this web site.  Our search timeline is being displayed over the water fountains in Fellowship Hall, and will remain there for the rest of the year.

As we progress through the year and through the search, this section of our web site will expand to include much more information, and an update on current progress.  We hope you will find it useful.

Timeline for our search for a called minister diagrammed from the UUA settlement Handbook.