There were a number of ways that many of you helped the search committee in their process of preparing the Congregational Record for the UUA, and the ministerial packet which will be shared with interested candidates.
The individual survey design was patterned after a template suggested by the UUA. We modified it to fit the needs of our congregation. The survey is lengthy at 60 questions, but most respondents report that it is a great opportunity to reflect on how they truly feel about what qualities they’d like to see in a minister and the upcoming ministry. As of October 5th, 166 persons had taken the time to provide us their thoughtful feedback. The results were compiled and are part of the ministerial packet to be provided to interested candidates. An informational session for congregants is planned for Sunday, Dec. 4th at Noon in the Children's Chapel.
Prior to the small group meetings the search committee conducted a summer worship service on July 10. In that service we test marketed the two questions intended for the small group cottage meetings. 87 persons participated in that initial cottage meeting ‘practice session.’ The worship attendees broke into 6 small groups, each led by a member of the search committee. Those comments have all been summarized into an overview report which is part of our ministerial packet.
Fourteen small group cottage meetings were scheduled during August and September with 11 being held. The largest was 15 and the smallest with 3 attendees. Total participation was 92 persons. A summary of all the issues discussed in the cottage meetings was compiled which went into our Congregational Record, will be available to our ministerial candidates as well as to members.
Summary of the event coming soon!
Guest speakers Joann Dale and Michael Takada will share their powerful stories and will help us examine ways to be totally inclusive in our consideration of ministerial candidates.
It is important that congregations go into the search process with an open mind, and without a preconceived idea of the minister they want (young woman, definitely not a white male, etc.) These thoughts are limiting. If we are going to find our best fit, we need to look at every individual candidate who is available to us in all the wonderfully diverse forms that are possible!
UU ministers who identify as people of color, Latina/Latino/Hispanic, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, or as people with disabilities often have a more difficult time in the ministerial search process because of unconscious congregational biases.
The two workshop leaders themselves represent some of the diversity we seek. Beyond Categorical Thinking will help us eliminate divisive dynamics that prevent us from making our best choice together.
Lunch will be served! So that we can plan numbers, please sign up if you plan to attend, OR send an e-mail to email@example.com
Child care will be provided, along with a lunch for the children.
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.