At our June 7 annual TRUU membership meeting, we will elect five people and one alternate to serve as a search committee to find and “call” a settled minister who will live in Carbondale, and who will serve our congregation for years to come. This will be TRUU’s first search for a “settled” minister, and the process is quite different from what we have done in finding contract ministers.
Our Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is looking for volunteers who want to serve on the Search Committee for the settled minister. The LDC will submit a slate of candidates to the Board for the June 7 meeting. If you are interested in serving on the Search Committee, please read all the following information to be sure you are willing to make this commitment. Then email your interest to LDC chair Chris Coyle at [email protected]. (Additional candidates may also be offered at the June 7 congregational meeting, if their desire is emailed to Chris Coyle or to President Sue Coyle at [email protected]) Below, you will find information about where we are in the process now and what’s involved in the process.
If you’re interested in serving on the Search Committee, any of the following experience would be helpful:
- Having worked on a hiring committee for any executive position
- Experience as a member, especially in a leadership position, of another UU congregation
- Having served as a leader in some capacity with TRUU
- Executive/administrative experience with a business or nonprofit
- Having served on a UU search committee in another church
Our Past – Contract Ministers
Robert Latham, Gretchen Haley, Amy Rowland and Stephen Papa have all served TRUU ably as contract ministers – ministers who agree to a one-year contract, and who have commuted from the Denver area two or more times a month to preach and minister to us. It typically takes a couple months to find a contract minister, and the contract can be offered either by the board of trustees or a search committee empowered by the board.
Our Future – Search for a Settled Minister
By contrast, a Search Committee that calls a settled (live-in) minister must be elected by a congregation’s membership, and the process takes at least a year. (Depending on the availability of candidates wanting to move to our community, it can take two years.) This kind of search draws from a national pool of ministerial candidates, and it follows an annual schedule that is coordinated with other UU churches and candidates. Clearly, the results of this committee’s work may have implications for TRUU’s success for many years to come.
The Search & Settlement Process
The Search Committee will operate with great confidentiality and with a specified budget, under rules established by the UUA, until a candidate is chosen to present to the Congregation and the Congregation accepts that person. This Search Committee will develop materials and background about TRUU that will be nationally circulated. They will survey the congregation about its needs and desires. It will review information from prospective candidates, winnow the pool, and meet prospective candidates. It will hear them preach. Finally, it will prepare a job offer and then bring a selected candidate to Carbondale for a candidate week. During that week, the congregation will meet the candidate, hear them preach and finally vote on whether to “call” the prospective minister. (Typically, a minister can only be called with a 90% or better congregational vote in favor of the candidate. Also the candidate may want such a high approval to accept a call.)
After that vote, the Search Committee will coordinate the process of getting the settled minister to settle here in Carbondale.
What Happens this Next Year
The Board had hoped to have a minister living here in Carbondale starting next fall, and over the past few months, we have advertised a half- to three-quarter time position. We had one good candidate reply, but she backed out due to personal issues just prior to interviewing. We have had no other responses to our ad – perhaps not too surprising, since most job-seekers don’t want to move to a new town for a part-time job.
Since it’s not possible to call a settled minister in less than a year (due to the contracts that ministers have with other churches), we have two options for the 2015-16 church year: an “interim minister” or another contract minister. The Board is pursuing both options.
We have applied for an interim minister – who would live here and work ¾ time – but received no responses to the first round of application responses. (Again, not many people want to move to take a part-time job.) It’s possible that we may get a candidate in a subsequent round of candidating.
We are also looking at the pool of student ministers in Denver who are interested in a one-year, part-time contract ministry with us. We do have two good candidates for contract ministry and we are arranging interviews with both of them.
Whichever way we go for the 2015 church year, the Board of Trustees will ensure that we have a minister who will take care of TRUU’s needs while the Search Committee engages in a thorough search for a permanent, settled minister.
Search/Settlement Committee Tasks Will be Demanding!
The Search Committee’s job will be to find a minister who wants to work with TRUU’s leadership, move here in the summer or fall of 2016, and grow the congregation beginning with the 2016-17 church year.
The Search Committee will be embarking on a year-long task, and its members will need to commit to spending at least 5 hours per week on that work beginning in July of 2015. In the spring of 2016, that time commitment will probably double, and in April and May of 2016, as the candidate week and vote to call are arranged, it will be in the neighborhood of 15-20 hours per week. Search Committee members must be present in Carbondale during April, May and June of 2016. Once the minister is called in May or June of next year, the job will be done and the Search Committee will be disbanded.