UCC Fitness Review of Rev. Susan Newman Moore

We continue to hold Rev. Susan in our prayers as she faces a fitness review investigation by her home denomination, the United Church of Christ. We’ve created this webpage to keep you informed of updates on that process as we learn of them. Check here to stay informed.

January 5, 2018, Letter to the Congregation

Dear All Souls,

We are writing with a brief update on the status of the United Church of Christ’s “fitness review” investigation into complaints received by the United Church of Christ (UCC) against Rev. Susan Moore.

As a reminder, Rev. Susan was ordained by the UCC, not the Unitarian Universalist Association, and therefore, the UCC holds ultimate authority over the verification of her ecclesiastic credentials. All Souls has agreed to cooperate with the UCC process because we think that it is the right thing to do and is in the best interest of Rev. Susan and our church.

In December, we were informed by our liaison to the UCC process, the Rev. Audrey Price, that there are delays to their process and they will adjust the end date for their investigation to sometime in early 2018. No exact date was given. We were disappointed to learn of the delay in the UCC’s process, as we know many of you are. We have reiterated to Rev. Price our belief that it is in the best interest of our congregation and Rev. Susan for this process to be concluded in a fair and timely manner.

If you have questions or concerns about the UCC process, we encourage you to contact Rev. Price directly, as she has made herself available to members of the All Souls congregation during this process. She can be reached at:

Rev. Audrey C. Price
xtremejoy@gmail.com
571-246-6533
(email is preferred)

You are also welcome to view our earlier communications about this process, at www.all-souls.org/ucc-review.

Finally, members of the Board will be available at a Listening Table in Pierce Hall this Sunday after both services.

The Board has extended Rev. Susan’s leave through the end of January. We ask that you please join us in continuing to keep Rev. Susan and the entire congregation in your prayers as we move through this difficult time.

Sincerely,
Thurman H. Rhodes, President, All Souls Board of Trustees
Robert M. Hardies, Senior Minister

November 9: An Update on the UCC Fitness Review Process

On the evening of Wednesday, November 1, over 200 congregants gathered in the sanctuary to listen to the United Church of Christ (UCC) Potomac Association Church and Ministry Chair, Rev. Audrey Price, walk us through the Fitness Review process being conducted for Rev. Susan.

As many of you know, Rev. Susan was ordained by the UCC, not the UUA, and therefore, the UCC holds ultimate authority over the verification of her ecclesiastic responsibilities. All Souls has agreed to cooperate with the UCC process because we think that it is the right thing to do and in the best interest of Rev. Susan and our church.

At the meeting, Rev. Price reiterated to us that the decision to proceed with a Fitness Review is not a presumption of guilt or even a validation of the complaints raised against Rev. Susan. Rather, it reflects the Committee on Church and Ministry’s judgment that, if the questions raised in the complaint were true, they would raise questions about a minister’s fitness for ministry.

Rev. Price also shared that the Fitness Review process is based on three UCC documents that guide the association and its ministers, and she asked that we share links to these documents with the entire congregation:

  1. Manual on Ministry -- Section 8
  2. Ordained Minister’s Code of Conduct
  3. Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers

Finally, Rev. Price informed us that the UCC hopes to complete the Fitness Review process by the end of the calendar year, and will share the results of its inquiry with the board and the congregation at that time. All Souls has granted Rev. Susan personal leave through the end of the calendar year so that she can attend to this process and care for herself during this difficult time.

Rev. Price also emphasized her role as the “support guide” for our congregation during this process. If you have any questions about the UCC process, she encourages anyone to contact her with questions or concerns. She can be reached at xtremejoy@gmail.com or 571-246-6533. Email is preferred.

November 8: Pastoral Care During Rev. Susan’s Leave

During Rev. Susan’s personal leave, Rev. Rebecca Parker will serve as the primary contact for pastoral care. All of the ministers—Rev. Rob Hardies, Rev. Rob Keithan, Rev. Rebecca Parker and Rev. Joanne Braxton—are available to provide pastoral care. Rev. Parker, though, will serve as the primary contact and can link you with the care that you need. You can reach Rev. Parker at rparker@allsouls.ws.

October 25, 2017, Letter to the Congregation

Dear All Souls,

We are writing at the request of the United Church of Christ (UCC) to inform you that last month the UCC received a written complaint against our Associate Minister, the Rev. Susan Newman Moore. Rev. Moore is an authorized minister in the UCC. We ask that you read this entire message and join us in holding Rev. Susan in your prayers.

The UCC followed its process and forwarded the complaint to the UCC’s Potomac Association Committee on Church and Ministry, which has oversight responsibility for authorized ministers within its geographic jurisdiction that includes the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Upon reviewing the written complaint, the UCC’s Committee on Church and Ministry entered into an ecclesial process and has determined that it is required to initiate a “Fitness Review” (a UCC term) to explore and investigate the questions raised in the complaint against Rev. Susan. That review will follow a confidential process that will include fact-finding and interviews of some All Souls church members.

It is important to understand that the decision to proceed with a Fitness Review is not a presumption of guilt. Rather, it reflects the Committee on Church and Ministry’s judgment that, if the questions raised in the complaint were true, they would raise questions about the minister’s fitness for ministry. The chair of the UCC’s committee is the Rev. Audrey Price. Last Thursday, October 19, the Rev. Price briefed the Board of Trustees on the UCC Fitness Review process.

It is standard UCC procedure that a congregation be made aware if one of its ministers is the subject of a Fitness Review. To that end, Rev. Price has asked to meet with the congregation in our sanctuary at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 1st. Rev. Price will outline the Fitness Review process, answer your questions about the process, and address any concerns you might have regarding the UCC’s ecclesial process.

Because the UCC’s process requires confidentiality, the UCC has not shared nor will it share with the leadership of All Souls the content of the written complaint, the identity of the person(s) making the complaint, or who might be interviewed during the process, and no information will be released or discussed during the process. The UCC’s Committee on Church and Ministry will notify the congregation of any action it will take as a result of the investigation. If you want to know more about the UCC ecclesial process we encourage you to attend the presentation on November 1 at 7:00 pm.

While Rev. Susan is not allowed to discuss the investigation or the complaint during the Fitness Review, we know this is a very difficult time for her. The Board has granted Rev. Susan a personal leave from October 31 through the end of the calendar year to attend fully to this matter.

We ask that you please join us in keeping her and the entire congregation in your prayers as we move through this difficult time.

In faith,

Chuck Dulaney, President, All Souls Board of Trustees
The Rev. Robert M. Hardies, Senior Minister

 

Contacting Rev. Susan

While Rev. Susan is on leave, we encourage you to contact her with messages of love and support. You can reach Rev. Susan at sueman3090@aol.com.

Other Questions?

Feel free to direct any other questions to Board President Chuck Dulaney (cndulaney1@gmail.com) or to other members of your Board of Trustees.