As you are aware, Rev. Hardies will complete his 19-year ministry at All Souls at the end of June. We hope that you will participate in the opportunities that are being planned to honor and celebrate Rob’s ministry among us.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) recommends that congregations hire an interim minister to help them transition from one settled ministry to another. Interim ministers serve on a temporary, contract basis. The Board decided to pursue hiring an interim minister to allow the church to have this transitional time period, after Rev. Hardies’ long tenure, and we expect that our interim minister will serve for two years. The UUA has a well-established process for seeking an interim minister. We are following that process which includes timelines for interviewing and hiring. After the interim minister’s temporary ministry, the Board expects to replace the minister with a settled minister or ministers called by the congregation itself.
We want to inform you that, as recommended by the UUA, the Board of Trustees has recently formed an Interim Minister Search Committee to look for an interim minister. We are writing to update you on the Committee’s progress.
The Committee has six members—Esther Strongman (chair), Tom Buck, Paula Cole Jones, Neil Manzullo, Bill Rice, and Cathy Tortorici—and is composed equally of congregants who are members of the Board of Trustees and congregants who are not Board members. Rev. Rob Keithan and Executive Director Traci Hughes are also assisting the Committee in this search.
Recently, the Committee submitted to the UUA a packet of information known as the “Congregational Record.” This packet is available to prospective ministers and describes our church and the available position. Our church is one of the oldest and largest in the UUA, and this packet describes our rich history, as well as the significant changes that the church has made and undergone throughout Rev. Hardies’ ministry and over the past two years.
Prospective interim ministers may now submit an application to the UUA for the position at our church, and in early May the Committee will receive the list of applicants and select ministers to interview. We expect to receive many applications. During the first few weeks of May, the Committee will interview applicants, and plans to include the executive director in that interview process, because she will need to work with the new minister to establish a strong collaborative working relationship. During a typical interim minister search, these interviews are conducted remotely, such as via videoconference. The Committee plans to use these remote methods of interviewing because of safety concerns related to the coronavirus. The UUA does not expect the coronavirus to impact the interim minister hiring process.
The UUA expects hiring offers to be extended to selected candidates by May 20, and we hope to have signed a contract with a minister by mid-June. The interim minister will likely begin with the church in August 2020.
The pool of potential interim ministers is typically composed of ministers with a great deal of experience shepherding churches through transitions. In our search, we are specifically looking for an interim minister who will help the church continue to grow as we integrate the 8th Principle into all aspects of church life.
If questions remain, please do not hesitate to reach out to the members of the Committee.
The Board of Trustees and Interim Minister Search Committee
Dear All Souls,
I am writing to let you know that after nineteen years as your senior minister, I have decided to step down from my position in June. My last Sunday in the pulpit will be June 7, 2020.
Friends, I am so grateful to be your minister. For nearly two decades, I have felt deeply honored to be invited into your lives, to share in your joys and sorrows, and to accompany you through so many significant life transitions. The hardest part about leaving All Souls will be saying goodbye to all of you.
I’m not leaving All Souls for another church, or because I’m unhappy being your minister. I love being your minister! I love worshipping with you on Sundays. I love praying and studying with you. I love marching with you in the streets. I love coming to work every day with our talented and committed staff.
I’m leaving because, after nearly two decades of leadership, I feel a deep need for a period of rest, renewal and discernment about where my vocation will lead in the future. I also believe that All Souls will be well served by new leadership as the congregation enters its third century of ministry.
I am announcing my decision to leave early in the church year in order to give the congregation and its leadership ample time to make thoughtful decisions about All Souls’ future.
This Sunday in worship, I’ll talk some more about my decision to leave. In the coming weeks, the Board will share with you a road map for ministerial transition. The Unitarian Universalist Association is prepared to support All Souls through this transition.
In the meantime, I am very much committed to being your pastor through June, and am excited for what lies ahead this year: from celebrating the holidays, to hosting the Revolutionary Love Conference in April, to honoring all we’ve accomplished together and saying “goodbye” as June 7 draws near.
In closing, I want to say that I believe in this church with all my heart, and in its mission to build the Beloved Community.
I have great faith in All Souls’ future, and I have great faith in all of you.
Serving you as your minister has been, and remains, one of the great gifts of my life.
With deep love and gratitude,