As the end of the church year draws closer, many of us are saying goodbye to staff members who have been important in our church experience and in our lives.
Although it is important to remember that each story is different, All Souls is dealing with a lot of change. I look forward to opportunities to reflect with folks about what this period means and what this period asks of us, even as we experience these leavings.
But I know there are lots of questions about how we will move forward as well. “Will we hire new folks to fill these positions?” “What will happen to the music program?” “Will we have to downsize or reduce staffing like some other congregations?”
My goal today is to share the plans that we have in place.
The first and broadest thing to say is that All Souls will hire new leaders to fill the roles of those who are leaving. The success of the fundraising we did in the last year, means that All Souls will not be dealing with downsizing this year. And, with one exception, we will hire for the same positions you have known.
Here are some of the specifics:
In the Music Program, we have had searches underway for both a new Director for the Jubilee Singers and for the Associate Director position (Rochelle Rice’s role) for several months and we already have a number of qualified applicants. We have now posted the opening for the Director of Music and Arts (Jen’s role) and already have applicants.
All three of these hires will be for one year “Acting” positions. Folks hired as “Acting” can apply for the permanent positions at the end of the year.
We have convened an Advisory Music Search Committee to help with these searches. That group (Fred Katz, Elizabeth Zitelli, Taryn Wilgus Null and Amlan Mukherjee) met for the first time on Tuesday and is ready for some intense work. We hope to have commitments for all three of the open positions in our music ministry by July 1.
We are also gathering a Religious Education Advisory Search Committee to help identify a new Youth Coordinator. That position was just posted this week. The hope here is to have a permanent hire completed in time for fall programming, including Coming of Age and the Boston trip that was canceled this spring. We will also be searching for an Assistant for the Children’s RE program.
Lara Profitt will continue serving in her existing Acting role in the next church year. We will organize a search for a permanent Director of Religious Education in the fall. Lara will be welcome to apply.
And, Gary Penn’s move with his husband to Portland, ME is allowing some restructuring of his role. Rose Eaton will pick up the Membership functions, but not the data-base management that took much of Gary’s time. We are exploring sharing that “back office” work with other UU congregations. We have also provided a modest budget for social media communication, to take that off Rose’s plate.
Most of you know that the Board of Trustees had already asked me, and I had agreed, to continue as Transitional Minister next year. Managing these searches becomes the first priority for me both immediately and in the coming year.
This period will ask a lot of all of us. The energy required from those who serve on the Search Committees is clear. But welcoming and on-boarding new staff, helping them get to know the community and its traditions is work for us all.
All of these changes are challenging, but the success of our fundraising this year and the stream of new members and visitors into the All Souls community as regathering continues are very hopeful signs. The extent of engagement through the most recent difficult days is also a sign of commitment.
During times of transition like this, there are many needs to pay attention to. We are committed to keeping communication open as changes unfold in the coming months. We each have different and interconnected roles to play in this community. One way to be in direct dialogue with me and Traci is to join us on zoom on Tuesday, May 30 at 7:30 for a conversation facilitated by the Committee on Right Relations.