April 2022 - A Vote for Our Future:

Ministerial Search and
Imagining Our Future

From April 3 through April 17, 2022, voting members of the church can vote on the culmination of the Imagining Our Future project as well as on who should be on the Ministerial Search Committee. Brief bios of people nominated for the Search Committee are available here. This page provides background information on those votes.

Schedule

On April 3, all voting members will receive a ballot by email, and the church will have a special service focused on our future. Following that service, congregants can discuss the final set of Church Goals, which will be up for a vote on the ballot:

  • April 3, after service, at church (in the Library)
  • April 7 at 7pm via Zoom
  • April 10, after service, at church (in the Library)

Votes are due by April 17, and members can vote anytime between April 3 and April 17.

Imagining Our Future: New Church Goals and Affirming Our Mission

What is our mission?

Our mission statement is a description of our overarching purpose—the difference we are here to make in this world. In 2002, the Congregation adopted the mission statement that currently lives in our bylaws: that our purpose is “to create a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking community that transforms ourselves and our world into one great family of all souls.”

Twenty years later, this mission statement still seems to be a largely accurate description of our purpose. The Board therefore is asking the Congregation whether they would feel comfortable affirming that statement, with the addition of the underlined word: our purpose is “to create a diverse, spirit-growing, justice-seeking Beloved Community that transforms ourselves and our world into one great family of all souls.”

If the vote results show the Congregation is comfortable affirming this, the Board will ask the Congregation to formally affirm that statement in our bylaws at June’s annual meeting.

What are Church Goals?

Church Goals are nested within the larger mission, and they describe what we will work towards during the next five or so years. During those years, they center our promises to each other, our programs, our staffing, and our budget.

This fall, the Board ran a major project called Imagining Our Future to listen to Congregants’ dreams for the future of All Souls, so that we could update our Church Goals, which were over ten years old. You can read about that project here.

As part of the project, the Board hosted dozens of workshops, and over 300 people participated, including one out of every three voting members. The participants were demographically representative of the church. The Board received over 1,200 pieces of data from the workshops—about people’s wishes for our future and about what inspired people to join the church. Over the winter, the Board analyzed this data, met for a retreat to discuss it, and put together a set of draft Church Goals. The Board held discussion sessions and solicited comments on those drafts, and modified them based on the feedback we heard.

What Church Goals are we being asked to affirm on the ballot?

On the ballot, the Board asks the Congregation to affirm the following set of Church Goals:

The people of All Souls Church will use our time, talent, and treasure to:

  1. Become a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-generational spiritual community that is grounded in authentic relationships, trust, and belonging.
  2. Welcome all people of good will with radical hospitality and inclusion.
  3. Deepen our spiritual lives through learning and creative expression.
  4. Act accountably to dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
  5. Connect with each other and our neighbors in new ways and in a well-maintained historic building.
  6. Serve the needs of those in our city in partnership with local organizations.
  7. Love and care for one another across the lifespan in times of joy, sorrow, and transition.

How can I discuss the Church Goals that we’ll be voting on in more detail?

The Goals will be introduced to everyone at the church’s April 3 Sunday morning service. During the two-week voting period, all church members are invited to meetings on April 3, 7, and 10 to discuss how we might live out these Church Goals. At these sessions, the Board will outline the Church Goals, what they will practically mean for the church, and provide time to discuss and reflect on them, so that you can cast an informed vote.

Ministerial Search Committee

How does All Souls find someone to call as a minister?

Under our bylaws, the Congregation itself calls ministers, and the vote to call the next settled ministry at All Souls will happen in the spring of 2023. We have many steps to take before we get to that call.

To find our next settled ministry, the Board decided to follow the process recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Under this process, the Board creates a Ministerial Search Committee, which will include approximately seven voting members of the church, and which is independent of and accountable to the Board.

Who will serve on the Search Committee and how are they picked?

The Board is using the UUA’s recommended process to find congregants to serve on the Search Committee.

The first step in that process was contacting every member of the church. During February and March 2022, lay leaders contacted every household with a church member to ask them who they trust to be on a Ministerial Search Committee. The Board received over 650 nominations for more than 200 different individuals.

The Board contacted people who had been nominated many times to ask them if they would be interested in serving on a Ministerial Search Committee. The Congregation is now receiving a ballot that has the names of people who were nominated many times and are willing to serve.

After the Congregation votes, the Board will review the results of the vote to make sure it represents the Congregation, and then create the Ministerial Search Committee and announce its membership in late April.

Does this mean that not everyone on the ballot will be on the Search Committee?

Everyone on the ballot appears on the ballot because they are deeply and broadly trusted by the Congregation, and because they have worked to advance the mission of this church. We are a stronger community because of them, and any of them would be well suited to serve on a Search Committee.

At the same time, not everyone on the ballot will end up on the Ministerial Search Committee. The Board chose to follow the UUA’s recommended process for creating this committee, and that process includes allowing the Congregation to democratically provide input about who should be on the Search Committee.

How can I learn more about people who are on the ballot?

Bios for everyone on the ballot are available here.

What are the duties of a Ministerial Search Committee member, and what is the time commitment?

In a nearly year-long process, the Ministerial Search Committee gathers the hopes and needs of the Congregation, represents the Congregation to potential applicants through the creation of a detailed search profile, and evaluates applicants, discerning the best match for the Congregation.

Members of the Ministerial Search Committee will need to have availability for a retreat over the summer following the April 2022 election, considerable availability from September-November 2022 for the work of hearing from the Congregation (~2-3 hours a week), and significant availability in January 2023 to narrow down the list of applicants to pre-candidates (perhaps 5 or more hours a week, depending on the number of applicants). Most of the summer of 2022 and the following late winter to early spring are slower in pace, and most search committees can take December 2022 off entirely.

How will the Board charge the Ministerial Search Committee?

The Board is giving the Search Committee the following charge:

Charge to the Ministerial Search Committee

The All Souls Board of Trustees creates a Ministerial Search Committee to find the best minister or ministers for All Souls. Members of the Search Committee will:

  • Recognize that they hold a sacred trust for the Congregation to find our next ministry;
  • Listen to and learn from the Congregation as it shares its hopes and concerns for the next ministry;
  • Represent the whole Congregation and put aside any personal agenda in choosing the best ministry match for our church;
  • Promote the ministry opportunity with enthusiasm for our strengths and candor about our challenges;
  • Discuss with potential candidates our congregationally-adopted Church Goals;
  • Acknowledge that All Souls is in a moment of transformation, and thoughtfully pursue that transformation;
  • Commit to understanding the impact of the 8th Principle on their work;
  • Follow or carefully modify the recommended processes and covenant of our Association for a search;
  • Seek appropriate advice and input from the Board and Executive Team, especially on issues related to the structure of the Executive Team;
  • Include the Executive Director in the Search Committee Retreat and in the formation of the Search Committee’s covenant, which should cover her role in the search process, so that potential candidates understand and will succeed in our co-equal Executive Team;
  • Commit to an inclusive search process, recognizing the unique gifts and identities of ministers and the members of the Search Committee;
  • Fully and fairly consider all applicants; and
  • Be transparent with the Congregation and leadership throughout the search process about the parts of their work which are not confidential.

What’s the Executive Director’s role on the Ministerial Search Committee?

When the Board created the Interim Minister Search Committee in 2020 that found Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, the Board selected Executive Director Traci Hughes-Trotter as one of the members of that committee, and her presence was valuable, as the church lived into a new model of collaborative leadership.

While it’s important to continue to include the Executive Director in a search, it is not practical for her to be a full member of the Ministerial Search Committee. Instead, she’ll be an ex officio member, and she will attend the Search Committee’s initial retreat, be a part of their covenant, work with the committee on the details of the Congregational Record and participate in final interviews. This will allow the Ministerial Search Committee and Executive Director to educate applicants about the co-equal model of leadership that has allowed us to model collaboration from the top, and it will allow interested candidates to get to know the person they will lead the church with. The Board, Executive Director, Rev. Rolenz, and Rev. Sinkford all support this level of inclusion.

Who will apply to our church?

Interested ministers may apply through the UUA, and we expect to receive many applications. The Ministerial Search Committee will likely receive applications from solo ministers as well as from co-ministers, whether partnered or unpartnered. It is the charge and job of the Search Committee to look for the best ministry match for All Souls and to carefully consider each of these applicants.

How can I learn more about the search?

The Board held informational sessions in early March to outline the search process and talk about the duties of the Ministerial Search Committee. You can view the slides from those sessions here.

Once created, the Ministerial Search Committee will have the responsibility for educating the Congregation about the search and including them in it.