Ministerial Search and Transition
Welcome to the portal page for our church’s ministerial search beginning in 2022. More information will be posted on this page as the search continues, so please bookmark and visit often.
Updates From the MSC
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 2024. We have many steps to take before we get to that call, please see our FAQ section below for an in-depth explanation.
To find our next settled ministry, the All Souls Board of Trustees decided to follow the process recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Transitions office. Under this process, the Board created a Ministerial Search Committee, after gathering feedback from the congregation through phone calls and votes. The Board then charged the Committee (see FAQ below) with undertaking the search process.
Biographical Information for Members of the Search Committee
What is the work of the Ministerial Search Committee?
In a process over two years, the Ministerial Search Committee will gather the hopes and needs of the Congregation, represent the Congregation to potential applicants through the creation of a detailed search profile, and evaluate applicants, discerning the best match for the Congregation.
Members of the Ministerial Search Committee will gather feedback from the congregation and create a position description and church portfolio , narrowing down the candidates in January 2024 to several pre-candidates and interviewing them. A final candidate will be presented to the Congregation in April 2024.
How to contact the Ministerial Search Committee
There will be numerous ways and times to give input to the committee on your vision for our future ministerial team throughout the search process.
By phone: coming soon!
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do UUs find their settled ministers?
As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we are empowered to call our own ministers.
“Calling” a minister differs from hiring a staff person. The executive team hires staff. The congregation calls a minister. (Contracted ministers are hired, not called.) Calling, a multi-step process, involves discernment by the whole congregation and has spiritual aspects and rituals in line with our faith and values. A pivotal point is when the congregation’s members vote to call the ministerial leadership.
As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we work with the Unitarian Universalist Association to identify ministerial candidates. The UUA doesn’t assign ministers but does help congregations with their searches for clergy.
UU ministers first go through a fellowshipping process managed by the UUA, and then are ordained by a UU congregation. They usually belong to the UU Minister’s Association, and continue their development throughout their service as ministers.
The UUA has a Transitions Office, which is helping All Souls with the process of the search. The Transitions Office maintains a database of congregations that are searching for ministers, and ministers who are searching for clergy positions. In early 2024, the UUA Transitions Office will open up the availability of congregations and ministers so they can each identify ones in which they are interested.
In consultation with the congregation, the Board of Trustees identified and recruited a group of people to serve on the Search Committee. Then in June of 2022 the congregation voted to elect the members who would do the search on behalf of the congregation. See the Search Committee members here.
You do! After the Search Committee goes through an extensive process of identifying and interviewing candidates, it presents their final candidate to the Board of Trustees. The congregation then has time to get to know the candidate and hear them speak from the pulpit before voting to call them.
You are crucial to this whole process!
This year, we will gather information about our church and community to create a “congregational record” so that candidates can get to know us. The better and fuller the picture a candidate has of us, the more likely they will know whether our church is a good fit for their ministry.
We will be having small group meetings in various locations to gather input from you, our members. We will do an electronic survey as well and get input from our staff members and ministers. We’ll use all of this information to create a profile of our congregation for searching ministers to see, like a “job posting.”
And of course, the members will vote whether to call the new ministerial leadership.
When the work of gathering information to create the search materials is completed, the search process will enter a private and confidential stage. This is a period in at the beginning of 2024 when the Search Committee will review applications, contact references, check out possible candidates, and interview them. All of this must be done in confidence, just like other job interviews, so members and staff cannot follow this part of the process. By honoring the confidentiality of the applicants, these candidates can share more openly with us, allowing us to decide whether their ministry is a good fit for our church based on the information we gather from you during the survey and meetings.
Sadly, no. Sometimes the right candidate cannot be found or the congregation decides not to call the candidate. This is unusual, but it happens.
We will all be disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. We are a strong congregation! In that case we would go back into search again.
The Committee needs to work behind the scenes during the winter and spring of 2023-24, as we are holding confidentiality to protect the process and potential candidates. By the end of April 2024 we hope to have found a ministerial candidate (or candidates) to introduce to you; then the process will return to a transparent and public stage. We’ll host a “Candidating Week” so you can meet, get to know, and vote on our candidate. Settled ministers can be “called” only after a majority of congregational members have voted to call them. (Keep in mind that most ministers see 90% as a successful “call” and will not agree to go with less.) New ministers usually start in July or August to prepare for the start of the new program year.
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.
Timeline of the Search Process
Focus groups and survey to gather feedback from congregation
The Search Committee posts position description and other information on confidential UUA website
Candidates apply for position at All Souls
The Search Committee interviews candidates and narrows down to one
Candidate visits All Souls during candidating week. At end of the week the congregation votes on whether to call the candidate to All Souls.