Our Interim Ministry – What is next? By Jennifer Powell, BOT president-elect

A little more than a year ago, the Board of Trustees met with our Mountain Desert District Executive, Nancy Bowen, read material available on the UUA website and printed material concerning the Interim Minister process.  The Board at that time chose to follow the recommended UUA guidelines for engaging a new Senior Minister.  That involved hiring an Interim for one or two years.  Two years of interim ministry is the recommended length of time.

One of the printed materials studied before we began the interim process last year is the book, “In the Interim: Strategies for interim ministers and congregations”.  Every chapter has been helpful to the leaders of our church as we navigate this period. Our current interim Rev. David Keyes wrote the chapter “Coming to terms with History.” Coming to terms with our own history is year one work for the interim period, and David’s expertise has been instrumental in this area.

I want to also share another notable chapter from “In the Interim”; ‘Following two different interim ministers’ written by Alison Miller. In this chapter she speaks of a congregation that had a settled minister for 23 years. (Sounds familiar right?) This congregation chose to work with two interim ministers over the two year interim period instead of just one. This is what she had to share about that experience:

“The two interims brought different styles, skills, passions, and insights to the congregation in all areas, not just worship. Interim ministry may be best served by the old adage, ‘Two heads are better than one.’ Two years and two ministers allowed for movement in many pivotal areas, including the staff team, worship, and religious education, governance, leadership…This was absolutely a key ingredient in allowing for a vibrant shared ministry to follow and to flourish.”

Our Foothills bylaws require that interim ministry be a single-year contract, renewable, of course, but indicative of a tendency to seriously consider two separate interim ministers.  As Rev. David Keyes has decided not to pursue a second year and his one year interim contract will end this summer, we will search for a second year interim minister this spring with a three person search committee headed by myself, your president elect to the Board. The Board has appointed me to select the remaining two interim search committee members. As many of you might suggest, I will be speaking to the nominating committee this week to assist me in finalizing the team.

Now, to make sure there is no confusion, I am speaking about a 3 person search committee for our interim ministry, not the search committee for our permanent settled senior minister. That search committee of 7 will be voted on at the upcoming congregational meeting this March 8th.

So, this is the path we are taking. The Board is excited to continue our work with David, and prepare for our next interim minister leadership to begin in August 2015. Foothills has already made great progress during the first six months of our interim ministry as David stated in last week’ s extra.

It is my honor to begin leading the search process for our second year interim senior minister. The process is basically the same as last year, intensive for a fairly short amount of time. Below is the schedule from the UUA we will be following to accomplish this:

  •  April 10 – Interim applications due from ministers
  • April 17 – Interim applications due from congregations
  • Round 1

o May 4 or 5 – congregations receive names of interested ministers

o May 15, noon Eastern time (10am Mountain time)  – congregations in round 1 may make an offer

  • Round 2

o May 18 or 19 – congregations without a match from round 1 receive names of interested ministers

o May 29, noon Eastern time – congregations in round 2 may make an offer

  • Round 3

o June 1 – congregations still without a match receive names of interested ministers

o Offers may be made at any time

If you have any questions regarding this process, please do not hesitate to find me at church on Sundays or you can email me at jennhawkpowell@gmail.com directly.

In faith, Jennifer Powell

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