Assistant Minister Update

The search for a new Assistant Minister is under way! Here is the timeline for the process as shared in Sunday January 3rd’s forums:

  • Congregational Input / Conversation – Sunday January 3rd
  • Job Description Finalized and Posted – Week of January 4th 
  • Selection Committee (3 People) Appointed by the Board – Week of January 25th at latest
  • Application Deadline January 31st
  • Review Applications and Schedule First Interviews (with Gretchen) – Week of February 1st 
  • Phone Interviews with Gretchen – Week of February 8th 
  • Congregational update – 2nd Sunday in February
  • Second Interviews with Committee – Week of February 15th and February 22nd
  • Narrowed down to 2 Candidates and Inform Candidates – Week of March 7th
  • Check References, Follow Up Interviews – Week of March 14th
  • Reach decisions – Week of March 28th
  • Make Offer – Week of April 7th
  • If no match is found in this round, we will re-post and seek additional applications, knowing that the Ministerial Fellowship Committee sees new candidates in early April, so some will be looking for a job in April, and generally we would follow the same time frame but just in the month of April/May instead of February/March.

Additionally, we shared the following information:

  • Board Representative: Until there is an official Selection Committee Appointed, Scott Denning, Treasurer Elect is serving as the Board Liasion for this process.  You can reach Scott at scott.denning@colostate.edu.
  • Contract Terms:  Full time position, paid at UUA Fair Compensation rates for Geo Index 3, >550 Members, 1 year contract with intent of a two year hire; moving expenses will be offered; contract – hired, not called
  • Reports to: Senior Minister.
  • General portfolio to include: Pastoral Care, Membership, Adult Faith Formation, and Small Groups with critical role in Worship and as a part of the overall team.

Those in attendance had a number of good questions and input into the process, including:

Q: Who will apply, what are their reasons for applying?   A: Some apply for Asst Minister to gain “stepping stone” experience toward a career as a Senior Minister, others see the job as an end in itself.  Some want to stay for the short term, some will hope it renews indefinitely.

Q: How will you evaluate preaching? Will there be a use of a neutral pulpit?  A: As of now that is not clear.  We will see what the applicant pool is and then make decisions about the feasibility of setting up neutral pulpits or other ways of evaluating preaching.  Either way, we will prioritize some level of in-person contact during the process.

Q: What are the budget implications for this search? A: There was no budget set for this search, so we will have to work particularly frugally.

Q: How many applicants might be in the initial pool?  A: Very hard to tell up front.  Across the country, I’d imagine there are as many as 8-10 who would be considering applying.

Q: Will Gretchen take a sabbatical before she begins as Senior Minister as you had originally planned? A: No, just several 1-2 week breaks over the winter and spring.

Q: What are the financial implications of hiring an Assistant Minister? A: We’re in good shape. We currently support a full time Senior and Associate Minister, and we anticipate being able to support a Senior and Assistant Minister while paying the new person at UUA guidelines.

Q: Will all applicants be educated as UU ministers? What is the credentialing process? Will they be ordained? A: We will accept any applicants who have received preliminary fellowship.  (This is the process wherein the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee certifies all qualified applicants. UU ministers are ordained by a congregation. So, it may be that our candidate is fellowshipped but not yet ordained, in which case we may be able to do the ordaining.  Exciting opportunity!)

Q: Please compare and contrast this plan with when Gretchen was hired.  A: Gretchen was hired only ¾ time vs new hire will be full-time. Gretchen was hired on a 1-year contract but during the recruiting process there was an understanding that both sides hoped for a longer-term placement. The new contract will be for one year, renewable for a second year.  We may evaluate in the second year to extend the contract beyond that.

Finally, a number of people shared about their hopes for the assistant minister, and specifically what they meant when they talk about a desire for a “complement” to Gretchen.  Here are some of those notes:

 

  • Complementary as in alignment, not in the sense of opposite (especially not oppositional, which is a recipe for a divided congregation!)
  • Complementary should not denote deficiencies or insufficiency in one of the ministers.  Instead we might think of it as “companionable” or “collaborative”
  • Complementary not in the mathematical sense, but more in the culinary sense!
  • We need somebody who understands and shares Gretchen’s vision and matches her energy
  • We need someone who has a passion for a portfolio that complements Gretchen’s passions, is hard-working, and able to run programs effectively
  • We need someone who shares our values but brings new perspectives
  • We need someone who can be in sync with Gretchen, Eleanor, and Ryan, but also bring something new to the team
  • Perhaps someone with a scientific background to complement Gretchen’s background in arts and business. Perhaps somebody in a second career.
  • Gretchen’s “central call” is behind the pulpit, in stewardship, and executive leadership. We need to complement her with somebody who is truly called to pastoral care.
  • Need somebody with experience in and passion for great communication
  • Somebody who can share Gretchen’s effectiveness with communications technology. We need somebody adept and enthusiastic in this area.
  • Q: How will our ongoing transitions in governance, mission, policies, budget, facilities, etc. affect the new hire? A: As we transition, we need to work with somebody who embraces discovery, the creative process, and entrepreneurial engagement!
  • We need someone who will help us claim the story of who we already are, the impact of our ministries, and build on this success.

I took so much from these conversations, and most of all appreciated the spirit and energy of the conversation – it was filled with optimism, trust, and joy! This is a good sign for this process, and the best gift we can offer any potential applicant!

If you have questions not answered here, or would like to add your thoughts to the process, please send me an email – gretchen@foothillsuu.org.  I’m always happy to talk, and sincerely appreciate your feedback, questions and partnership in this process – and look forward to its next steps.

 

 

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