I’m not involved in the search process, and do not attend any Search Committee meetings, so I have the same information that the congregation at large has. This is, in fact, quite valuable to me. Just seeing a search from the viewpoint of a congregant is helpful to me as I look ahead to next year, when I’ll be in search as a ministerial candidate.
I see, for example, that the Boulder church has selected highly dedicated and skilled members to serve on the Search Committee, and has a high degree of trust that those members will represent the best interests of the church as a whole during the search process.
I see the engagement of the whole community through opportunities like the meetings with the Search Committee during the All-Church Retreat in August and the Searchlight Gatherings held in the fall.
I see people eager to join the church in time to be part of the important vote to call the new minister, whoever that person may be. I’m particularly pleased that some of our youth who are old enough to join are interested in doing so in time to be part of that vote. This speaks well of the engagement level of our youth, of their commitment to this church, and of this church’s inclusion of our younger folks in our congregational life.
I see the excitement in the congregation each time the Search Committee announces a new phase in the process, such as the February 13th letter and the February 15th chalice lighting talking about the pre-candidates in general terms and explaining the importance of confidentiality as UUCB moves into the final stages of this search.
As I see the Ministerial Search through your eyes, I’m also able to have conversations with Howell, not about UUCB’s search, but about the process in general, getting his insights into what it’s like from the other side: what I should expect when I’m a pre-candidate and then candidate somewhere a year from now.
While I trust that Howell would always have shared this kind of information with me, I wouldn’t have thought of the same kinds of questions to ask him if I hadn’t been so lucky as to serve this congregation during the year you are in search, instead of another year.
Some of you have been thinking, too, about the fact that I’ll be going through this process next year. Some of you have come up to me and talked about things you think I should include in my packet—places and times where you felt I was particularly strong, places you saw me shine. That’s another gift—both your sharing your observations with me, and your commitment to seeing me succeed even after I’m no longer here with you. That’s just one of the many ways that UUCB’s commitment to being a teaching church shows up. You don’t see teaching me as just Howell’s job, or the job of my intern committee, but of the church as a whole—just as the search process is guided by the Search Committee, but is in fact the work of the whole congregation.
I look forward to celebrating with UUCB once your Search Committee announces their candidate to present to the congregation!