March 27, 2019
Dear Members and Friends of UUCB,
Our beloved minister, Rev. Kelly Dignan, recently announced that she will be departing from UUCB to follow her calling to offer pastoral care within the community. The Board accepted her resignation with sadness and resolve: sadness because the bond between a minister and her congregation is special, and Kelly in particular has many gifts and has touched many hearts at UUCB. We understand and support her decision, and yet we are each grieving her departure in our own way.
Resolve because we believe in UUCB and its mission, and we are confident the Church will continue to thrive long after Kelly’s departure. Per our bylaws, the congregation will vote at a Congregational Meeting on March 31 at 12:15 p.m regarding whether to seek an Interim Minister. If the Congregation votes to seek an Interim Minister, the Board is responsible for establishing the selection process.
The Board, Rev. Kelly, and the regional and national offices of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) strongly support seeking an Interim Minister to help us move forward with our mission and prepare UUCB for calling our next settled minister. The UUA has established a process for ministerial searches based on years of experience working with UU churches across the country. When a settled minister like Rev. Kelly leaves a church, the UUA strongly recommends that churches hire an experienced and accredited Interim Minister. The UUA further recommends that the Interim stay for two years, after which the church will call a settled minister.
The two-year time allows the congregations time to process the minister’s departure, to work through their grief, and to address any residual organizational issues of the previous ministry. In addition, churches evolve over time, and before a new settled minister is called, often churches re-evaluate their mission and vision for the future, and determine the most important attributes they are seeking in a new settled minister. Statistically, the UUA has found that congregations engaging at least a 24 month interim ministry period have a much greater success rate (90%) at calling a minister following their interim period than congregations doing only a single year of interim ministry (56%). Furthermore, nearly all interim ministers will only consider two-year terms. In order to attract the best interim ministerial candidates to our church, we need to offer a two-year term.
The UUA has established a tight timeframe for UU churches that are seeking an Interim Minister, and UUCB will be competing against other churches for the best candidates. Because of this timeframe, the Board has begun preparing for a search for an interim minister. Members of the Board have started to create the Congregational Record, which potential candidates will review to determine their interest. The Congregational Record is due to the UUA on April 4. In addition, the Board has appointed five highly-qualified UUCB members to an Interim Search Committee: Pam Leland, Cole Hart, Dan Thomas, Jennifer Skiendzielewski, and Caitlin Moore.
Assuming a search is initiated, the Interim Search Committee will receive the names of interested candidates from the UUA on April 29 and will start interviews at that time.
UUCB is a strong, healthy and resourceful congregation, and we will no doubt attract excellent interim ministerial candidates. All transitions are disruptive to some extent. We on the Board are committed to minimizing that disruption as much as we can, to navigating the search process with integrity and clarity, and to communicating clearly with you all the way. Please reach out to any of us if you have questions or concerns. We’re all in this together, and we will be even stronger for it!
Your Board of Trustees (Toni, David, Diana, Will, Laura, Burton and Chris)