Minister Emeritus: Reverend Howell Lind

By:  Barb Richards, Caitlin Moore, Fred Cole, Jim Rowe


The title “Emeritus” is conferred when a person of distinction retires, or hands over a position, as a mark of distinguished service that is awarded to only a few. Given the meritorious service of Reverend Howell Lind as UUCB’s Consulting/Developmental Minister between 2008 and 2015, the authors, with support of the Board of Trustees, plan to introduce a resolution for vote at this year’s annual meeting to designate Reverend Howell Lind as Reverend Emeritus.


We believe that without Howell’s contribution, UUCB would not be in the healthy, thriving, and welcoming community that it is today. We would like your support in honoring him with the title of Reverend Emeritus of UUCB.


Search for a Settled Minister

In 2007 UUCB started a search for a Settled Minister. We only received four inquires as a result of our original request, and the interest level was tepid, at best. In October 2007, we were asked by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Department of Ministry if we would like to participate in a pilot program that they were planning to establish for a new category called a “Consulting Ministry.”  


The program was aimed at congregations, like UUCB who had had uneven history with their past ministers/ministries. The problem to be addressed was with those churches that had not experienced a completed “Arc” of ministerial service. “Arc” being defined as: loving the person at the beginning, through the middle, and at the end of their tenures.  


The unique feature of this concept, was that Consulting Ministers were not “called” in the traditional sense — rather they were to be “hired”, under a 5-year contract, responsible to the governing board, and given a specific set of goals to be achieved, whether or not, the entire congregation approved. The contract could be terminated, at any time for cause, but the church remained responsible for the full terms of the agreement.


The Search Committee recommended that UUCB participate in the program. The Board agreed, and called a Special Congregational Meeting, where the “pros and cons” of the idea were presented, and thoroughly discussed.  


The congregation agreed to move forward – instructing the Board to develop the required set of goals for negotiation — and instructing the Search Committee to find a suitable candidate. Candidates for this position were “hand picked” by the UUA Department of Ministry in order to give this new idea its best chance of success. Our selection was the Rev. Howell K. Lind!


In that first year (2008) only four Consulting Ministries, were created, across the country. Of those original four, only UUCB’s — led by Rev. Howell Lind — survived into its third year! We are still the model that the UUA provides to other congregations seeking future success. We proved that the concepts of Developmental Ministry (not sure when the name changed) really works; and also that it requires the participation and commitment of the entire community.


Accomplishments as Consulting Minister

Unlike a “Settled Minister”, the “Consulting Minister” is hired by the Board of Trustees and had specific goals and objectives: 1) growth; 2) financial stability; 3) church community; 4) social justice & responsibility; 5) lifespan religious education. During his tenure, not only did Reverend Lind meet those goals, but he re-built a strong foundation that allows us to flourish upon today. Some of the many things that occurred during Reverend Lind’s tenure with UUCB include:


  • Starting the process of updating our governance procedures towards defining more clearly the leadership roles.


  • Established financial security and increased our giving by establishing new concepts for generosity.


  • Changed the Nominating Committee to the Leadership Development Committee focused on identifying and supporting the congregations lay leaders.


  • Insisted that all existing Policy Manual materials be documented, reviewed and updated to current practice.


  • Established UUCB as a “teaching congregation” and supported three Intern Ministers and one Resident Minister during his tenure (including mentoring our current Reverend Kelly Dignan as our 2nd Intern).


  • Brought forth an amazing growth in our membership, especially among the young adult population! These people are now an important, contributing part of UUCB.


  • Actively encouraged improvements to the outward appearance of our facility–led creation of the Emerson space, numerous facility work days, and supported the playground project.


  • Moved the minister’s study to a central, and openly visible location


  • We were declared a Break Through Congregation – at the 2016 UUA General Assembly .


  • Initiated “Share-Our-Plate” as a further outreach into our larger community.


Building a Legacy

In 2015, UUCB determined that we were ready to seek a Settled Minister for our next phase of growth. We again began the process of finding a settled minister, this time with 21 qualified, and enthusiastic applicants for the position. From the impressive slate of candidates, we selected and unanimously voted Rev. Kelly Dignan to be our Minister.  Some disagreed with Howell’s style, but without him we would not be flourishing, as we are today and without the changes to our culture and Kelly would not have applied to be our Minister.


In 2018 Reverend Dignan continued the teaching ministry tradition as we support Christopher Watkins Lamb as our 4th ministerial intern.


We will be hosting several sessions over the coming months to answer questions you may have about the process and to share details of Howell’s tenure and accomplishments. These will be announced in the MWM and bulletin. The proposed resolution is listed below:


Proposed Resolution

Be it resolved that Rev. Howell K. Lind be designated as Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder for his meritorious service as our Consulting/Developmental Minister from 2008-2015.