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Category Archives: Ministerial Search

A Final Thank You from the Search Committee

Kelly_and_MSCIt’s official: On Sunday, May 3, the members of UUCB voted to call Rev. Kelly Groves Dignan as our Settled Minister…and she accepted our call! Her ministry with us will begin on Sunday, August 16, several weeks after she finishes her current contract with the UU Church of Greeley.

This was the hoped-for and joyous end to our Candidate Week, in which Rev. Dignan attended 30 (thirty!) events including an all-church potluck and a dessert open house, small social gatherings, and many, many meetings with the affinity groups, councils and committees of our congregation. As she said on Sunday morning, the positive energy of our match was palpable in every room!

All seven of us on the Search Committee would like to thank you, the members and friends of UUCB, for your constant support over this past year.

Last spring you gave us your unanimous endorsement by electing us to act on your behalf in seeking out a new minister to serve our church. In the fall, 104 of you attended Searchlight Gatherings and 159 of you completed our Search Survey to help us understand what to look for in our candidates. Numerous staff and committee members gave input as we created our Search website (“packet”) to tell the story of our church to prospective ministers. And so, so many of you participated in Candidate Week by hosting meetings, planning potlucks and showing up to meet Rev. Dignan and her husband Pete.

Above all, we are grateful for the patient understanding and encouragement you showed us as friends, family, and especially spouses and partners, when we kept saying: “I can’t…I have Search Committee!”

We could not have done it without you.

Although the Search Process is now complete, there is plenty of work ahead for all of us as we prepare for the transition to Rev. Dignan’s ministry and our shared future at UUCB. You can learn more about Rev. Dignan and the process that got us here at our Search website:

Thank you for joining the Search Committee on this journey. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Yours in faith,

The UUCB 2014-2015 Ministerial Search Committee

Jim Rowe (chair), Sharon Belew, Ted Burnham, Jason English, Jenny Fitt-Peaster, Diana Maiden, Barb Richards

Candidate Week Is Here!

Kelly April 2015smallThe word has gone out from the pulpit, by paper, by email, and over the Internet and social media…surely you’ve heard by now that the Reverend Kelly Dignan will be UUCB’s Ministerial Candidate!

The Ministerial Search Committee spent nine months preparing and discerning to make this decision. And now it is up to the congregation to decide to extend a call to ministry and make Rev. Dignan our Settled Minister. Please participate in the many events during Candidate Week (Apr 25 – May 3), and don’t forget to show up and vote at the Special Congregational Meeting on May 3.

Candidate Week is the heart of the congregation’s discernment. There will be many opportunities for you to meet Rev. Dignan and her husband Pete, and for her to meet you and learn about the many important affinity groups, committees and ministries that make up the life of our congregation. We have a very full schedule for the week, which kicks off with an All-Church All-Ages Meet Your Ministerial Candidate Potluck at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.

Please plan to attend one or more of the following social events, which are open to all in the UUCB community:

Saturday, April 25

  • 6:00 p.m.               All-Church All-Ages Potluck – UUCB Sky Room

Sunday, April 26

  •  10:30 a.m.             Church service led by Rev. Dignan
  •  12:15 – 1:00 p.m.   New to UUCB –  UUCB Emerson Room, For those who joined our church in the last 3 years

Monday, April 27

  •  10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Small group chat –  UUCB Listening Rm, For those who prefer smaller social settings; scones will be provided
  •  6:00 p.m.               Wine and Spirit (ages 30-50), Gen & Jason’s Home, 3249 Big Horn St., Boulder (entrance on Star Lane)

Tuesday, April 28

  •  10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Frasier Meadows – 350 Ponca Pl., Boulder

Wednesday, April 29

  •  8:00 – 9:00 a.m.     Small group chat –  UUCB Listening Rm, For those who prefer smaller social settings; coffee & donuts will be provided

Thursday, April 30

  •  11:30 – 1:00 p.m.   Wise Elder Luncheon – UUCB Sky Room

Friday, May 1

  •  5:30 – 6:30 p.m.     Small group chat – UUCB Listening Rm, For those who prefer smaller social settings; the conversation will focus on Social Change topics.
  •  6:30 p.m                Young Adults Potluck (ages 18-35) – UUCB Sky Room

Saturday, May 2

  •  9:00 – 10:30 a.m.   Children & Families Breakfast – UUCB Sky Room
  •  5:00 – 6:00 p.m.     Teen Youth Group – Piwonka-Corle Home, 2100 Mesa Dr., Boulder
  •  7:30 – 9:30 p.m.     Dessert Open House – UUCB Sky Room

Sunday, May 3

  •  10:30 a.m.             Church service led by Rev. Dignan
  •  12:00 p.m.             Special Congregational Meeting  & Vote to extend call to ministry

Note: Many committees and ministry teams have also scheduled meetings with Rev. Dignan. Check the full Candidate Week Schedule or ask your committee chair for details.

Candidate Week will culminate with a Special Congregational Meeting at noon on Sunday, May 3, immediately after Rev. Dignan’s second morning in our pulpit. The sole item of  business will be the congregation’s opportunity to call Rev. Dignan as UUCB’s settled minister. The bar for this vote is high: Ministers are advised to accept a call only if the vote is at least 95 percent in favor. Your Ministerial Search Committee is confident that this bar will be reached or exceeded, but it is even more important for you to feel that way. Please participate in this important process by getting to know Rev. Dignan during Candidate Week and voting at the May 3 meeting. Our bylaws do not allow for proxy or absentee votes, so please plan to attend in person.

For more information about Candidate Week, Rev. Dignan, or the Search process, please visit our Ministerial Search Committee website:

We look forward to joining with you and Rev. Kelly Dignan during a thoughtful and joyous Candidate Week, as this church moves forward in loving and covenantal partnership toward a settled ministry.

Yours in faith,  The UUCB 2014-2015 Ministerial Search Committee

Jim Rowe (chair), Sharon Belew, Ted Burnham, Jason English, Jenny Fitt-Peaster, Diana Maiden, Barb Richards;  April 5, 2015

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Ministerial Search

Why You Will Meet One (And Only One) Ministerial Candidate

By the time you read this, the Ministerial Search Committee will have met with and interviewed our pre­candidates – the “short list” of incredibly qualified ministers we’ve chosen for thorough review. We are now in the most critical phase of our discernment: deciding which one of these wonderful ministers would be the best match with UUCB as our next settled minister.

Last month we reflected on the need for confidentiality in the Search process, both to protect our pre­candidates’ relationships with their current congregations and to avoid a situation where UUCB members might start to form premature attachments. We thank you for respecting that need. This month, we’ll explain the next steps ­­ beginning with why the Search Committee will present one (and only one) Ministerial Candidate.

Calling a minister is not like electing a politician.

Even though we refer to potential ministers as “candidates” and the congregation chooses a minister by voting, extending a call to ministry is a more sacred and communal process than secular elections.

In politics (for better or for worse), differences of opinion are resolved through majority vote ­­ and as you well know, the results often cause deep divisions and even resentment. The fact that members of both parties have what they believe to be the community’s best interests at heart is usually lost in an “Us­versus­Them” mentality that’s all about “winning”.

In Unitarian Universalist congregations, we devote ourselves both to the democratic process and to the inherent worth, dignity, well­being, and spiritual growth of our fellow members. We begin by saying “We are all in this together”, and we resolve our differences through the mutual promises of covenant and the invitation to remain in beloved community with one another.

Asking a congregation to choose between two candidates would be guaranteed to create division. Even if both choices were equally capable and equally well-matched with the congregation, some members would be left feeling like “our” candidate had “lost”, while “their” candidate had “won”.

Presenting one (and only one) Ministerial Candidate, chosen as the best match for UUCB through a process of deep discernment by an elected committee, allows this congregation to act in unity. Differences of opinion about our final candidate will naturally arise, and will be discussed in beloved and covenantal community ­­ recognizing that a minister serves the entire congregation. And when we vote, we will do so not along party lines, but as individuals each guided by our own conscience to do what we believe is best for all.

Whether we then vote to extend the call to ministry or not, there will be no “them”, no “losers”. There will be only “us”, moving forward together in partnership with a new minister, or moving forward together to find a different path for ministry at UUCB.

Ministers look for unanimity.

Ministers are advised to decline a call to ministry if less than 95 percent of the congregation votes in favor. That’s a high bar! And for good reason: Experience has shown that it is not enough to find a good or even very good fit between a minister and a congregation. Finding the best fit, while difficult, is a prerequisite for a successful ministry.

Luckily, your Search Committee has taken on the tricky task of deciding which of our wonderful pre­candidates is the best fit for ministry at UUCB ­­ and the truth is, there may be two or more who are equal as best matches in different ways. The hardest part of our discernment may be deciding which of two equally attractive candidates to prioritize.

At the same time, our pre­candidates are looking for their own “best fit” congregation, because a minister may only accept final candidacy with one church. When we present a final Ministerial Candidate, you will know that person has this committee’s unanimous and unambiguous endorsement, and that the candidate has made an unambiguous commitment to seek ministry at UUCB.

Then you, the congregation, will have a relatively easy choice: Whether to call one amazing minister to serve our church. And when you meet our final candidate, you should be so impressed ­­ so totally blown away ­­ that there’s hardly any need for debate! If we do our job well, it should be obvious to everyone that the Ministerial Candidate is the best possible fit for UUCB.

We expect to announce our final Ministerial Candidate on Sunday, April 5.

Once the Search Committee decides on our “best fit” pre­candidate, we will make an official Offer of Candidacy ­­ which, per UUA guidelines, we cannot do until April 2. If the candidate accepts our offer, the Search Committee should be able to bring you the good news on April 5. At that time we will also start finalizing the details of Candidating Week, which will take place from Saturday, April 25 through Sunday, May 3. The week will include services led by the Ministerial Candidate on two consecutive Sundays, many opportunities for UUCB members and the candidate to meet and get to know one another during the week between, and a special Congregational Meeting after the second Sunday service to vote on whether we will extend a call to ministry. Our bylaws do not allow proxy or absentee votes, so please plan to attend in person on May 3! s you can see, these final days of the Search Committee’s discernment are like a calm pause before the whirlwind finale! As always, we thank you for your continued patience and trust in this process.

Yours in faith,

The UUCB 2014­2015 Ministerial Search Committee
Jim Rowe (chair), Sharon Belew, Ted Burnham, Jason English, Jenny Fitt­Peaster, Diana Maiden, Barb Richards

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What We Can (And Can’t) Tell You About Our Ministerial Pre­Candidates

LG_search committe logoThe Ministerial Search Committee has been hard at work the last few weeks, getting to know our “short list” of pre­candidates and beginning to compare their ministerial skills with what you ­­ the congregation ­­ have said UUCB needs in its next minister.

This is deep and challenging work, mostly because our pre­candidates are an amazingly talented group of ministers! We are excited to tell you as much as we can about them. But there are some things we just can’t share ­­ including the pre­candidates’ identities.

In this phase of the Search process, confidentiality is paramount.

The Unitarian Universalist Association is clear in its guidance for Search Committees:

“Confidentiality is not secrecy. The committee must publicize the process it is following and how far along it is at every point. At the same time, the committee must keep confidential both the names and the locations of the ministers under consideration.”

Why? Because confidentiality protects ministers.

Many ministers have not yet told their congregations about their desire to leave. Across the country, 86 ministers are currently competing for 36 full­time positions; many of them will be disappointed. Ministers who don’t find a new position often choose to continue with their present congregation for another year, and having it known that they are actively seeking other opportunities could undermine their ministry. UUCB needs to respect ministers’ right to keep that information private until they are ready to have that conversation with their congregants, and let them do so on their own terms.

Confidentiality at this early stage also will make it easier for our congregation to wholeheartedly embrace a final candidate later on. We do not want anyone to get attached to a pre­candidate based on first impressions, which could create false hopes and lead to division among the congregation if that person is not chosen as our final candidate.

Please know that violations of confidentiality ­­ including attempts by congregants to discover the identity of any pre­candidate ­­ will reflect negatively upon our congregation. Ministers have actually withdrawn from considering a congregation over that kind of incident. We trust that you won’t intentionally put UUCB in that position; in return we ask you to trust us, as your elected representatives, to evaluate our pre­candidates in confidence and with UUCB’s best interests in mind.

Here is what we CAN tell you about our pre­candidates.

Our pre­candidates are an awesome bunch of ministers! The group hails from all over the country and includes both men and women. Our pre­candidates have a wonderful variety of experience in both life and ministry ­­ some are lifelong UUs and born ministers, while others came to UU ministry from other faiths and careers. All have experience serving congregations large and small.

To varying but always impressive extent, each of our pre­candidates excels at skills and qualities the congregation has said are important for our search:

  • ●  Collaborative leadership and commitment to shared ministry;
  • ●  Crafting and delivering powerful sermons and developing the “worship arts”;
  • ●  Giving and supporting pastoral care;
  • ●  Inspiring a spiritual commitment to social change;
  • ●  Fostering family­friendly intergenerational community;
  • ●  Fundraising and stewardship of church resources;
  • ●  And the many other aspects of ministry we seek.

The process of discernment is just beginning.

The Search Committee has only started getting to know our pre­candidates, and already we are wowed by the caliber of the ministers our search has attracted. In the coming months we will engage deeply with each of them to discuss the needs and goals of this congregation, the gifts and challenges they bring to ministry, and how we might grow together if they were called to serve UUCB.

Then the members of the Search Committee will engage deeply amongst ourselves in a process of discernment. Our goal will be to discover which of our pre­candidates is the best match for ministry at UUCB ­­ no easy task, since all of our options are so good!

When the committee has decided on one (and only one) minister to be our final Ministerial Candidate, the need for confidentiality will finally end. We will announce our Ministerial Candidate in early April, and you will have ample opportunities to learn about and meet that person before the congregation votes in early May on whether to call the candidate as our settled minister.

Why will you meet one (and only one) final Ministerial Candidate? More on that next month…

Thank you again for the trust you have placed in us to do this sacred work, and for your continued patience during the coming months of our discernment.

Yours in faith,

The UUCB 2014­2015 Ministerial Search Committee

Jim Rowe (chair), Sharon Belew, Ted Burnham, Jason English, Jenny Fitt­Peaster, Diana Maiden, Barb Richards


Letter from Howell and the Board of Trustees Regarding Ministerial Search

Dear Members,

stained glassFebruary is often a time of anticipation—we grow tired of the cold and start looking toward spring. As days start to grow longer, the return of the sun’s light and warmth inspires many to start planning for the future: gardens, travel, new projects. So much to plan for—so many adventures to embark upon!

So it is with our church. February and March mark the beginning of our budget planning cycles and our anticipation of the new church year. During this time last year, we, as a congregation, developed a set of shared goals to guide us as we moved into the second phase of our Developmental Ministry with Howell. One of those goals was to develop a strategic plan that would continue to move us forward—including preparing us for our next settled minister.

The Board of Trustees has been working with Howell throughout the year to make progress on those goals. As we worked through this process, Howell proposed to the Board that we start the search for our next settled minister during the 2014-15 church year. In his words, “The health evident now in the congregation makes the timing appropriate for the congregation to move into its next called ministry. The strong desire to move forward with the congregation’s developmental ministry goals will make a good foundation for the church’s continued future of growth and success.” The Board discussed the proposal and agreed unanimously to move forward.

The Board has asked the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) to nominate a seven-member slate for a Ministerial Search Committee. The slate will be presented to the congregation at our annual meeting in May for a vote. The LDC will be determining the process that they will follow to choose the slate during the next few weeks. When they have established the process, they will publicize it.

We understand that you will have many questions about this exciting decision and the process that we’ll be embarking upon. To address those questions, the Board of Trustees will hold informational forums on March 2 at 9:15 AM and March 11 at 7 PM. In addition, a Frequently Asked Questions document will be assembled and will be available for your review.

Thank you for your commitment to our church and we look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming forums!


Reverend Howell K. Lind

Whitney Wheeless, Church President,

on behalf of the UUCB Board of Trustees

LDC Seeking Possible Search Committee Members

Starting in March, the Leadership Development Committee will begin the process of selecting candidates for a ministerial search committee. The candidates will be presented for a vote of the congregation at the May 18 Congregational Meeting. Participation in a search committee is a significant commitment of time and energy, but it is an important and rewarding opportunity. If you are interested in being a part of the search committee, please talk to or e-mail a member of the LDC. Also, if you are aware of a church member who you believe would be great for the search committee, please pass along the name.

–Leadership Development Committee: Ingrid Parker, David Hughes, George Wolfe, Mary Clough, Paula Baase,  and Toni Piwonka-Corle

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