“plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose “
the more things change, the more they stay the same…
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Oh, my! The memories. I’ve called it my “initiation” into Unitarian organizational life. I’d only been a member for two years but had gotten what a friend called “aggressively involved” at UCV. The announcement to invite nominations to the search for the next minister had been made and at coffee hour, one of our elders (Sheilah Thompson by name) approached me at coffee hour.
“Mary, you’ve got to put your name forward. The only people who have volunteered so far are all my age!” Ahem. Yes, that was 30 years ago, so I am now that age!
Then, as now, a majority of search committee members are elected by the congregation and then the board looks at “who’s missing”. So although I was not one of those “first past the post” I was appointed, because I was new. (Just as an aside now it’s recommended that the board simply announce the full slate and not identify who was voted in and who appointed.)
Much has changed since Rev. Phillip Hewett retired! Technology has made some of the tasks much easier, such as creating a survey, sending “packets” and receiving information. A lot of that is now done through a website or pdf documents in a dropbox folder.
So I share this to say, even if you’re pretty new (or if you’ve been around for a very long time), consider putting your hat in the ring. From (likely) a group of 7, there’s a need for many perspectives and experience.
During the time I was serving on the committee, a friend remarked, “That’s a committee designed for conflict.” Don’t get scared! All that means is when you intentionally bring seven people together for a very important task with a high degree of diversity, there will be, by design, a need to have excellent communication and teamwork skills.
So here am I, with a nod to Sheilah, saying: Please consider this opportunity to serve our congregation by offering to take on the admittedly heavy responsibility to serve on a ministerial search committee.
Some of the things that have not changed are:
- You’d be expected to give up any other organizational “jobs” – sing in the choir, garden, attend Sunday services, but no committee or team work
- You will be under a very high bar for confidentiality. Only one candidate will ultimately be presented to the congregation and you will go to your grave mum about the names of any other ministers who expressed interest
- You will get to know your fellow committee members deeply (I’m crying as I write this) and it could be your initiation rite to lifelong commitment to our religion.
PS – There will be many opportunities over the next while to learn more and to nominate people, including yourself. Stay tuned!
To see who’s on the board and a list of recent posts, go to ucv.im/board