Minister Search 2021

Beyond Categorical Thinking Invitation

In our efforts to find the best ministerial match, our congregation will host a Beyond Categorical Thinking worship service and workshop. Keith Kron, the UUA Transitions Director, will meet with the Search Committee, lead the Sunday service, and facilitate a three-hour conversation where we will examine how to avoid letting prejudice be a part of our search process.

This conversation is meant to help us expand our understanding of what professional ministry can look like. And it is also designed to help each of us consider what our own personal biases might be. There is a questionnaire for you to fill out before you attend the workshop, as well as a video from Keith Kron that we suggest you view before you answer the questions.

This workshop is an opportunity the Search Committee and the Board of Trustees want you to share in because it will make our congregation stronger and more welcoming than we already are. It will also help us as individuals as we move within the larger community. There is so much learning and unlearning to do with regard to the lenses we unconsciously use when talking with people we are getting to know. This workshop will help us to consider not just how we interact with race as we search for a minister, but with gender identity, disability—physical, mental, and emotional, and also our personal and congregational stumbling blocks to creating the community we dream of. Please join us. Times and resources are listed below.

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop Times

The workshop will be held on Zoom in two 90-minute sessions. These are two distinct sections of the same workshop so plan to attend both sessions.

· Friday, December 3, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. AND

· Saturday, December 4, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


· Keith Kron video

· Questionnaire

We look forward to seeing you on screen,

The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees

Who Is The Ministerial Search Committee?

Tina Porter

Chair of Search, has been a member of the First Unitarian Church of Hobart since 1998. She and her husband Brian raised their three daughters in the church, and were both active in church leadership throughout their time here in a variety of ways. Tina currently serves on the Worship Ministry and chairs the Ministerial Search Team. Tina was a staff member at Meadville Lombard Theological School from 2004 to 2014, holding roles in the Communications and the Student Services departments. She is currently a writer and purveyor of vintage goods.

Carla Banks

came to First Unitarian about twenty years ago. She has met wonderful people, made many close friends, and has had enriching experiences here. She is currently retired after teaching for over thirty years and loves being able to spend time with her daughter and grandson. She also enjoys traveling with her sister.

She has served the church on the Board of Trustees and continues to serve on the Caring Committee.

Stephanie Dowell

joined the Hobart congregation with her husband, Carl, and their two children about 10 years ago. She participated with the Children’s RE committee for several years, has been a frequent FIA member and served on the Board as secretary for three years.

In her professional life, she is loving a second career as a licensed social worker helping military Veterans experiencing homelessness achieve stable housing. Her work is a perfect embodiment of her favorite UU Principle, the inherent worth and dignity of all.

Tracy Ferrell

currently serves the church as the Chair for the Building and Grounds committee. "I have had the pleasure and responsibility to lead our church from a board of trustees position from 2016 through 2021." Tracy joined the Search Committee after leaving his responsibilities as Chair of the Board of Trustees. He is also involved in and enjoys the environmental aspect of our Faith in Action committee.

"My religious upbringing was influenced by Baptist preaching uncles and my father who was 75% Native American. While my mom insisted on not having me baptized, she made it clear that it should be my choice. My uncles often tried to save me in secret."

Tracy and his wife, Michele, have been married for 18 years and they have two children who are "mostly wonderful (they ARE teenagers)" he adds. Tracy also has another child who is 26 years old, from a previous marriage.

Tracy retired from construction in 2015 and spends his time now helping others as much as he can.

Pete O’Day

age 63, joined the church in 2012, after being an intermittent church visitor for 9 years. Pete presently is on the worship committee and the ministerial search committee, and was previously on the finance committee and the board. Pete is active in the Tuesday night Buddhist Sangha held at the church, and the related Thursday night meditation sangha inside Indiana state prison. Pete also frequents the church’s Sunday 10AM Sprit Circle meeting with his wife, Cindy.

Pete began his life’s faith journey as a humanist, reared in a strictly atheistic household, but he now believes deeply in the value of, and the honor in, the practices of the wisdom traditions of all faiths. Pete retains the belief that all spiritual paths are, like science itself, human-invented, and so to be properly appreciated, the beauty of their religious truths must be treasured as great but ever imperfect works; they are like poetry or art, whose power to inform us requires we have a humble heart, a mind open to non-literal interpretations, and a curious challenging reason. Pete believes that while any faith, when embraced with humility, may lead to deep personal liberation; collective liberation and achieving a just world requires we free ourselves, each other, and our relationships from the prison of our societal conditioning. We must all relinquish what we “know” to learn what really is – and a church is at its best when it is teaching us how little we know.