Religious Ed: 10 a.m.     Service: 11 a.m.     Location: 5th & Main St. Hobart, IN     Phone: (219) 942-1611

What’s New in Search?

January 21, 2020

We are sorry–but not surprised–to announce that we did not make a match in the first round of our ministerial search. We had one candidate apply and the Ministerial Search Committee reviewed their record, discussed, and decided not to move forward with an interview.

It was not a surprise that we had only one candidate interested in our church at this time. Because we are searching for a three-quarter time settled minister (meaning the whole congregation calls the minister and we work together for a long-term ministry), many of the candidates bypassed us as they looked toward a full time position.

The way forward is not bleak, however. We move into the second round, where candidates who were unsuccessful in making a match can re-apply to congregations they may have overlooked in the first round. The other news is that, this year, there are more ministers in search this year than there are congregations seeking ministers. This is good news for us.

There are some tasks we must attend to while we wait for the second round to start in April, but there will not be any real news until after that starts. We will continue to keep you apprised of any movement here and in updates announced during the service.

Keep the faith; we are in this for the minister who is the best to serve with us and that may take some time.

In love,

The Ministerial Search Committee

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.

Stephanie Dowell, 47, 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. 

Stephanie’s hobbies include camping and lounging with coffee on the porch. She looks forward to a summer bike trip with her family on the C&O Canal.

John Halstead is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is one of the founders of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which works to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment”.

He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post, Gods & Radicals, A Beautiful Resistance, and He is Editor-at-Large of John edited the anthology,Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-Theistic Pagans and is the author of two forthcoming books, Another End of the World is Possible and Neo-Paganism: Historical Inspiration and Contemporary Creativity. He is also a Shaper of the Earthseed community which can be found at

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.

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