What’s New in Search?
April 6, 2021
Greetings! This has been an odd year for everyone, including the Search Committee. Late last fall, we unanimously made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to switch our search charge from a full-time settled ministry, to a full-time contract minister with an option to extend the contract to a call. That’s a lot of words that sound similar, isn’t it? Here is the gist of the recommendation we made:
The Search Committee has unanimously agreed to recommend to the Board that we change our search process for 2021 to a Contract-to-Call ministry from a Settled Ministry search. (Attached to this is the definition of the Contract-to-Call and clarity of the process from the UUA search handbook, for your information.)
The reasons for our recommendation, in order of importance to us:
- COVID-19 health protocols will require us to interview and pre-candidate a minister without us or the congregation meeting them in person. Our UUA coach has indicated that many congregations are taking this approach—contract to call—to feel more confident when the congregation votes to call the minister for 2022.
- Our coach specifically recommended this approach because of Covid, but also because we were unable to begin the search process at the beginning of January (when settled ministry search began for everyone) due to the budget still being unsettled.
The Board of Trustees considered this request and granted it. As I write this in the beginning of April, we have not had many inquiries, but we have made sure that the two things the congregation and Board have asked for us have been up front in the initial interview: 1. We are looking to call a minister (i.e., hire them as a contract minister with the option and expectation of calling them at the end of the first year of the contract; and 2. We are looking for someone to reside within our community (a large swath of Northwest Indiana). This is what we heard from you, the congregation, when we did our survey in the fall of 2019.
As we continue moving forward, we will try to keep you as informed as we can (there are rules about confidentiality that limit what we can and cannot say).
Please feel free to contact Tina Porter if you have further questions.
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.
Carla Banks, has been a long time member of First Unitarian Church and has served on the Board of Trustees, on the Religious Education Committee, and currently serves on the Search Committee as well as the Caring Ministry.
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.
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.
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.