July 2013 Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

Welcome to Summer. Remember: we are holding single Sunday services at 10:00 a.m. for July, August and September 1st. How might you use the time before or after the 10:00 service to connect with each other? Might you meet for meals, coffee, hikes, discussion groups? I encourage you to be creative with this time and with each other!

I will be on vacation (mostly) through the month of July, and then on ‘study leave’ (mostly) through much of August. But, having said that, I want to let you know that I will be spending time this summer working on the first phase of our search for a new Director of Religious Education (DRE). While the full process is still emerging at the time of writing this column, one thing we are sure of is that our first step is to envision the Future or Religious Education at UUS:E. This envisioning will happen in a number of ways. I will be hosting multigenerational conversations about the future of RE following services on July 28th and August 25th. We will also be organizing in-home summer potlucks and an online survey to help us articulate our religious education future.

Following this period of envisioning, the UUS:E Policy Board, Religious Education Committee and Personnel Committee will work on a new job description so that the position is set up for success. That’s Phase 2. Then the Policy Board will establish a formal search committee that will conduct interviews and recommend a final candidate. That’s Phase 3. Again, all of this is still emerging. Nothing is etched in stone yet. But that’s a snapshot of a process that makes sense.

Karen Bellavance-Grace, Director of Faith Formation for the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association visited UUS:E on June 11th. She offered some important advice about “best practices” for conducting a DRE search. She cautioned us that there will be bumps in the road, that it won’t necessarily be a smooth process. She even suggested we need to prepare for the event that we conduct a search and don’t find the right candidate. In short, she reminded us that searching for a DRE, like searching for a minister, can be a tense and emotional experience for a congregation. We may rub each other the wrong way from time to time. In these moments we need to come back to our covenant and our principles. We need to remember to listen deeply to each other and treat each other with respect. There’s a lot at stake. I look forward to this process and to realizing all the opportunities it presents.

Have a great summer!

With love,