Staff Changes Support Ministerial Transition
Anticipating the church’s ministerial transition, a few temporary changes in staffing have begun this fall. Unity Church will not have an intern in the 2019-20 church year, and Karen Hering will take on several added responsibilities, joining the staff as part-time associate minister for the next two years. Unity’s important work as a teaching congregation for ministerial interns will resume in the future as we move into and through this time of transition.
In the current church year, Karen will begin as less than half-time, coordinating the Chalice Circles program and weekly chapel services on Wellspring Wednesdays, while continuing to offer the monthly guided writing sessions of her literary ministry. In January she will be phased into coordinating Unity’s pastoral care program under Janne Eller-Isaacs' leadership and in collaboration with Unity’s full ministerial team. Karen will again offer the annual Thresholds series for people on the cusp of significant personal change, but the timing of the series in 2020 will shift to April and May.
Next summer, when Janne and Rob Eller-Isaacs retire, Karen’s role will increase again as she assumes primary responsibility for pastoral care. Working with and in support of the new interim minister in the 2020-21 church year, she will also coordinate a new small group ministry focused on living well with change. You can reach Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at extension 109. She would be especially delighted to hear from you with your registration for Chalice Circles that begin in September!
May 2019 Update
This is an update for the congregation on how the Unity Church Board of Trustees is planning for ministerial transition. This is the same summary that was published in the May 2019 issue of commUNITY.
First, a quick recap: At the congregational meeting last November, Janne and Rob Eller-Isaacs formally shared their plans to retire in the summer of 2020. They had generously given the board even more advance notice, which allowed time for plenty of advance planning. At the November meeting, the board shared the decision to have a one-year interim period before a new called minister starts, or when two new co-ministers start. This means that between July 2020 and June 2021 an interim minister will be with us; as was stated in November, the interim minister will be a member of the Executive Team, along with Barbara Hubbard, Lisa Friedman, and KP Hong.
That’s a lot of change that’s coming quickly. And there will be many details and decisions to come. As we look ahead and plan for how we navigate through these changes, it can be helpful to think of three main areas needing our attention:
As we plan for these three steps we’re consulting with the Rev. Jen Crow, Senior Co-Minister at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, who is a UUA-trained transitions coach who knows our church well, given she is one of our former intern ministers. As Jen has reminded those of us on the board’s transition subteam, each of these steps must be done well and whole-heartedly as we work through this. To put it another way, to achieve our goal of having a successful new senior minister, we will need to fully attend to the other two steps. We can’t rush through any part of this if we want to get this done well.
As the pace of work on these steps will pick up in 2019, the full board and the transition subteam realize the importance of keeping the congregation informed about what’s coming next and the many ways the congregation will be involved. So we will be writing regular updates for the newsletter. And records of what we’ve shared will continue to be posted on the website, under the governance area (https://www.unityunitarian.org/ministerial-transition.html). Also, know that we are available to answer questions you may have.
There will be many ways for congregation members to be involved in working through our feelings about having to say goodbye to our senior ministers — and to ensure we are intentionally thoughtful about how we move towards that parting. There are some parallels to the process the congregation is going through right now with Ruth Palmer’s approaching retirement. There will be much more to talk about regarding how we adequately plan for Janne's and Rob’s retirement in the coming months as well.
On another front, a big effort this fall will be board outreach to the whole congregation to help us prepare for forming a search team. Stay tuned for more on this, but know that it is the search team that will conduct the search, not the board.
Over the fall and winter, the board will be gathering input on the qualities we need to have represented on the search team and ultimately will develop a slate of candidates based on that input. The make-up of the search committee will be finalized in April 2020, after a congregational meeting. As we finalize our plans for the process we’ll share more on this in the coming months.
Senior Co-Ministers Retirement Announcement
2018 Annual Report
2018 Annual Meeting Information Packet
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