Interim Ministry Appraisals
Town Hall Results
June 2, 2019 Town Hall:
The central task of the Transition Team is to encourage the congregation’s efforts to address its development during the interim period between settled ministers. Over the past few months with assistance from the interim ministers, the Team reviewed reports and other materials about the congregation and general resources about transitional ministry. They distilled the information into six priorities for the congregation to address in this interim period. The report can be found here. They gave this list to the Board and published the priorities in the June newsletter. On June 2 they shared these priorities with the congregation.
The second purpose of the town hall was to have an additional chance to talk about staffing for children and youth religious education ahead of final budget decisions at the June Board meeting. Thank you to Interweave and the Lifespan Religious Education Steering Team for changing previously scheduled meetings and making room for the town hall. Thank you to Melissa Auer for leading the report and discussion of the interim priorities. Thank you to Deb Brod for recording questions and ideas. A total of 56 members and friends participated in the town hall. The recorded notes can be found here. Thank you to everyone who was part of the town hall. Major themes included concerns about adequate funds, volunteering, and staffing. The Board, Revs. Jennifer and Patrick, and the Transition Team will be following up on the interim priorities and the notes from the town hall conversation. If you have questions or comments about topics raised during the town hall, please see the Transition Team or Rev. Jennifer.
March 17, 2019 Town Hall: Church and Search
At the March 17 Town Hall: Church and Search, the congregation discussed UUSG’s strengths, visions for the future, and what we would like to see changed. The second part of the town hall was an update on the interim and search processes. Please view these notes and recommendations here.
January 1, 2019 Town Hall: Interim Ministry Update & RE Staffing
The UUSG Board of Directors and Rev. Jennifer Innis hosted a town hall on January 20 to present an update on our interim ministry process and to facilitate a forum on staffing needs for our religious education program. The event was well attended with an estimated 80 participants.
As Rev. Innis explained, the standard interim period in the UUA is two years. However, special circumstances, such as a lengthy previous ministry, can be cause for a longer interim time. If a longer interim is to be considered by the Board, it would most likely be with a different interim minister, as approval from UUA Transitions Office is required to extend interim ministry contract past two years with same interim minister(s).
Regarding the search process for a settled minister, the steps recommended by the UUA span approximately 18 months. For instance, if UUSG desires to call a settled minister in August 2020, preparations ought to begin in the next 1-3 months. The time required to prepare for and conduct a successful search stems from the entire congregation’s part in selecting the next minister. It takes significant time, thought, and care to help a community move toward a 90% (or higher) majority vote.
The second part of the town hall was devoted to a presentation on the findings of our December 2nd town hall on religious education. Key points discussed included:
The UUSG Board believes that paid RE staff is needed to fulfill our mission.
There are three different types of RE staffing (see Figure 1):
RE Coordinator, providing primarily administrative support for volunteers
Classic DRE, providing program leadership for children’s and youth education
Comprehensive Lifespan RE, providing program leadership for religious education across all age groups.
The cost to hire depends on the type of staffing and hours per week. (See Figure 2.)
After a question-and-answer session, a poll of attendees was conducted to measure which type(s) of staffing are most supported. Two questions were asked via paper ballot: 1) Which staffing option(s) are most appropriate for the needs and mission of UUSG? and 2) Which staffing options would people be willing and able to support through increased pledging? Attendees were asked to submit one form per pledging household. Forty-two responses were submitted, representing an estimated 20% of annual pledges to UUSG.
Tabulated responses are depicted below (see Figures 3 and 4) and reveal the strongest support for hiring a full-time Director of Religious Education. Results also suggest support for a ¾-time DRE. There is keen interest among many respondents for Comprehensive Lifespan Education but relatively less financial support for that option. Finally, there was relatively little support for both the ½-time and ¾-time RE Coordinator options.
Next steps are for the Board of Directors, the interim ministers, and other lay leaders to discuss these findings and begin planning for a coordinated stewardship campaign to support a hiring plan. In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please contact UUSG President David de Coriolis or Revs. Patrick and Jennifer.
To review the complete materials presented at the Town Hall, see also: