As the first year of intentional ministry comes to an end, I want to look back at the work you have accomplished,using the lens of the five developmental tasks of interim ministry. I’ll offer a bit of a peek forward as well.
Task 1: Assisting the congregation in claiming and honoring its past and engaging and acknowledging its griefs andconflicts. After a series of “Meet the Interim” small groups that explained the interim ministry philosophy to well over100 members of the congregation, we moved into the Grief and Transition Workshops. Over 100 people participatedin these as well. We then introduced the History Wall project which led to conversation circles about various aspects ofthe congregation’s history. All along the way the Team and I had many one-on-one conversations with people whofound themselves at different places along the grief and healing continuum. Coming next: we will continue to be sensitive to the emotional health of members and of the congregation as a whole as you move into the next year of transition.
Task 2: Recognizing its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges. Asense of shared identity emergesout of a shared understanding of the narrative arc of the congregation; that is, it emerges out of the history work.Using an appreciative inquiry approach, we have begun to identify and build on the strengths inherent in this congregation. The strong group of people who have volunteered for the two shared ministry programs – the Pastoral Careand Worship Associates – is tangible evidence of that strength. The Board understands the need for clarity in terms ofinfrastructure, decision making, and communication. That governance work is well under way and will continue notjust at the Board level but at all levels of leadership. Coming next: committee charters. A charter is a tool that bringsclarity as to purpose/mission and appropriate lines of authority and accountability.It is also a great recruiting tool.And the process of creating the charter is a clarifying process for all who participate.
3. Understanding the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shiftsin leadership that may accompany times of transition.A sgreat deal of work was done by the Human ResourcesCommittee including the updating and acceptance of the new Employee Handbook and the writing of job descriptions. The Nominating and Leadership Development Committee (NLDC) began an exploration this past year of whatit means to support and encourage a culture of leadership development. Coming Next: further collaboration withNLDC. We have already scheduled a ? day leadership training event for September 20th. Think of this as an openinvitation to deeper involvement and commitment on your part.
4. Making appropriate use of District, UUA, and other outside resources. A number of you took my advice to head outthe doors and experience Unitarian Universalism on a larger and more diverse stage. You went to regional workshopsand training sessions. You had a great delegation at the District meeting and will also have a fine delegation for
General Assembly. Coming Next: a sermon series on the Six Sources of our UU faith. Do you know what they are?Do you know where to find them? The purpose of this sermon series is to enhance your congregation’s self-understanding and identity as part of a larger movement known as Unitarian Universalism.
5. Renewing its vision, strengthening its stewardship, preparing for new growth and new professional leadership,ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest. Yes, that is a lot to ask! And the work is never really done.Coming Next: creating a covenant of right relations. What better way to prepare for a healthy relationship with a newsettled minister than to be in healthy relationship with each other?
I want to thank so many people who have worked so hard this past year. A special shout out to departing Board ChairRandy Burnham, Treasurer Ken Vogel, and At-Large member Sal Mollica and to the members of the Transition Team. And of course my deepest gratitude to every one of you who has shown up, listened, spoken, and participated in thisnew-to-you practice of intentional transition ministry!
Ilook forward to another year of adventure and affirmation.