Your Ministerial Search team –
Cal Allen, Rachel Hanks, Bob Haskins, Claire Henderson, Lana Hurt, Gail Vasta, Bruce White
Your Ministerial Search Committee invites you to save the date of Sunday, October 1, for a very important worship service, followed by a delicious soup and bread lunch, and the “Beyond Categorical Thinking” Workshop. This workshop, which is prescribed by UUA for congregations seeking a settled minister through UUA auspices, is designed “to promote inclusive thinking and prevent unfair discrimination during a congregation’s search for a settled minister.” More information about the BCT workshop can be found at http://www.uua.org/careers/ministers/transitions/bct.
The BCT Workshop can be considered as one leg of a three-legged stool in support of your Ministerial Search Committee, the other two legs being the Congregational Survey we completed last fall, and the cottage parties we are holding through the middle of October. Two of these tools, survey and cottage parties, are essential to the committee in finding the right candidate to become our new settled minister. The third one, the BCT Workshop, is equally important as a way for the committee and the whole congregation to better understand our “blind spots”, including when we are searching for a new settled minister.
Our service that morning will be led by Carol Carter Walker, a trained UUA Facilitator for these BCT events, with assistance from members of the Ministerial Search Committee. The lunch, presented by members of the MSC with the assistance of Mary Haskins and our Social Committee, will be all the more enjoyable with the addition of your pot-luck offerings of deserts, similar to the bounty we enjoyed in last Sunday’s In-Gathering picnic! All UUCSV members and friends are heartily encouraged to join us for the day on Sunday, October 1.
Chances are you thought of both. And distinct images perhaps came to mind. In terms of a minister, what images came to mind? Was it a person of a particular gender, race, or age?
Beyond Categorical Thinking is a highly recommended part of the search process for our congregation. In finding the person who would be the best match for our minister, we could potentially overlook or even let biases keep us from knowing that a particular person would be the best match for us.
Other congregations have assumed that their ideal minister looks a certain way, and often ministers who are not white or male or heterosexual or able-bodied or of a particular age or class are discounted and seen as “less than” in some ways.
Ministers in our faith who are people of color, bisexual, gay, lesbian, female, transgender, differently-abled, young, old, ethnically different, or of a different class—all of these credentialed ministers still face discrimination as part of the ministerial search process.
In our efforts to find the best match, our congregation will host a Beyond Categorical Thinking worship service and workshop where trainers will come and meet with our search committee, lead the Sunday service, and facilitate a 3-hour conversation where will have a chance to examine how we can avoid letting prejudice become a part of our search process. This is yet another way for us to put our faith into lived experience and improve the odds that regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for us and will serve us well
This opportunity allows the entire congregation fuller participation in the search process. It will allow us to explore our hopes and concerns for a new minister, learn more about the search process, and see how our own history (both personal and congregational) might interfere with our efforts in this search.