Board Decides on Two-Year Interim Minister

We, the Interim Ministry Task Force, would like to thank you for the opportunity to be of service to the Board and to the entire congregation.

Our first task has been to provide information about the relative wisdom of hiring an interim minister (IM) for one or two years. In order to provide a well-researched recommendation, we consulted with three recognized “experts” on the subject: Keith Kron, Director of Transitions at the UUA; Ian Evison, Director of Congregational Services; and Stefan Jonasson, Director of Growth Strategies and Large Congregation Development for the UUA. We accessed the UUA website and read some short articles for contrasting views on the subject.

Based upon all of the above, we unanimously recommended that the Board proceed with a plan to hire an IM for a period of two years.

We believe that a two year interim period will enable the congregation to make the healthiest and best possible transition to a new era under the leadership of the best possible new senior minister. This belief and our recommendation is supported by the following:

1.    We believe that our goal should be to transition well, rather than quickly; and we believe that goal will be served best by an interim period of two years.

Most congregations facing transition will be better served by a two year interim period. This is because a two year period enables a more thoughtful and deliberate transition under the guidance of a skilled Interim Minister. Healthy congregations, such as ours, which have been expertly and successfully led by a well loved and respected senior minister for a very long time benefit greatly from a two year period.

2.    A two year interim will be more attractive to prospective IMs than will a one year interim period.

All three of our experts assure us that the interim opportunity at First Church will be very attractive to skilled IMs in search of an interim ministry next year. They say this will be so in either scenario, but especially if we choose to hire an IM for two years.

3.    A two year interim period will better enable First Church to organize a ministerial search and attract and call the best possible new senior minister.

The choice of a two year interim will enable the congregation to better organize its search for a new senior minister. It will give lay leadership of the congregation time in year one of the interim to work with the IM and staff to identify and address development opportunities, make structural changes if appropriate, clarify strategic plans, seek and obtain input from the congregation, recruit and organize the best possible search committee, and communicate direction before embarking on the ministerial search in the second year.

Based on the above information, on June 8, 2013, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to support the recommendation for a two year interim minister.

–Alexis Fielek, Kathleen Rivera, Sarah Stehly:  Interim Ministry Task Force