This list represents what we expect to be the most frequent initial questions you may have about our minister’s departure and what comes next. We want to reassure you that our Fellowship has been through a number of these transitions in the past and that we have considerable resources and experience to draw on. Please remember that the loss of a minister, while difficult, gives us as a faith community the opportunity to re-assess our ministerial needs, reflect on who we are and where we wish to go. Also remember that decisions in our faith tradition are made democratically by all of us, so please put Saturday, January 26, 2019 on your calendar and plan to attend our all-congregation retreat.
How long will it be before we have another minister in place?
We don’t know the answer to that question at this point. The Transition Team has met and is exploring multiple possibilities for how to move forward. Next week we are meeting with a consultant from the MidAmerica Region of the UUA which will give us more information to share with you in terms of process and possibilities.
What will our services be like until we have new ministerial leadership - will we continue to have quality worship services?
Our services will continue to be as they have been whenever Dawn has been away on vacation or attending a conference – our services will be lay-led with some of our own members and sometimes guest speakers presenting the sermon.
During her time with us, Dawn has provided an excellent model of quality worship which will help guide us during this interim period. We have access to the resources that Dawn uses to help create her services – sermons and other materials from our Soul Matters Sharing Circle subscription, the Church of the Larger Fellowship’s (CLF) Quest for Meaning website, and the UUA’s Worship Web collection of resources. We are also fortunate to have a good number of skilled people in our congregation who are able to serve as highly capable lay leaders, readers, and sermon presenters.
Who will develop the calendar of worship services?
We have reconstituted the Worship Team which will meet monthly to develop a calendar of meaningful worship services. The team is comprised of Norma Bailey, Jim Dealing, Aaron Jones, and Guy Newland.
Will we still have all our rituals and special services?
We will continue to include all the rituals Dawn has helped us establish for use in worship as well as the ongoing scheduling of our special worship services – multigenerational worship, the Fall Water Ingathering, our Flower Communion in the Spring, etc.
Will Dawn be able to attend services here…
This is one of the more difficult aspects of ministerial transition – and please know that some form of this process is common to most faith traditions, not just Unitarian Universalism. While the Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Association (UUMA) guidelines don’t strictly apply to Dawn because she is not an officially fellowshipped member of the UUMA, she intends to follow the dictates of their recommendations as she believes to do so is necessary to ensure the healthy transition of ministerial leadership here.
can we still be friends with her?
The UUMA guidelines – as interpreted for our purposes - are as follows: Whenever there is a ministerial change - in order not to interfere or inhibit the process of successful transition to a new ministry - the departing minister should have no intentional or ministerial contact with her former congregation and/or individual congregants for at minimum the length of the interim period (of transition to a new minister) plus the first full year of that newly settled ministry. Any re-engagement with a congregation after that period of time would have to be negotiated via a covenant established between the new and former minister.
Our understanding is that Dawn will still be living in the area possibly for some time after she leaves us –
If you happen to bump into Dawn around town or at an event, it is perfectly acceptable to greet her as you would normally. She will, however, refuse to discuss anything about our Fellowship with you (including your feelings about whatever is happening) and won't be able to go home with you to share a meal. In other words, extended contact and/or any discussion about the Fellowship during the above-stated timeframe will not be engaged in. It is also requested that you honor her boundaries in this and not reach out to her via phone, email, or social media.
what if we run into her somewhere out in public?
Who do we contact if we have other questions?
If other additional questions arise for you, please contact any member of the Transition Team so we can address them as fully as possible…and also include your queries in future FAQ publications.
UUFCM Ministerial Leadership Transition Team