Call Process Task Force 

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As we look forward to entering the Call process for our beloved minister, it is worthwhile revisiting the definitions of both “ministry” and “call”.

The dictionary definition of “ministry” is “the work or vocation of a minister of religion”. In the context of many faiths, the minister is largely responsible for the ministry. When looking at ministry through the lens of Unitarian Universalism, however, we have to keep in mind that we are a congregational denomination, meaning that everyone in the congregation contributes to the ministry of the church. We have no denominational hierarchy (like a bishop) telling us what to do and how to do it. We decide what our ministry will be, and the minister guides us in implementing that ministry.

In this sense, ministry is all the services that we provide to our community, both our members and the larger community in which we live. A church is a building in which ministry occurs, while ministry itself is service.

Ministry in the UU faith is also a covenantal relationship between the minister and the congregation. The details of ministry are always evolving and are defined by the congregation through policies passed by the Council.

UU ministers act as the spiritual and administrative leaders of their congregations. Specifically, “they lead worship services and give sermons, challenge and guide the congregation’s spiritual focus, provide pastoral care and counseling, conduct special services, and represent Unitarian Universalism in the community”.

“Call” is the process through which Unitarian Universalist congregations choose their ministers. Because congregations choose their ministers, the minister leads in partnership with the congregation. This is very different from how many faiths choose their leaders, and therefore the process through which that decision is made is very important. The more members and friends who participate in the process, the more likely the resulting ministry will be successful.

The “contract to call” process is slightly different in that we already know who our ministerial candidate is. We have had the pleasure of working with Rev. Amy for the last year and a half, and even before that as our intern. So we have a pretty good sense of how she will be as our leader. This, however, makes it all the more important that we discuss and clarify, as much as possible, what we want our ministry to be, and to then determine whether Rev. Amy is the right person to lead us in that ministry.

With that in mind, please look for and plan to participate in the ZOOM cottage meetings that will be taking place during March. The details of these meetings will be announced as we get closer. Please also mark your calendars for a special Call Sermon at the end of February or early March.

Yours in faith –

Contract to Call Process Task Force

Nancy McAlley

Kathy Muzzy

Marty Daniels

Dean Anderson

Jen Kirchoff

Chris Legore

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Call Process Task Force Draft Timeline

February 1st

Begin to identify, solicit and train cottage meeting facilitators.

February 20

Select dates and times for first and second cottage meetings.

Feb. 28, March 7 or March 14th

Call Sermon - special guest minister

March 1

Prepare materials for mailings

March 10

Mail letter to each member, explaining process, assigned days and times of first and second cottage meetings, and how to re-schedule if needed.

March 16 -April 23

Round 1 of Cottage Meetings

Facilitators send email reminders to participants asking for RSVP’s (and/or possible re-schedules) 1-2 days before each meeting. At the end of the meeting, participants are reminded of round 2 dates.

Last Week of April

Committee meets to summarize input from Round 1 meetings. (How should we share input with congregation? At round 2 meetings? Beforehand?)

May-June Round 2 of cottage meetings Facilitators send email reminders to participants asking for RSVP’s (and/or possible re-schedules) 1-2 days before each meeting.


Committee meets to summarize input from Round 2 of Cottage Meetings; plans details of fall meeting; how to best communicate results of Round 2 summary.

September 19th

Committee Presents Findings to Congregation, conduct straw vote

September 26th

Vote to Call

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One of the concepts the Contract to Call Process Task Force is grappling with is that of “shared ministry”. Understanding shared ministry is vital to understanding the importance of “calling” a minister. The most vital and thriving congregations practice shared ministry, where the personal gifts of members and friends of the congregation are matched with opportunities to serve the mission and vision of the congregation. Ministry, therefore, is not merely the work of the ordained minister, but is shared by all members of the church. Ministry is the quality of the presence we bring to our work and connections in the church. It encompasses a spirit of compassion, kindness, hope, and reverence. Any work we do for the church can be ministry if we bring ourselves to it with that intention. Lay leadership is an important part of shared ministry and is critical to the overall wellbeing of the congregation. We are already practicing shared ministry in many ways. Members and friends participate in and lead worship services; we serve on the Council and committees; we provide pastoral care through the Caring Circle; we guide and mentor our children and youth; and we work for social justice in the larger community. A “called” minister reinforces shared ministry by having overall responsibility for the direction of the congregation. He/she pays attention to our mission and vision and the quality of relationships within the congregation. A called or settled minister has an indefinite tenure and therefore a larger commitment to the congregation than the duration of a contract. This spring we will be moving into the active phase of our call process. Cottage meetings, both in-person and on ZOOM, will begin at the end of March. These will provide an opportunity for all members and friends to voice their opinions about the qualities we are looking for in a minister. Look for a “Call Sermon” at the end of February or the beginning of March to kick off this exciting process. Marty Daniels, Contract to Call Process Task Force

The Contract to Call Process Task Force:

Chris Legore

Jen Kirchoff

Marty Daniels

Nancy McAlley

Dean Anderson

Kathy Muzzy

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