The Search Committee is pleased and gratified that we have so far received expressions of interest from 12 applicants to be our settled minister. And, we are told it is fairly likely that we will receive a few more before this “round” closes out.
From the twelve we selected seven to “meet” by one hour video conferences over the MLK weekend. We are very impressed by the applicants so far, and will have some difficult decisions to make as we, and they, look for a great fit! We will be exchanging information with those we are most interested in, to try to get to a maximum of four to pre-candidate. Pre-candidating involves the Search Committee spending a weekend getting to know the minister better, including hearing them speak at another church.
The watch-word for the pre-candidating process is CONFIDENTIALITY. For you, that means several things. First, the Search Committee has reserved exclusive use of MSUS from 8:00 to 10:30 am on the following Saturdays – February 27, March 5, March 12, and March 19. That means the church is OFF LIMITS to anyone connected with MSUS other than the Search Committee during those times. Second, while it might be possible to read other congregations’ newsletters and / or visit them to figure out who we are pre-candidating, please don’t! The main reason is for the applicant’s protection: some applicants may not have disclosed to their current congregation that they are in search, in case they are not selected.
We have learned more from the UUA about the process and how things are looking this year. Each minister in search may apply to up to 15 congregations. It is not unusual for a minister in search to apply to larger congregations first, and if they are not among those congregations’ top choices, to then apply to smaller congregations like ours. We also learned that there are more ministers in search than anticipated, with 87 ministers, and 65 congregations in search. We hope that is good news for us! Finally, the UUA is planning to again have a “lightning round” in the late spring / early summer this year to try to match ministers and congregations who don’t find a match in the initial process. While we hope and expect we will not need the abbreviated process, it is good to know there is an alternative to starting over from scratch if this round comes up empty.
Finally, thanks again for the expressions of support, and for the forbearance of our families and friends for those of us on the Committee while we go through this process.