~Tim Croll and Virginia Felton, Search Committee Co-chairs
The work of the church-member committee to call a new pastor began about a month ago, after the appointment of the committee by Church Council. The committee is now meeting weekly via Zoom.
The team is being let by co-chairs Tim Croll and Virginia Felton. Committee members include the following: Bob Perkins, Cara Helmer, Emily Morishima, Fred Heidrich, Joyce Jackson, Linda Scott, Lori VanderBilt, Rachel Schmidt and Terry Moore.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult to establish a firm timetable for when a new minister might start. We are hoping that we can complete our work by late 2020, but we also recognize that the pandemic may have a significant effect on the number of ministers seeking a new call as well as our own ability to discern who will best meet our needs.
After our initial organizational meeting, we spent one meeting with Conference Minister Mike Denton. He helped us understand the overall process and the role of the national and conference-level church in the process. We then spent our third meeting working with Cynthia McLeod and Diane Schmitz, the church’s racial justice consultants, to better understand how we can neutralize the effects of our biases on the search and call process.
In the next several meetings we will finish preparing our Local Church Profile, which is the first step in being able to advertise for a new minister. Ministers who are seeking a new call read these profiles to find out which churches are seeking new ministers and to discern whether a church might be a fit for them.
The Local Church Profile draws on a great deal of the work already accomplished by the Futures Task Force (Thanks be to God!). It asks 25-pages worth of questions regarding who we are, how we define ourselves, who we are seeing in a new pastor, what our finances are, etc. We have been assisted in this endeavor by our ministers, our own staff and PNW Conference staff. John Coleman has also assisted our efforts by providing valuable data. He has served as University UCC’s volunteer data gatherer and statistician for many years, compiling the information from our pew pads on a weekly basis.