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Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop Review

There were big smiles all around from all members of the search committee after the UUA workshop on Sunday, August 26th.  The Beyond Categorical thinking workshop, the first official event for the congregation to participate in the search, was attended by over 60 members of the congregation.  This represents well over half of our members and blew UUA averages out of the water! 

 The objective of the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop is to get congregations to think differently about themselves and about our expectations for what a minister looks like or ‘is like’.  The workshop is designed to allow the entire congregation fuller participation in the search process and to explore our hopes and concerns for a new minister.

Our service on August 26th was led by UUA facilitator Eddy Carroll - who flew in from Denver to run this workshop for us.  His sermon, A Hopeful Journey, reflected on learning from challenges and the importance of always being hopeful.  After a short break and early lunch, the 60 or so people assembled to listen to Eddy talk about the search process and provide insight into biases that could hold us back.  At one point in the workshop, Eddy has us break into groups, where we discussed pointed questions and scenarios about how to recognize, discuss, and overcome biases.  We discussed both our own biases and those of the others around us.  The search team was thrilled by the level of engagement.  "I learned a lot about the people in my group.  They were passionate and really wanted to provide me with ideas and insight.  I think I got more out of the small group session than they did!," said Amy Evans, search committee member.

As part of the workshop, all attendees filled out an information survey.  You can see that information in the article below.  There is also information about searches going on across the US – data from the UUA.

 During the wrap up and thank yous - Eddy told the congregation how impressed he was with the turnout and the level of engagement.  He said, "I will be telling people about you - and how involved this congregation is."  Given that ministers in search put a lot of effort into 'asking around' about congregations they may apply to - this is great news.

 Thank you to everyone who attended.  Up next - the search survey.  Our ministerial candidates look at statistics on participation in the search process, so 100% participation is our goal.

 

Here’s what YOU had to say…

The congregation showed great support for the first major milestone in the process of calling our new settled minister, by turning out in great numbers for the Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) workshop, held on August 26.  Nearly half of our total membership was in attendance, which is much greater participation than other congregations have experienced.  Yay for SFUU!

We were fortunate to have as our guest facilitator, Eddy Carrol of Denver, Colorado.  Eddy is one of the most-experienced leaders in the BCT program, having worked with over 150 congregations in nearly 20 years of this work.  After leading our worship service, Eddy guided us in identifying any possible concerns if the congregation were to call a minister in any of a number of “categories” – i.e., a person of color, someone with a disability, someone who identifies as LGBTQ, etc.  Following time for introspection and small-group discussion, Eddy summarized the concerns applicable to each category and provided some additional perspective on how we might address these going forward.  If you are interested in seeing the details of the survey from the BCT workshop, please contact Amy Evans or Rick Marshall.

 

Ministerial Search in the UUA -Who’s in the pool?

As SFUU conducts its search for a new settled minister, we are not alone.  Here are some facts and figures about who else is in the search with us:

In 2017-18, 47 congregations were in search.  In 2018-19, 42 congregations are in search.

Last year, there were 85 ministers in search in the UUA.  Over 10% of these were persons of color.  Over 1/3 identified as LGBTQ.  Six ministers were open about disability/health condition, while an equal number were “closeted” in their search for fear of reprisal.  60% of those searching were women, 3% trans, 37% men.  The age of ministers in search ranged from 27 to 73.  We have not yet reached the point in the process for 2018-19 where ministers identify whether they are searching, so we do not have any figures for the current year.

The average length of a settled ministry is about 7 years.

Congregations on the coasts are more likely to be popular than congregations in the center of the country.

For most ministers, ministry is now the second income in their household if they are partnered/married.  So, ministers often limit their search to places they believe their spouse/partner can get a job.  How much a congregation pays matters a lot!  Additionally, the question of affordability of housing comes into play.