President’s Column

Board work for February will involve a coordinated effort, one that includes the Committee on Shared Ministry, to conduct an annual assessment of the ministries of the church. Although not in its final form, our plan is to interview a randomized group of approximately 30 congregants using a specific list of ten questions. Each interview will take about 30 minutes. Read the New Ministries Assessment Questions.

The protocol we’re going to use can be replicated again in the future, so that each year, there’s a known process to review the work of our minister and our important church ministries. If a member isn’t selected randomly in the first year to respond to the questions, then they might be selected in the second or third year. A different, yet representative group of people, will be responding each year, reflecting our covenantal relationship to each other. We are all part of the whole, and each one of us holds our unique knowledge of the workings of our congregation. Answers to the selected questions will help inform the Board as it makes its decision about our future ministry at UUCLV. The Board retains the power to make that decision, but is opening its process to input from you in a fair and confidential way.

At this time, we’d like to be certain that all church members and friends understand our ministerial position. Pastor Madelyn is a contract minister, which is one form of a transitional minister, a professional who is hired by the board on a year-to-year basis. As she concludes her third year with us, we are giving very careful thought to our next steps in professional leadership.

We cannot select a Search Committee until this March, at the earliest, if the congregation decides we need a settled minister for the 2023 – 2024 program year. It takes that long to go through the process to bring a settled minister to a church. We can consider another transitional minister for the 2022–2023 year, who would need to be a consulting (one year at a time) or an interim (2 years usually), or a developmental (3–5 years at a time) minister.

The realities of our situation, in my mind, include:

  • having no permanent place to meet
  • the inability to meet in person currently
  • a full range of volunteers and functioning committees in place
  • a moderately healthy financial picture
  • virtual platform worship services attended by 50 – 75 screens on a weekly basis
  • a well-attended Breakfast Forum on most Sundays
  • significant strides made toward 8th principle work for the last year and a half
  • the creation of a new Multicultural Committee
  • Pastoral Care Team in place under the supervision of Pastor Madelyn
  • two Covenant Groups now functioning
  • virtual Religious Education (this program has been wounded the most, young people being the ones most hurt by the delay in vaccination availability, the high use of virtual platforms, inconsistent in-person school, and the cancellation of so many other vital activities).

If you are asked to be one of the respondents to our Ministries Assessment interview, we hope that you’ll say yes, and give us your best sense of how the congregation is functioning for you. We’ll be very grateful for your participation.

—Karen West, UUCLV Board President