Dear First Church,
We all have heard from members of the congregation wanting to understand more about the staffing changes we announced last month, so we are sharing an update here on the members of the interview team, the job posting, and the current status of the hiring process for the new Assistant Minister.
We are also inviting you to a Town Hall meeting to gather and connect about both this process and our vision for the future.
Interview Team and Hiring Process Update
We are pleased to report that David Deese, Rick Hawkins, and Abby Donner have all agreed to join Rev. Chris in interviewing candidates for the Assistant Minister position. David—FCB Parish Board Vice-President and Chair of the Compensation Committee—has been involved in lifespan religious education and served on numerous committees over many years. Rick has served in Small Group Ministry, led a number of adult programs, and been a facilitator of Our Whole Lives. Abby has two teenage kids raised in this church and has served in our religious education programs for children and youth, including the most recent iteration of the K-12 Religious Education Committee.
The job posting here, created by Rev. Chris in conjunction with the Staffing Structure Task Force, has been shared with the New England UU Ministers groups and submitted to the national jobs board of the UUA. In addition, we are in the process of creating a Religious Education Committee to support the new Assistant Minister and to actively engage the entire congregation.
We have had a few potential applicants reach out, and we plan to conduct interviews over the next few weeks. The team will share updates and hopes to have a recommended candidate to bring to the Parish Board by the end of February.
Upcoming Town Hall Meeting
To respond to questions about our process before we are engaged in the final steps of hiring a candidate, we are inviting the congregation to a Town Hall meeting on Sunday, February 11, at 12:30 pm.
This open Town Hall meeting will be an opportunity for you to learn about the circumstances and details that led us to make these staffing changes at this time. Members of the Parish Board, the Staffing Structure Task Force, and the Finance and Compensation Committees will be on hand to share context, including the roles of the Parish Board and of the Minister—as Head of Staff—in hiring staff and in deciding on and implementing other major staff changes. The Finance Committee will present the financial realities we are facing, and the Compensation Committee will share information about the current realities around benefits and our shared goal of being an equitable and values-based employer.
Rev. Chris will then share information about the implications of declining numbers of children and youth participating in Sunday programming at First Church and in UU churches nationally. He will also share his vision for our staff to continue to provide innovative and engaging programming for people of all ages, building on the best of what we have been doing and on the strengths of our programs.
After these presentations, there will be time for you to share your questions and concerns.
As always, feel free to reach out to either of us about any of this at any time. We've had many meaningful and productive conversations with so many of you already, and we look forward to many more.
In community and appreciation,
Rev. Chris and Laurie Graham, Parish Board President