Finding Our Next Settled Minister

The Survey is Complete

The results are in!  And, boy are they interesting.  Just a few fun facts compiled by Sue Oshiro-Zeier:  Our congregation is aging, with 76% of survey respondents over 50 and 63% over 60 years old.  Twenty percent of survey respondents have been associated with UUCV for more than 20 years!  Our church is also pretty engaged with the goings on at UUCV with 60% of survey respondents attending church at least three times a month, and 73% attending a congregational meeting.  41% of respondents have also attended or participated in a committee in the last year.

So, good for us!  Those facts and so many more, including in regards to our faith, our views on a new minister, and our feelings about our Sunday morning experience can be found in by clicking here to access the PDF.


Ministerial Search Committee Survey

  The time has come, the time is now.... for the MSC Survey!  As we build our Congregational Record to present to prospective ministers, we look to you for your input.  We are representing a much larger, more diverse, more dynamic group than just ourselves and we need your help to define that group.  This survey is a product of several months' work, including consulting with other churches who have recently been in search and performing our own analysis of what information is important for the Congregational Record.

 Some questions are lifted directly from the online Congregational Record that the UUA requires.  Some questions will better inform our 'long form' or 'free essay' answers.  And others will help us answer questions about this congregation and help us to present ourselves as honestly and well as we can.

  If you have not gotten the survey, have questions about the survey, are struggling with the survey, or need anything else having to do with the survey, please contact us.  Our email is  Alternatively, feel free to contact any of the seven MSC members - our contact information is in the Church Directory.  The survey will be active until September 25th - we want all people associated with the church to fill it out.

It's Summer! - UpdateCamillia0

 The sun is shining, the fish are jumping, and those lazy hazy crazy days of summer just keep rolling along.  And the Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) just keeps rolling along with it.  The following is a summary of what is happening this summer and the next steps in searching for, finding, and calling our new minister.

Our work in the last few months...

   ....has been centered on evaluating the task at hand and determining how best to assess the congregation to determine the answer to one simple question: What do we want in a minister?  Easier asked than answered.  The MSC has been working together to develop a series of questions that will help us in crafting a coherent answer to that question.  After careful consideration, it was decided to pursue an online survey (with paper copies available for those who do not use computers).  The MSC reviewed surveys from other churches recently in Search and tailored our questions to specifically address the people and issues present at UUCV.  The survey is set to roll out mid August.

   The MSC has also been collecting data, facts, and figures to assist in an accurate representation of UUCV.  The committee asked church leaders and staff for information related to budgets, demographic data, and historical events.  There is always room for more information: feel free to email the MSC directly at to contribute.

   Finally, the MSC is starting to coordinate this information into a comprehensive package.  This is what prospective ministers will see as they consider the next step in their ministry.  It will include letters and statements from the MSC and lay leaders as well as stories of our history, examples of social justice actions, and descriptions of our vibrant congregational life.   

 Coming Soon

 In the coming months, anticipate some visible action from the MSC including:

  • Congregational Survey, coming mid August.
  • Dynamic and interactive activity Homecoming Weekend
  • Hosting a UUA workshop entitled "Beyond Categorical Thinking"




May Update

The Ministerial Search Committee participated in an overnight retreat in early May to launch the process of searching for our new settled minister. Following guidelines from the Unitarian Universalist Association, the committee will work systematically over the next 12 months to gather information from the congregation about our needs and desires, develop a Congregational Record that describes our congregation to potential ministerial candidates, interview candidates and observe them preaching, and select a good match for the congregation to consider calling as our settled minister. If all goes well, we anticipate welcoming a new minister in August 2017!

Here is how we are dividing up our responsibilities:

• Co-Chairs and Communications: Mellie Hock and Elisa Wells
• Congregational Record development: Brian Willoughby
• Congregational Survey Coordinators (Fall)/Reference Checking (Spring): Dave Irwin and Sue Oshiro-Zeier
• Neutral Pulpit Arranger: Phil Giesy
• Recording Secretary: Dave Irwin and Sue Oshiro-Zeier
• Treasurer/Liaison to Salary Negotiation Committee: Joyce Tobias

While the names of potential candidates must be kept strictly confidential, we are happy to share information about our work as we progress. We will be planning plenty of opportunities for the congregation to give input into the process. Look for more information in Weekly Bulletins, The Servetan, the bulletin board in the foyer, and our UUCV website (under About Us/Settled Search). You can also reach the entire committee by email at

Meet our Ministerial Search Team! 








Sue Oshiro-Zeier 

January 28th Announcement

Please meet our Ministerial Search Committee (MSC).  Today our Board of Trustees announced the seven individuals you, the congregation, helped select for the MSC.  They will have a few months "off," before they begin their duties with an overnight retreat to learn all they need to know for this important job.   Pictured above, from left to right:  Brian Willoughby, Dave Irwin, Elisa Wells, Joyce Tobias, Mellie Hock, Phil Giesy, and Sue Oshiro-Zeier.   

The Board would like to thank all 15 people who were willing to serve, and regret that we could not choose them all.  You all have our deepest respect and thanks for your commitment to our church.

January 24th Congregational Meeting:  Time to Vote

It is time for the next exciting step in selecting our Ministerial Search Committee. On January 24, 2016, at 10:45 am, between services, UUCV will be holding a one-item congregational meeting to vote on the nominees for the Ministerial Search Committee.  Please check out the online voting guide (brochure) with information about the candidates, along with a sample of the ballot. You may also be interested in the cover letter that was sent to members, especially if you will be out of town on January 24th and need information about absentee voting.

November 8th Workshop

On Sunday, November 8th, we heard a presentation from our UUA representative, Rev. Duane Fickeisen, about the search process for our new "settled" minister. Among the things Duane discussed are the timelines and tasks involved in the search process, how the UUCV Ministerial Search Committee will be formed, and the qualities needed in a good search committee member.   If you missed the meeting, please review the handout, including answers to some of the frequently asked questions.  

DuaneSmallIN PROCESS: If you missed the November 8th meeting, you will also want to listen to this audio recording of the presentation.

Counting the formation of the Search Committee, which will take a few months, the search process will take place over a period of about 18 months.  The process will involve the whole congregation in one way or another.  For example, UUCV members will be asked to suggest people to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee.  That committee will be charged with gathering congregational input and seeking out the best minister for our church.  The candidate they select will spend about 10 days at our church, and may be "called" by a vote of the congregation.





Timeline for Searching for a Settled Minister


 This is a tentative timeline, based on our knowledge of the process at this time.  We will refine it as we learn more.

  • November 8, 2015: 2 pm transition meeting with UUA Ministerial Settlement Representative, Rev. Duane Fickeisen
  • November- December, 2015:  Congregation provides input to the Board concerning trusted members of the congregation who might serve as members of the search committee.
  • Late January or Early February: Congregation members vote on candidates for the UUCV ministerial search committee
  • Early February: Board announces final members of the search committee.  Members of the search committee establish date for their retreat.
  • February: Leadership D&D Committee works with Board to address impact of search committee selection on other volunteer positions. 
  • Spring 2016: Search committee retreat facilitated by UUA Ministerial Transition Team (MTT)
  • Spring 2016: Various search committee activities and decisions
  • April 2016: UUCV board of trustees designates a formal negotiating team
  • August 2016: Negotiating team develops basic contract, compensation, expense agreements
  • September 2016: UUA MTT workshops with UUCV leadership "Beyond Categorical Thinking"
  • October 2016: Search committee has clarified what exactly they are looking for in a candidate
  • November 2016: Search committee submits Congregational Record Sheet to UUA Transitions Office
  • December 2016: Ministers express interest through the UUA Transitions Office posting
  • January 2017: UUA Transitions Office passes along information on "pre-candidates" to UUCV
  • January 2017: Telephone or video interviews with approximately 5-8 pre-candidates
  • February 2017: Search committee invites 3-5 pre-candidates to Vancouver for interviews
  • March 2017: Pre-candidate interviews with UUCV search committee continue
  • April 7, 2017: Search committee makes telephone offer to first-choice pre-candidate at 7:00 am
  • May 2017: "Candidating Week" visit(s) by selected pre-candidate(s)
  • May 2017: Congregational vote on pre-candidate(s)
  • June 2017: Planning conversations for called minister
  • July 2017: New minister moves to Vancouver
  • August 2017: New minister begins in settled minister position

Glossary of Phrases and Terms Related to Searching for a Settled Minister

  • Called Minister:  A long-term or "settled" minister, such as Mark Gallagher was for UUCV.
  • Search Committee or Ministerial Search Committee (MSC): UUCV group elected to search for our next "called" or "settled" minister
  • UUA Transitions Office: National UUA office responsible for matching UU ministers and congregations
  • Ministerial Record Sheet: Online resume system maintained by UUA Transitions Office
  • Negotiating Team: UUCV team tasked with compensation and contract negotiations
  • Congregational Record Sheet: Online "help wanted" ad maintained at UUA Transitions OfficePre-Candidates: UU ministers who have expressed interest in a position to UUA Transitions Office

Selected Resources and Links

The UUCV "Interim Ministry" web page

Ministerial transition handout from March 14 congregational meeting

MP3 audio recording of March 14 congregational meeting

Unitarian Universalist Association Resources

 Previous Questions

  • How does the UUA support us in this process?

    The UUA has a tried and true process for churches seeking interim and settled ministers, which includes access to their online application portal and both in-person and written assistance from trained UUA representatives. They will provide training to the Ministerial Search Committee and help the negotiating team and the Board with other aspects of the search. They have already started helping us.

  • What are the expenses associated with the Ministerial Transition and how will we pay for it?

    We anticipate that the cost for finding a Settled Minister will cost around $20,000 to $25,000. We have received a $10,000 anonymous gift that will be dedicated to this fund, and will need to raise the remaining $10 to $15,000.

  • How and when will we select the ministerial Search Committee?

    Current plans are for the Board to ask our members to vote on the Search Committee in the spring of 2016. Prior to that time, members will be asked to indicate who, within our our congregation, they most trust to work as a team to conduct the search.

  • What if we call a new minister who is too spiritual for me? What if we call a minister who is too humanist for me?

    The church is more than individuals. A ministerial search is more than a popularity contest. The selected candidate will not be perfect and will not be everyone's first choice. After a search process conducted with integrity and love, our work as a community will be to make it work. To quote a recent UU World article, "We don't have to think alike to love alike."


  • What are we doing this time to avoid the loss of members we experienced with our last ministerial change?

    Yes, that was a difficult time. Some of us lost dear friends, and it was hard. This new transition will bring up some of that hurt. A strong majority of UUCV leadership believes that our community has matured in the last 20 years and is more open to discussing our differences, whatever the topic. In the past years, we have practiced being kinder to each other, opening ourselves to welcoming our differences, and listening with an open heart. This heightened awareness of "how we are when we are together" will serve us well.

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UUA is Already Providing Help in Understanding The Process

Nancy Bowen, UUA Regional Lead for Congregational Life, flew in from Denver on March 14 to meet with the UUCV congregation to explain the transition process. Here is an audio recording of her presentation. 

For further reference, the UUA has provided a manual on the transition process; see the Transitional Ministry Handbook.

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