January Ministerial Search Update: Minister Applications, Interviews and Narrowing the Field 

January Ministerial Search Update: Minister Applications, Interviews and Narrowing the Field 

December has been a time of preparation for Ministerial Candidate interviews. Using feedback from the Congregational Surveys, Cottage Meetings and Focus Groups, the Search Committee has drafted screening forms and interview questions to assist us in finding the best Minister to lead the East Shore Congregation into the future. 

On January 2, the UUA Transitions Office will release the names of the Ministerial Candidates from all over the United States who have submitted applications to become the next Settled Minister at East Shore. The Search Committee will read these applications, look through the Candidate’s websites, and listen to their recorded sermons. Using the screening forms, the Search Committee will choose the Ministerial Candidates who are the best match for East Shore and conduct virtual interviews. By the end of January, we hope to have two or three precandidates selected. 

During February and March, each of our Precandidates will spend a weekend meeting with the Search Committee, learning more about East Shore, participating in more in-depth interviews, and giving a sermon at a Neutral Pulpit. The precandidate process is entirely confidential. Search Committee members will not provide any information about these candidates or the neutral pulpits. Part of the reason for confidentiality is that ministers generally do not inform their current congregations they are leaving until they have an offer from another congregation. 

During March, we will have the difficult job of selecting the minister we feel is the best fit to lead our congregation into the future.  If the minister is mutually inclined, we would announce the candidate to the congregation in the first part of April. Then the candidate will visit us for 8 days, already scheduled for April 24-May 1. Back up dates are May 1-8. They will be on campus to meet our congregation and lead a service at either end of their time. Immediately after that last service, the congregation will vote on calling them to be our next settled minister. 

We will provide an update in the next Beacon.  Meanwhile, you are welcome to contact us by emailing us.     

Ministerial Search: Update and the Next Chapter 

Ministerial Search: Update and the Next Chapter 

Dear East Shore Family,

The Ministerial Search Committee has been hard at work in the month of November and we want to share our progress and share our immense gratitude for the outpouring of participation and support from the East Shore community.

In November, we completed the 16 separate Focus Groups that were started in October. As with the Cottage Meetings, the Right Relations team helped us facilitate these group discussions. And again, folks were invited to respond to the same basic questions as in the Cottage Meetings and share any particular perspective that their identity within the specific Focus Group might give them. In each group, a search committee member took notes from these groups and compiled the output into a summary that will be shared with the new minister candidates to help round out their understanding of who we are collectively. These summaries also informed our Congregational Record.

Speaking of the Congregational Record, it is a report that every congregation seeking a new settled Minister must build out based on over 60 prompts provided by the UUA.  (UUA is Unitarian Universalist Association, a support organization which all recognized UU congregations belong to.) Some of these prompts required straight-forward responses, such as the names and positions of our staff and board. Most of them however required a great deal of research, compilation and editing. The team spent many dozens of hours in November to put it together. We solicited input on historical and operational areas from the board and staff. For the many prompts that covered the congregation’s aspirations, accomplishments, joys, concerns, needs, reasons for being here and desires for growth, we consulted all of our findings from the Congregational Survey, the Cottage Meetings, the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshops, and Focus Groups.

In the end, the completed Congregational Record is roughly 70 pages long! We submitted it to the UUA during Thanksgiving week and we expect their approval on December 2. We will immediately share the record with the congregation so please check out the member news section on to find it. And please come to the Monthly Board Listening Session on Saturday, December 4 at 10:00 am where there will be members of the Search Committee on hand to hear your feedback.

What’s Next?

Our next steps are to prepare for the application and selection process. In December, we will be preparing ourselves for early January when we will receive and review all our applications. We will then review them all as a team and select a number with which to have zoom interviews.  By the end of January, we will select 2 or 3 applicants which we believe would be excellent fits for East Shore; these will be our pre-candidates.

From February to early April, will be pre-candidacy and if all goes well a selection of our new settled Minister. We have also been preparing for this phase, and we will share an update of our plans and next steps in next month’s Beacon article. In that communication, we will also share ways that you can help contribute to the successful welcoming and onboarding of our new Settled Minister. Of course, if you have any inquiries in the meantime, you may reach out to the team via our e-mail: [email protected]

Thanks again for all the wonderful support and input from our East Shore family.

Sincerely, ESUC Ministerial Search Committee

Add to the Congregational Record

If you haven’t had the chance to provide input for the Congregational Record, please feel free to email the Search Committee.  We value every member’s feedback.

Email [email protected]

  • “How would you describe this congregation to its prospective ministers? To prospective members? To a close, non-member friend?”
  • “Looking back, after our minister has been with us a year, what will be your measures of success? What achievements will make you say you’re glad the minister is among you

Register Now for Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop and Cottage Meetings

Dear East Shore Members & Friends,

The Ministerial Search Committee is inviting you to participate in two important online events:
• Ministerial Search Cottage Meetings: September 19, 22, 26, & 30.
• Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop: October 1-2

Read below for details on each:

Cottage Meetings: Happening This Month

Everyone is invited to attend one of several online cottage meetings which will take place during the last two weeks of September. We will use breakout rooms in the meetings to ensure small enough groups so that everyone will get a chance to participate. Participants will discuss with others in their group what they believe are the strengths, needs, and aspirations of our church community. There will be a representative of the committee to facilitate and take notes.

Please register HERE for the date you plan to attend!

  • Sunday, September 19 (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)
  • Wednesday, September 22 (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
  • Sunday, September 26 (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)
  • Thursday, September 30 (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm)

Beyond Categorical Thinking: October 1 & 2


Chances are, you thought of both. And distinct images perhaps came to mind. In terms of a minister, what images came to mind? Was it a person of a particular gender, race, or age?

Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT) is a highly recommended part of the search process for our congregation. (see registration details at the bottom of this email). The UUA Transitions office states that prospective ministers look favorably on congregations which have engaged in this workshop. In finding the person who would be the best match for our minister, we could potentially overlook or even let biases keep us from knowing that a particular person would be the best match for us.

Other congregations have assumed that their ideal minister looks a certain way, and often ministers who are not white or male or heterosexual or able-bodied or of a particular age or class are discounted and seen as “less than” in some ways.

Credentialed ministers in our faith who are People of Color, LGBTQ+, disabled, young, old, working class, etc. still face discrimination as part of the ministerial search process. In our efforts to find the best match, our congregation will host a BCT workshop on October 1 and 2, and a worship service on October 3.

We will have a UUA trainer come and meet with our Search Committee, facilitate the workshop conversations, and lead the Sunday service, where we will have a chance to examine how we can avoid letting prejudice become a part of our search process. Our Search Team is particularly pleased to have Amanda Schuber as our trainer because she has led this workshop many times, is standing for her final ministerial exam this fall, and was the Search Team’s retreat coach.

Attending this workshop is yet another way for us to put our faith into lived experience and improve the odds that, regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for us and who will serve us well. This opportunity allows the entire congregation fuller participation in the search process. It will allow us to explore our hopes and concerns for a new minister, learn more about the search process, and recognize our own biases (both personal and congregational) to expand our choices in this search.

Please register HERE and mark your calendars for East Shore’s virtual BCT workshop on October 1, 7-8:30 PM and October 2, 10-11:30 AM.

Once registered you will receive a zoom link for the workshop.


Congregational Survey: Deadline September 21

Everyone is strongly encouraged to take the Congregational Survey. This survey is an opportunity for members to share information about themselves, their relationship with East Shore, and their hopes and concerns for our future as a community. Please complete by September 21. Please contact the office if you would like a physical copy of the survey mailed to you.

ESUC Ministerial Search Committee

Julie Heise joins Ministerial Search Committee 

Caroline Haessly recently resigned from the Ministerial Search Committee. Per East Shore Bylaws, the Board may appoint a replacement. The Search Nominating Committee was asked to recommend an East Shore member from among those already nominated by the congregation in April and May. At its September 8 meeting, the Board approved the appointment of Julie Heise to the Search Committee. She joins Ann Fletcher, David Langrock, Leta Hamilton, Connie Hirnle, Dave Baumgart and Martin Cox in this important work.

by Search Nominating Committee (Signe Lalish-Menagh, Milly Mullarky, Paul Buehrens, Amelie Heise, Mary Anderson)

Ministerial Search: Update and the Next Chapter 

Ministerial Search Committee: Building our Future Together 

Hello East Shore Community!

We are delighted to have begun in earnest our journey as your Ministerial Search Committee. Back in June, at the Annual Congregational Meeting, you all entrusted us with the sacred duty of faithfully, inclusively, and transparently conducting East Shore’s Search for our next Settled Minister. In this first of many communications to the congregation as the Search Committee we will re-introduce the team to you, catch you up on what we’ve been up to, and most importantly tell you how you can get involved and stay informed.

Who We Are and What We’ve Been Up To 

We are, in alphabetical order, Dave Baumgart, Martin Cox, Ann Fletcher, Leta Hamilton, Connie Hirnle, and David Langrock. Since our formation as a committee, we have really gotten to know each other, participated in a two-day retreat, established our committee covenant, decided who would take on each of the many specific roles within the committee and begun to meet 2-3 times per month.

At our retreat, we were led by Amanda Schuber, herself a UUA ordained minister, who has been specially trained to coach UU ministerial search committees. She was amazing and really helped us grow in our understanding of the process that the UUA have developed over many years. As a result of the retreat, we recognize that while there is a lot of work ahead of us, we are brimming with commitment and confidence that we can do it – with the help of the congregation of course!

Upcoming Opportunities for You to Get Involved 

The first phase of the Ministerial Search is where we need each and every one of you to participate, as together we discover what are our needs, desires, and concerns as a congregation and we dream, imagine and hope for what the congregation will become in the future. There are no less than four ways to participate.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to take the Congregational Survey starting immediately. This survey is an opportunity for members to share information about themselves, their relationship with East Shore, and their hopes and concerns for our future as a community. Please follow this link and complete by September 21. Please contact the office if you would like a physical copy of the survey mailed to you.

Additionally, everyone is invited to attend one of several online Cottage Meetings which will take place during the last two weeks of September. We will use breakout rooms in the meetings to ensure small enough groups so that everyone will get a chance to participate. Participants will discuss with others in their group what they believe are the strengths, needs, and aspirations of our church community. There will be a representative of the committee to facilitate and take notes. Follow this link to sign up. If there is demand for in-person or extra online cottage meetings, we will try to accommodate those in October.

Another exciting way to participate is to attend our online Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop. This educational opportunity helps a congregation be mindful of and take steps to counter systemic and personal biases during the minister transition.  Participants will learn about issues of race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, visible and invisible disabilities, health concerns, and sexual orientation.  We are fortunate to have our Search Retreat Coach, Amanda Schuber as leader the two-part workshop October 1, 7-8:30 PM and October 2, 10-11:30 AM. Details including signup instructions will be made available on the church website as the date approaches. Stay tuned.

Finally, we will be facilitating a number of Focus Groups as an opportunity in this process to better represent groups within our community whose voices otherwise may be marginalized or unheard. These group discussions are expected to occur as early as October. More information about these groups will be shared as the plan develops.

What Comes Next and How to Stay Informed 

This brings us to the next phases of the Search.   Our long-range timeline includes:

  • Fall: Complete congregational input to the UUA
  • Winter: Interview Candidates
  • Spring: Determine Final Candidate
  • May: If we have a successful match, Final Candidate Visit to ESUC and Congregational Vote
  • August: New Settled Minster starts

Meanwhile, the congregation can expect a monthly Beacon article from Search Committee, as well as updated information in e-Blasts, Facebook, and on the website (Click here to go to our Ministerial Search web page). For any inquiries, please email the Search Committee at [email protected].

Our journey together is beginning, our mission always awaits us, and our visions are bent on loving,

Search Committee
Web Page: https://esuc.org/about-us/ministerial-search/