So Much to Say, So Little Space to Say It! (aka Stay Tuned for More….)

photo of Ryan WilliamsWow! For a while, under the cloud of Covid, it seemed like everything moved so slowly that I often wasn’t even sure what day it was. January alone I think lasted 500 years.

Now, however, though the cloud isn’t gone just yet, the fog has somewhat cleared and suddenly the last month has shifted into high gear and feels as if it is moving 500 miles per hour instead!
So what does that mean? It means that the blog that I intended to write in advance is instead being pumped out on Thursday morning with only moments to spare. It means a few more hairs in my beard turned to grey. It means that Tish in the office once again deserves a gold medal for dealing with me. It also means that for this blog entry, you can expect fewer flowery words and more straight to the point words instead! (I am sure that there are at least a few of you out there breathing a sigh of relief upon reading that one, right?) Yep, this month, though I have a lot to share, I only have a short time to share it and heck, on top of that, I figure getting straight to the point might be the best way for people to actually remember it. Know that as you go along, keep track of any questions or comments and bundle them all together and let’s talk.

Here we go….

Interim Search

  • A week ago this past Monday, the UUA released a list of 7 interim ministry candidates. These candidates had been pre-screened in order to look for aligned skill sets and values. They represented locations ranging from Florida all the way to Michigan.
  • We spent the first few days reviewing their extensive packets and viewing their ministerial websites before narrowing down our decision to 5.
  • Between last Friday and this past Tuesday, we completed reference checks and held 90 minute interviews with each of the 5 candidates. 
  • Since finishing the last interview, we have continued to meet as a committee to discuss what we saw as the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates and look for further alignment between each candidate and our congregation. We have currently narrowed the selection to 3 candidates.
  • In the coming days, we will be working independently and collectively as we dig in a little deeper into each candidate’s history and worship style before making a final determination for ranking these 3 candidates.
  • By this coming Monday, we will have submitted to the UUA Transitions Office the names of the top 3 candidates ranked in preferential order. Once the submission date has closed, the UUA office will then work to connect the ranking preferences of candidates and congregations. (Remember, it is not just UUCA making a decision about interim ministers but also a decision that interim ministers are making about congregations! Ex. one of our candidates was deciding between 9 different congregations!)
  • No matter which of the 3 candidates ends up becoming our interim, we are confident that they will do an excellent job. As a committee, we have discussed repeatedly about the high caliber of candidates we have spoken with, all being incredibly thoughtful, intelligent, and skilled. I also would like to note that the three candidates in this final round have all deeply impressed us with their experience and their passion and their vision for how anti-oppression work can and should be a part of the interim process before us!
  • Stay tuned for more! 

Annual Meeting

As many of you will recall from last year, restrictions and limitations due to Covid resulted in a shift in how we conduct our Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, though things have improved greatly, it has been decided that the current reality does not yet support a physical gathering for the Annual Meeting. More information will be shared in the coming week but for now, the general basics are as follows:

  • In lieu of our Annual Meeting, this year’s vote will instead take place via online or mail-in ballots.
  • Issues and actions on the agenda will include approving the meetings and notes from last year’s process and vote, voting on the proposed budget for the coming year, voting on new members for the Board of Trustees and the Leadership Development Committee, and voting on a temporary change to the by-laws.
  • Information on each of these issues will be shared via an Annual Meeting webpage, via Facebook updates and links, UUCA email, and via paper copies formats for those not using internet formats as frequently.
  • Of course, any questions and comments people have are gladly received at the board email, board@uuasheville.org or via phone call or text at 919-619-7298. However, we are working to finalize an alternative and additional communication outlet so that you may reach out and record your thoughts directly through the Annual Meeting webpage. It will be our hope that this format will allow not only for individuals to share their own thoughts but for fellow congregants to see and consider them as well. This information will be part of the information shared in the coming week.
  • Once the voting period is open in early June, it will remain open for approximately 2 weeks to allow for a greater opportunity to participate.
  • Stay tuned for more!

General Assembly

  • Much like our own Annual Meeting, the UUA’s General Assembly (GA) will again take place virtually just as it did last year. For those who are unclear about GA, it is the annual meeting for the entire Unitarian Universalist Association during which participants worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association via the democratic process. 
  • Congregants are welcome to participate as individual participants or as delegates. Delegates have the opportunity to vote on behalf of UUCA which is an exciting and important way for having your voice heard in shaping the process and priorities of our denomination! 
  • The dates are scheduled for June 23rd-27th.
  • Registration for the event is $200. There are funds available for supporting those who would like to attend and participate in GA.
  • A tremendous amount of information can be found at www.uua.org/ga including schedules, routines, issues, workshops, and speakers. (Stacy Abrams is the Ware lecturer! Woop Woop!)
  • So I know that attending a virtual General Assembly might sound a little boring. I thought the same thing myself last year prior to attending myself. Luckily, I was totally surprised and excited by how inspiring, informative, and powerful it felt to be a part of this virtual experience! And the music…..Wow! If you have any questions about the experience, the roles of attendees versus delegates, or would like to inquire about the financial support available, please reach out to me via phone or email!
  • Stay tuned for more!

So despite having stripped down my typical writing style from a meandering Kerouac-like ramble to a more direct, to the point bullet approach, this has still gone on too long! I say it over and over but if while reading through all of this, you have anything you want to say or share or inquire about, I am here! 919-619-7298 or at board@uuasheville.org.

Hope you are all well and I look forward to the day when I see you all again!

Ryan Williams, President, Board of Trustees