Transition Year Two: What’s Ahead?

Photo of Rev. Dr. Cathy HarringtonDear ones,
As we begin our second year of interim ministry, I wanted to give you a brief overview of what to expect. The Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) has been assigned a Transitions coach with whom they will meet regularly. They will create a congregational survey and hold focus group meetings and cottage meetings so that your voices can be heard as they put together the congregational record that must be completed by late November. In early December, searching ministers will be able to review congregational packets to discern their next steps. Search Committees will receive names of ministers who have expressed interest in early January. They will review the interested ministers’ packets and schedule interviews to discern which of the ministers will become pre-candidates. From the pool of precandidates, the MSC will select one candidate and schedule Candidating Week sometime in April or May. This will be an 8-day week; the candidate will preach the first Sunday, spend the week meeting with committees, staff, congregants, etc. and preach again on the next Sunday. Following the service, the candidate departs, and the congregation votes to call (or not) this candidate as their next settled minister!

This will be a busy and exciting year for UU Asheville, and your participation is critical to the process. The first important event that we invite you to participate in is the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop scheduled for Saturday, August 20, from 9 am – 12noon. Rev. Keith Kron, the UUA Director of Transitions, will be here to facilitate that workshop, meet with the Search Committee, and preach a sermon that you won’t want to miss on Sunday. (You can read Keith’s bio and a description of the workshop below).

Sunday, August 21, Worship Service with Rev. Keith Kron: “The Future of Religion and Unitarian Universalism.”

Religion, including Unitarian Universalism, is at a moment in time. Can it survive? And what must it do in order to survive? What must we do? We’ll explore our place in today’s world, and why it’s metaphorical meteorites and not a comet that could wipe us out.

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop (Saturday, August 20, 9am–1pm Sandburg Hall)

THINK OF A MINISTER. DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT.

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 is a highly recommended part of the search process for our congregation. 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 Beyond Categorical Thinking worship service and workshop on Saturday, August 20, from 9 am – 12 pm. UUA Director of Transitions, Rev. Keith Kron will meet with our Search Committee, lead the Sunday service, and facilitate a three-hour conversation where will have a chance to examine how we can avoid letting prejudice become a part of our search process. This 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 see how our own history (both personal and congregational) might interfere with our efforts in this search.

So, come on Saturday, August 20, to participate in this service provided by the UUA. Our trainer will be Rev. Keith Kron.

About Rev. Keith Kron

Rev. Keith Kron is the Director of the Transitions Office for the UUA, helping congregations and ministers as they navigate the ministerial search process.
He is the former Director of the Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns for the Unitarian Universalist Association. He held that position for over 14 years, from 1996-2010.
He has visited over 450 UU congregations across the continent, helping them in Welcoming Congregation work, Beyond Categorical Thinking workshops, and public witness.
A former elementary school teacher, Keith, also taught an online class for Starr King School for the Ministry, our UU seminary in Berkeley, on children’s literature. He also leads workshops on the enneagram, plays and teaches tennis, and collects children’s books in his spare time (he has over 9,000 of them).
He currently lives in Providence, RI.

Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister