What happens after Rev. Ellen leaves at the end of May?
In the business world, when one person resigns, someone is hired quickly to replace them. Not so in churches. The time between ministers is an opportunity for the spiritual community to catch up with what it has become and consider where it wants to go.
The board voted Monday to hire a transitional ministry consultant from Unity Worldwide Ministries, Rev. Monica Driscoll, to shepherd the church through this process.
Starting in late June, Monica will make monthly visits to the church to speak on Sundays, meet with board and staff, and conduct town halls for the congregation.
Rev. Monica will help the community learn more about itself through workshops including Honoring Our Past, Creating Our Future and reviewing the vision, mission and core values of the church.
After a few months, Rev. Monica also will help the board put together a search team and create a packet of information for ministerial candidates to let them know more about the church and what the congregation wants in its next minister. When the search team has looked at resumes and conducted interviews, the top candidates will be invited to tryout at the church, perhaps early next year.
Other Sundays will be filled by guest speakers.
And what about Rev. Melinda Wood Allen, our associate minister and music director?
Monica Driscoll, the consultant, told our board that UWM would discourage having Melinda step into a role as temporary minister. Someone who has been working at a church during its transition period has an unfair advantage as an applicant for the permanent job, she said.
Melinda’s ordination is not through Unity Worldwide Ministries, so she was given two choices:
- She could remain as music director and speak occasionally during the transition period, but she would not be eligible to apply for the permanent minister’s job,
- OR she could leave the church entirely and apply for the permanent job when it’s time. She would also then present the board with her plan to seek a Unity ordination.
Melinda has chosen to leave the church so she will have the option to apply for the senior minister’s position later. She has written a letter to the congregation that Rev. Ellen will read Sunday.
Now, what happens with our music? Stay tuned!
Remember, if you have thoughts or ideas anytime during this transition process, you can reach the board and others involved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.