2023 Ministerial Search Team
Be Involved in our Ministerial Search!
The survey is now closed. We deeply appreciate the over 170 responses from friends and members of First Parish!
|Congregational Listening Sessions||Sign up for a one-hour small group session where you can share your desires and concerns of the First Parish community.|
|Breaking Barriers, Building Beliefs||
Sign up for a UUA workshop on October 14, 9AM – 12noon. Designed to promote inclusive thinking and help to prevent discrimination in our search for a new minister.
|Focus Groups with FP Committees and Groups||
(top row) Kristin Moore, Lora Venesy, Kristin Haddad, Eric Van Loon
(bottom row) Jeff Clanon, Sara Ballard, Peter Lowitt, Sara Ballard
We’re working closely with Rev. Seth and the UUA staff for ministerial transitions. Just like you, we want a good outcome for First Parish and we will keep you informed as we follow the UUA’s recommended process.
First Parish Weekly Updates
Sept 24, 2023: How is a New England barn raising like the FPMinisterial Search process?
I worked at Gaining Ground for five years, a nonprofit, organic farm here in Concord. If you’ve been there, you’ve seen the big, beautiful barn next to the fields. I was part of the team that did the fundraising and barn raising for that structure.
The barnraising was an all-day event – we gathered a lot of people, shared food, maybe there was music. Most of the time we milled about, chatting, just doing the fun work of a community gathering together.
But then, there were four times when everyone was asked to pitch in for a big lift. It took everyone’s concentration and following directions to lift those four big walls into place.
So, I know you are busy with your own lives and you’re doing the work of First Parish right now, that community gathering work that happens throughout the year here.
But your Search Team is asking you for three big lifts in the next few weeks.
- Respond to the Ministerial Search survey by September 30. Takes 20 – 30 minutes. Responses are confidential and anonymous.
- Sign up for a Listening Session. One-hour sessions, they will run through October. These are small groups (10 people) where you can freely share what is important to you about the future of First Parish and what that means for our next minister.
- Attend the UUA workshop on October 14. It starts at 9 AM, and the 3-hour event promotes inclusive thinking and helps to prevent discrimination in our search for a new minister.
These three walls need to be strong to get us to where we can attract candidates over the winter. And yes, a barn has four walls. There will be one more big lift, but that won’t happen until April-May during our Candidating week.
Thank you for adding your shoulder and lifting up First Parish’s Ministerial Search!
Sept 22, 2023: Congregational Listening Sessions & Breaking Barriers, Building Beliefs Workshop
What draws us to First Parish? How do we feel about our experiences in our community?
These are important questions to think about as we search for a new minister to lead our congregation. Please sign up to attend one of the First Parish Listening Sessions starting on Sunday, September 24.
The Search Committee and the Transition Team are conducting Listening Sessions to better understand the experiences of our congregation. We’ll communicate what we learn back to our congregation, and use this information to significantly inform the ministerial search.
Each session is 1 hour long. All voices, thoughts & ideas will be heard & recorded anonymously. Sessions will be “Small Group” style discussions with a max of 10 participants. Each conversation is judgment-free.
For caregivers with young children, we want to support your participation. There are AM sessions that are family-friendly, but you may also contact us in the days before a session to set up childcare.
A facilitator will lead sharing around each of three topics:
1) What experiences do you seek here? What about our community is important to you? What, for you, makes FP worth showing up for?
2) What gets in the way of satisfying experiences at FP? What complicates your relationship to FP? What gets in the way of satisfying experience here – from inside FP, or from outside FP?
3) What kind of minister is the minister for you? What are you personally hoping for in your next minister? What aspects would be most important for you? What would be a letdown for you?
View schedule & sign up HERE
If you are not able to attend, please take a look at the questions and send one of us an email. We’ll treat that as if we heard that in one of the sessions (no names) and get that into the notes.
Listening Sessions are a ritual of community. By participating together, we listen to each other and gain a better appreciation and understanding for others’ experiences, recognizing that we are both individually unique and part of something bigger than ourselves.
Breaking Barriers, Building Beliefs
The Ministerial Search Team at First Parish in Concord invites you to to UUA-led workshop called Breaking Barriers, Beyond Beliefs (B4). This three-hour workshop is designed to promote inclusive thinking and help to prevent discrimination in our search for a new minister. Keith Krohn, the transitions director at the UUA will lead a hybrid session of this workshop for our congregation on Saturday, October 14. View schedule & sign up HERE
Sept 15, 2023: Inviting you to dive IN to the Ministerial Search journey.
Your input and your aspirations for First Parish are what ministerial candidates will be evaluating. How do you want to invite our next minister? How do you want to inspire them for our future journey together? Your involvement matters!
In our initial training with the UUA, they shared with us that the Search process is full of anxiety.
- You, members and friends of First Parish, are anxious to get a good outcome
- Your Search Team is anxious to get a good outcome
- The First Parish staff are anxious to get a good outcome
- The ministers who are considering pulling up roots and joining us on our journey, are anxious to get a good outcome
And the definition of a good outcome is probably as individual as we are.
I offer four suggestions to help us all deal with this anxiety:
Be INformed. This one-page overview describes the search team process and how you are involved. Where we are counting on you for your input has already started with the kick-off of our congregation-wide survey.
Be INvolved! Take 30 minutes and reply to the survey before the end of the month. In October, look for a Listening Sessions where you have the opportunity to share what matters most to you. If you are in a First Parish Group or Committee, schedule time for a Focus Group that the Search Team is doing together with the Transition Team.
Be INviting. You know people who have drifted from First Parish. We need to hear their voices. Encourage them to participate in these activities. Send them a friendly email with the link to the survey. Let them know you want them to feel included in shaping the future for First Parish.
Be INspired. When your emotional energy is tied up in feeding your fears, it’s hard to imagine the great possibilities that change offers. I invite you to unplug from some of that anxiety so we can attract our next minister with a vision of a brighter day for First Parish.
Informed, involved, inviting, inspired. Be all IN on Search!
Many thanks for your deep caring for the future of First Parish,