transition sqsmSearch Process
Ministerial Search Team  
Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti Information



The Ministerial Search Team (MST) was entrusted by the congregation with the important and sacred task of selecting a candidate to be the next called Senior Minister of UUAA. The Ministerial Search Team completed the work required to attract and then interview and select the best possible candidate to be our next settled minister. The members of the UUAA congregation voted on the final decision of whether or not to call the candidate. That vote to call a minister will took place on May 6, 2018 with a unanimous decision to call the Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti as the 13th Senior Minister of UUAA.

The Unitarian Universalist Association provides extensive resources to support and facilitate the search process, including the Settlement Handbook which describes in great detail the milestones a successful Ministerial Search Team will work toward and how best to achieve them. As we follow the steps outlined in that document, we are also receiving guidance from our Interim Senior Minister Rev. Doug Wadkins, our regional Ministerial Settlement Representative, Rev Lynn Kerr, and the UUA Transitions Office.

The Ministerial Search Team worked to communicate with the congregation regularly and to be as transparent as possible about all of our activities.

Here is a summary of the Ministerial Search Team's tasks now completed--

-- Listen to the Congregation: All congregants played a role in the search process. The first job of the MST was to collect information and listen to the diverse viewpoints of all UUAA members and friends to allow us to write a realistic and inspiring description of our congregation in 2017. What are our demographics? What brings us to UUAA and what programs are most important to us now and for our future? What sort of minister do we want to walk with us and share in achieving our goals for the 2020's? To answer these questions, the MST encouraged EVERYONE to take part in:

  • The All Congregation Survey - 400 people completed the survey.
  • A Search Listening Session - About 50 people took part in these discussions.


-- Submit Information about UUAA to the ministers who are in search: The "Congregational Record" is a summary of what our congregation looks like and what characteristics we would like to see in our next minister. It was first reviewed by our advisors and then submitted to the UUA to be posted on a web site that could be accessed by ministers who are in search. The web site included Congregational Records from all congregations in search - about 40 congregations.


-- Review applicant records: Ministers who were interested in becoming UUAA's Senior Minister provided detailed information via another UUA web site. The MST compared the minister's qualifications with UUAA needs. Four promising candidates were interviewed by video conference and 3 were then selected to be "pre-candidates". The MST and the pre-candidates then exchanged more detailed information. We provided an informational web site designed to allow pre-candidates to learn about UUAA's members, staff, programs, history and goals for the future.


-- Pre-candidating week ends: Each pre-candidate traveled to Ann Arbor for extensive interviews and a tour of the city and our church. On Sunday of the week end, the pre-candidate preached at a nearby church (not at UUAA) to give the MST a chance to see how the pre-candidate speaks and interacts with a congregation. To maintain confidentiality, pre-candidates only interacted with members of the search team.


-- Selection of a final candidate: The Ministerial Search Team reviewed all information on the pre-candidates, spent a good deal of time discerning, and determined which minister was the best possible fit for UUAA. A tentative offer was then extended to the final candidate.


-- Presentation of the candidate to UUAA [Candidating Week and the congregational vote]: The selected candidate came to Ann Arbor for a full week, preaching 2 Sundays and meeting congregants at events scheduled during the week between. After the service on the second Sunday, the members of the congregation (active member status required) voted on whether or not to call the candidate as our next Senior Minister.


The Ministerial Search Committee’s work took place over many months, requiring hundreds of hours. Throughout this process, input from the congregation was essential in determining the characteristics of the minister we want to join with in shared ministry. We are honored to have served the congregation in taking this important step in the path to our future.


 Questions about the process?

MidAmericaRgionPlease take time to visit the MidAmerica Region web information on ministerial transitions. This page includes some excellent short videos on aspects of ministerial transition. You can find the links on the right side of the web page for information about ministerial transition in general.




The UUA Transitions Office has many books and other resources available. They provide guidance for the search process and they coordinate search information by providing the web sites where applications are posted by congregations and ministers.





How many candidates showed interest in our Senior Minister position?

Fifteen ministers expressed interest in serving UUAA as Senior Minister.

How many ministers are in search for 2018 and how many positions are open?

About 80 ministers were in search for 48 positions. Some of these positions were part time, whereas ours is full time.

How do members of the congregation play a role in the search?

The congregation is the ultimate voice in selecting a new senior minister. First, the congregation elected people they know and trust to the Ministerial Search Committee (Search Team) to represent them. Then all congregants provided input to the Search Team through the survey and ‘listening sessions’ and in other ways as needed while the Search Team gathered information to provide to candidates. In the Spring, when the search team selected a final candidate, the members of the congregation voted to call the minister selected by their representatives on the Search Team.

What role does the UUA play in finding a new senior minister?

UU congregations are never directly assigned ministers as happens with some other denominations. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a Transitions Office that helps congregations conduct ministerial searches, providing materials and advice. Each congregation is free to use the UUA services or not. We did use the UUA process. They provided web sites where congregations post information about themselves and the minister they are seeking. UU ministers who were searching for positions accessed the web site and contacted congregations they were interested in talking to. The UUA office was a very valuable resource for advice along the way. The Search Team also worked with a Regional advisor or “MSR” and with our interim senior minister, Rev. Doug Wadkins.

Why can’t the Ministerial Search Team let the congregation know what ministers they are interviewing?

It is very important that the search team keep all information about ministerial candidates confidential, during the search and for years after. Some candidates have not told their congregations that they are looking at other positions. Thanks for your help with following all UUA recommended processes, including strict confidentiality!

How many other UU congregations were looking for full time senior ministers?

There were 48 congregations in search this year. Not all of those were looking for full time senior ministers.



Search Process  | Ministerial Search Team | Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti Information