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Search Process
Ministerial Search Team  
Candidate Information



The Ministerial Search Team (MST) has been 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 will complete 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 vote on the final decision of whether or not to call the candidate. That vote to call a minister will take place next April. There is a lot to do in the meantime!

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 strives to communicate with the congregation regularly and to be as transparent as possible about all of our activities. Please be aware that there are some aspects of the search that need to remain confidential. It is especially important that we not reveal the names of ministers we are interviewing. Their current congregation might not know yet that they are in search of another position.

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

-- Listen to the Congregation: All of you are needed in the first part of the search process. The first job of the MST is 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 strongly encourages EVERYONE to take part in:

  • The All Congregation Survey
  • A Search Listening Session - These are small group discussions led by search team members


-- 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 is first reviewed by our advisors and then submitted to the UUA to be posted on a web site that can be accessed by ministers who are in search. The web site will include Congregational Records from all congregations in search - about 40 congregations.


-- Review applicant records: Ministers who are interested in becoming UUAA's Senior Minister provide detailed information via another UUA provided web site. The MST compares the minister's qualifications with UUAA needs. Promising candidates are interviewed by phone and 3 or 4 are then selected to be "pre-candidates". The MST and the pre-candidates then exchange more detailed information. We will provide an informational web site designed to allow pre-candidates to learn about UUAA's members, staff, programs, history and goals for the future.


-- Hold pre-candidating week ends: Each pre-candidate travels to Ann Arbor for extensive interviews and a tour of the city and our church. On Sunday of the week end, the pre-candidate preaches 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 will only interact with members of the search team.


-- Select a final candidate: The Ministerial Search Team will review all information on the pre-candidates, spend a lot of time discerning, and determine which minister is the best possible fit for UUAA. A tentative offer is then extended to the final candidate.


-- Present the candidate to UUAA [Candidating Week and the congregational vote]: The selected candidate comes 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) vote on whether or not to call the candidate as our next Senior Minister.


The Ministerial Search Committee’s work is underway and will take place over many months and hundreds of hours. Throughout this process, we need input from the congregation and look forward to hearing from everyone. We are honored and excited to serve 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?

Fourteen 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 are in search for 48 positions. Some of these positions are 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 elects people they know and trust to the Ministerial Search Committee (Search Team) to represent them. Then all congregants need to provide input to the committee through a survey and ‘listening sessions’ and in other ways as needed while the search team is gathering information to provide to candidates. In the Spring, when the search team selects a final candidate, the members of the congregation vote up or down on whether to call that minister.

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

UU congregations are never 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 will be using the UUA process. They provide web sites where congregations can post information about themselves and the minister they are seeking. UU ministers who are searching for positions can access the web site and contact congregations they are interested in talking to. The UUA office is a valuable resource for advice along the way. The search team also works 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. 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 are looking for full time senior ministers?

We don’t know the numbers yet, but we expect there to be 40-45 congregations in search. We will give an update when this information is available.



Search Timeline | Search Process  | Ministerial Search Team | Candidate Information