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Get Involved in the Ministerial Search

Sep 21, 2020

The members of the Search Committee have been working hard behind the scenes over the summer – receiving training from the UUA, delegating roles, and beginning to gather information. As the church year begins this fall, we are looking forward to hearing from you, the members, friends, and staff of First Parish Watertown, as part of the phase the UUA calls “Building the Structure to Search.” Listening is vitally important in understanding the hopes, visions, and perspectives of the congregation so we can represent the congregation to ministerial candidates and find the best fit for us.

Congregational Survey

Invitations to take this survey were sent out on September 13. This survey will help you, our congregational leadership, our Search Committee, and our future minister understand our congregation better. We estimate the survey will take 20-40 minutes to complete.

If you have questions or concerns or need the survey link, please contact

The higher the response rate, the better and more engaged we present ourselves as a congregation. The survey is open through Sunday, September 27 – please make sure to participate!

Cottage Meetings

Scheduled on Sunday afternoons: October 4, 11, and 18, 2:00-3:30 PM

Join a discussion facilitated by members of the Search Committee about our congregation and your vision for a new minister. These meetings are open to all members and friends of the congregation.

Sign-ups are requested to help us plan for Zoom break-out group sizes. You will get a Breeze invitation to sign up for one of the sessions. Please respond to the invitation as soon as you receive it. However, sign-ups are not required: if your plans change and you can’t be at the one you signed up for, you can still attend a different meeting.

Focus Groups

In addition to cottage meetings, focus groups will invite members of certain committees, roles and identities to share their visions for a new minister both generally and from the perspective of that particular group. While you are welcome to attend both cottage groups and focus groups, you are not expected to attend multiple meetings.

Search Committee members will be reaching out to schedule focus meetings with committees and identified groups through October, including staff, parents of RE children, youth group, Parish Committee, Safe Congregation Committee, and Social Action Committee.

If you are interested in attending one of the following focus groups, please RSVP to

  • LGBTQIA+ parishioners
  • BIPOC parishioners
  • Newcomers & New Members

Once we know who would like to join each of these focus groups, the host will contact you to schedule a meeting in October.

Focus group meetings will be held on the Google Meet platform. The meeting host will share a link and call-in information with attendees. You do not need to have a Google account to participate.

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop

Beyond Categorical Thinking is an anti-oppression program facilitated by trainers from the UUA, designed to help congregations in the ministerial search process. The workshop addresses issues around race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, visible and invisible disabilities and health concerns, and sexual orientation.

By completing the program, we are sending a message to all our members and potential ministers about our commitment to full equality and ongoing learning about anti-oppression. Attendance is required for the Search Committee, expected of church leadership, and strongly encouraged of all members.

We are waiting on a final date from our moderator. Save the dates of October 17 or 24!

Gathering Information

In addition to listening, members of the Search Committee are gathering documents and facts about our congregation. We are currently seeking the following:

  • Great photographs of our congregation in action! To show us on our website, please share your photos of services, performances by the choir, band, and members, and social events, preferably in landscape orientation. Contact Chuck Dickinson, chair of the Communications Committee, for information on how to submit your photos!
  • Testimonials about why First Parish is important to you. Contact and let us know if you are willing to share a written or video recorded message on the church website.
  • Copies of Annual Reports from 2002 to 2005.

Asking Questions

Do you have questions about the search process, ministerial transition, or timeline? While we won’t be able to answer questions about our candidates, we want to share the process as openly and transparently as we can.

Send your questions to the Search Committee at We may publish answers to Frequently Asked Questions (or Rarely Asked But Salient Questions) anonymously in this column.

Search Committee
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The ministerial search committee is charged with finding the next settled minister of our congregation, to begin ministry in August 2021.  The committee members are Judy Kamm, Kyle Morton, Kate Hanson Plass, Ben Jerome, Silke Plesch, Beth Tappan-deFrees, and Will Twombly.

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