Four people with taper candles light chalice framed by two rings

Parish Committee Update

Jan 25, 2019

The Upcoming Ministerial Transition

The Parish Committee has been spending time in each of its monthly meetings this church year, discussing the upcoming transition period which will begin when Mark Harris retires at the end of July.

We have been in touch with the New England Region of the UUA and have been assigned a transition coach who will help us navigate the many decisions that must be made as we move through this time.

Transitions are never comfortable.  We, as a congregation, face the task of accepting inevitable change and moving on to see the possibilities that open up as a result of that change.  We are entering a time in which we celebrate time with Mark, as our leader and minister, and recognize our own strengths as a congregation. 

The UUA has a very well-defined process for moving through this transition.  In general, our task as a congregation during the remainder of this year will be to say goodbye to Mark, to appreciate the leadership provided by both Mark and Andrea and the wonderful energy and perspective of their amazing children: Levi, Dana and Asher.  All committees and staff are working with Mark to insure that we remain a strong congregation during this period of change and that we thoroughly understand and embrace the responsibility for our church’s mission.

This spring the Parish Committee, as required by the UUA procedure, will hire an interim minister.  The Interim is a minister who is specifically trained to lead us through a process of discovering our strengths as a congregation, healing past hurts, and envisioning an inspiring future for our unique congregation.  An interim minister’s main goal will be to help us with this self-reflection process and support us as we seek a new settled minister who will be chosen through an extensive search process and vote of the entire congregation.  The interim period typically lasts for 2 years with the search process beginning in earnest during the spring of the first interim year and lasting through the 2nd year.

As you read this, I am sure you have many questions, as did the Parish Committee.  Because we recognize that this process is unfamiliar, we will be holding a discussion about what is ahead after the service on Feb. 10 in the Conference Room.  If you would like to learn more about the UUA’s process, visit and take a look at the Transitions Handbook and the Settlement Handbook.  You can also speak with any of the members of the Parish Committee.

The Parish Committee : Sue Twombly, Chair, Kristin Bray, Dean Berlin, Kate Hanson Plass, Nick Haddad, Sue Kuder, and Jean Merkel-Gorman

Parish Committee

The church is governed by the Parish Committee, made up of seven members elected by the congregation at the Annual Meeting for a term of three years. The Parish Committee sets policy, hires staff, and manages the overall direction and business of the church.

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