Exciting News from Your Ministerial Search Team

We are happy to announce our official candidate for settled ministry at UUCE, Reverend Jennifer Ryu. Rev. Jen was instantly someone who stood out to us as a team. We appreciated her calm, yet strong presence, and were inspired by her beliefs and views in matters that we, as a church find important.  We have genuinely enjoyed getting to know her through the pre-candidating process.  We feel very honored that she also chose us!  

The next phase of the search process is candidating week, which will bring the opportunity for us as a congregation to spend time with her, and will culminate in a congregational vote to call her to serve as our settled minister. We will have more information for you on this as soon as we have some of the details finalized.  

We cannot wait for each of you to meet and get to know her. For now, please feel free to explore her website, where you can learn more about her and watch some of her past sermons. You can find it by visiting: https://www.uuministry.com/jenniferryu/

Thank you for your patience with us as we continue to navigate and plan for the next steps in this process.  We look forward to gathering with Rev. Jen as a congregation soon.

March 2021 Update:

For the text version of this update, click here.

Gratitude from your Search Team

We have been working hard, but so have you! Thank you for participating in the search process. By the time you read this, our congregational record will be posted in the UUA search system for searching ministers to view. The congregational record is a 36 page document we authored using the information we’ve gathered from you!

241 of you completed surveys, 97 people participated in a focus group and/or cottage meeting, 74 Benefits and Concerns worksheets were completed, and 36 people participated in the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop! This level of participation in itself speaks to the rich congregational community that is UUCE. Thank you!

Now that our congregational record is posted we will pause to catch our breath, but we will be back soon with an update on what the next steps of this search will involve. We can be reached at UUCESearch@UUEugene.org

Thank you again, 
Your Ministerial Search Team

Past Updates (Click to Expand)

 December 16, 2020: We’d like to provide the timeline that we’ve been working with for our search. It includes the work that lies ahead for us during this next phase when we will not be able to share information with you. Click here to view the PDF version of the timeline. 

Fun fact from the Survey:  11.71% of respondents said they are attending Sunday services more frequently since the church closed and online worship began. 

December 9, 2020: Now that our Congregational Record is live and viewable by ministers in search, our next order of business is completing our Documents Packet, which is a collection of documents that provides concrete information about our congregation. The due date for this document collection is mid-December. In January, we’ll learn which ministers in search are interested in UUCE! Because we need to preserve their confidentiality, we won’t be able to share any of our work during this time.  This work will include reviewing ministerial records, calling references, viewing sermons, and, of course, interviewing candidates. 

But, come April, we hope to have a candidate to announce for consideration as our next settled minister.

With regard to the Congregational Survey, we’d like to impart our very belated, but heartfelt gratitude to Lesley Rex, who helped us analyze the survey answers. Lesley, without your skilled help, our work would have been significantly more complicated. In addition, we are grateful to Kat Johnson for her expertise with running the tech for the Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop. And, we express much gratitude to Izzy Crecca in the church office for her cheerful assistance with our many requests. Thank you all very much.

Fun Fact from the Survey: 75% of respondents cited UUCE’s culture as their favorite thing about our congregation. Aspects of our culture that were most remarked upon were our community, our active and caring nature, our warmth and friendliness, and our values and principles. Another 13% of respondents referred to the diversity and inclusion of our congregation’s culture as their favorite thing.

Comments or questions?  Email us at UUCESearch@uueugene.org.

November 12, 2020: Beyond Categorical Thinking 
You are invited to our Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22. This well-regarded program will help us promote inclusion and prevent discrimination during our ministerial search. Jacqui C Williams and Donna Dolham, trainers from the Unitarian Universalist Association with expertise in individual and systemic oppression, will lead this Zoom workshop. They will guide us through interactive conversation and activities as we explore how we can be even more aware of our internalized biases and create a greater vision of who we are as a congregation. 

The Saturday, November 21 workshop will consist of two 90-minute sessions (10-11:30am and 12:30-2pm) with an intervening lunch break. Patrice Curtis will preach the following day at our Sunday morning worship service, inspiring us to reflect further on how we can dismantle our categorical thinking.

In this workshop and service, UUCE members will:

  • Consider the hopes, expectations, and concerns they have for a new minister
  • Learn more about the ministerial search process, and
  • Explore how thinking categorically about people sometimes interferes with choosing the best candidate.

We are asking that all congregants complete the Concerns and Benefits Worksheet, even if you aren’t able to attend this helpful workshop, as we would like your input on concerns and perceived benefits regarding calling a minister with a marginalized identity. What would it be like? How would it help us as a congregation? The answers are anonymous, and the cumulative data will be used as part of the workshop.   

To request the link to the Concerns and Benefits Worksheet, as well as the link to the Saturday workshop, please email UUCESearch@uueugene.org.

The selection of a minister is important. The Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop is another opportunity for everyone in our congregation to be a part of this process to improve the odds that regardless of identity, we will find the minister who is the best match for us and who will serve us well. This experience will provide guidance for the search committee in our work.

November 3, 2020: Draft Ministerial Agreement Available for Review and Comment

Before our Negotiating Team works to modify the UUA’s draft ministerial agreement, we would like to provide you the opportunity to comment on it. In many ways, it is a covenantal agreement and we all should have some idea of what we are agreeing to. Please click here, or use the left sidebar, to view the page which links to both this agreement and the Google Form you can use to make your comments. Comment as many times as you wish. Please complete all comments by the end of the day on November 14

October 25, 2020: Affinity Groups and Cottage Meetings

Over the next three weeks, beginning Monday October 26, the Ministerial Search Team will be holding one hour Zoom meetings to gain more insight into the thoughts and needs of the congregation. 

They ask you to consider the following questions: 

  • What rules (norms) (practices) and customs (spoken and unspoken) do people new to our congregation have to learn?
  • What should a new minister know about our congregational culture?
  • Looking back, after our minister has been with us for a year, or two or five:
    • What will be your measures of success?
    • What achievements will make you say you’re glad the minister is among us?

The Meeting Schedule, with Zoom links included will be sent to the newsletter mailing list on October 24, at 10am. Each Meeting can also be found on the calendar with Zoom links in the descriptions, at: https://uueugene.org/fullcalendar/.  

For a PDF of the meeting schedule that you can download, click here.

October 21, 2020: Congregational Survey

There are still a few days left to complete your Congregational Survey! Thanks to the 199 members, friends, and visitors who we’ve heard from. If you aren’t one of these people, please consider filling your survey out now. 

We ask that you complete the survey before Sunday, October 25.

Why do we keep asking you to fill out your survey? We need your input to understand your thoughts about our congregation now and what your hopes are for our future. We also need your input to gather important demographic data about our congregation. We realize that the survey is lengthy and that some of the questions may be difficult to answer. That’s OK. We primarily hope that you’ll respond to the questions about the areas of congregational life that you’ve participated in, know best, and/or care about most.

Focus Groups and Cottage Meetings
To provide another avenue for discussing your thoughts, we’ll be scheduling several focus groups and cottage meetings. These discussions will begin on October 26 and continue through November 15. Watch for the schedule soon!

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop
Save these dates, Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22, for our Beyond Categorical Thinking Zoom workshop and service. Experienced trainers from the Unitarian Universalist Association will lead us in a workshop about how individual and systemic oppression can get in the way of a healthy ministry with our new minister. Completing this workshop will help us demonstrate to ourselves and to prospective ministers that we are committed to full equality and ongoing learning about anti-oppression.  

Wanted: Photos!
We are making a slideshow tour of UUCE and our congregational life, so searching ministers can view our church home and see us living our principles in beloved community. If you have photos from any church related groups or activities, please share them!

Use this link to go to Dropbox and drag your photos in:

https://www.dropbox.com/request/L3gAmvWU0mJ24LYxK13I

Please submit your photos by Sunday, November 8.

October 15, 2020: Please fill out your Congregational Survey!

Your input from this survey is critical to helping us gather the information we need in the search for our next Minister. 

The surveys were sent out via email this past weekend. Some folks have reported finding it in their junk and spam folders, so it could have landed there. 

Are there multiple church members and/or friends of UUCE in your household? If so, each person should fill out a survey. 

If you have any questions or would like an electronic copy, or a paper copy sent to you, please email UUCESearch@uueugene.org. 

We are running on a short timeline and ask that the surveys be returned by October 25. 

Thank You! 
Your Ministerial Search Team

October 7, 2020: Input

Dear Friends,
We – meaning all of us, every single one of us at UUCE – are about to dive deep into the “input” stage of preparing to welcome our next minister. Watch your inboxes (or mailboxes) the week of October 10 and read on to learn more. A timeline appears at the end of this message, but please read it in its entirety first!

As a process, the search for a new minister includes times that are transparent and public, and others that are confidential and private. 

Your participation is crucial to every stage of the search so that we can make the best possible match between our congregation and the ministers who are considering us. When we’re in a public phase, we ask you to share generously your thoughts and hopes. When we’re in a private phase, we ask you to understand that we have a duty of confidentiality to those answering our search and that we cannot share details with you until we are prepared to announce a candidate. 

At the “input” stage (the transparent and public part), we will gather as much information about our church and community as possible and create a “congregational record” so that candidates can get to know us. The better and fuller the picture a candidate has of us, the more likely they will know whether our church is a good fit for their ministry. 

We can only do that with your help. We’ll circulate a survey – yes, another survey – asking for your input. We’ll separate your identifying information from your comments before we read them. As you fill it out, we ask you to keep in mind: where do you want UUCE to be in 10 years? What do you think will be important for the next generation in 10 years?

We will hold meetings on Zoom where we will invite you to discuss your thoughts with us. We’ll use all of this information to create a profile of our congregation for searching ministers to see, like a “job posting.” So that you can see what was submitted to the Unitarian Universalist Association in all our names, we’ll post a summary of the profile on the church webpage under the “Ministerial Search” heading.

When this work of gathering information from you is done, the search process will enter a private and confidential stage. It may feel like we’re not telling you anything, and you will be right. We’ll be reviewing applications, contacting references, checking out possible candidates, and interviewing them. All of this must be done in confidence, just like other job interviews. By honoring the confidentiality of the “applicants,” these candidates can share more openly with us, allowing us to decide whether their ministry is a good fit for our church based on the information we gather from you during the surveys and meetings. 

But by the end of April 2021, we hope we will have found a ministerial candidate to introduce to you and the process will return to a transparent and public stage. We’ll host a “candidating week” so you can meet, get to know, and vote on our candidate. A settled minister can be “called” only after a congregation has voted to call them. 

Finally, we’re sending the survey by e-mail to everyone who has an e-mail address. If you prefer to receive a paper copy, you can request one by sending a message to UUCEsearch@uueugene.org. 

Here’s how the public “input” process looks on the calendar:

Step 1: Gather Information

  • October 10 – 24: Search Committee conducts a congregational survey.
  • October 24 – November 16: Search Committee hosts Zoom meetings with congregants.

Step 2: Review Information and draft “job posting”

  • November 16 – November 30: Results from the survey and meetings are tabulated and congregational profile completed.

Step 3: Post final “job posting” for candidates to see

  • December 1: Congregational profile submitted.

Thank you, so much, for your ongoing trust, support and participation!
Your Ministerial Search Team

October 1: 
We have chosen Jones Hollister as our chair and divided up other responsibilities amongst the rest of us to see through this important task.  

You’ll have many opportunities to participate in the search process, too. For starters, you can give thought to what you love about our church, how you’d like us to grow, and what qualities are most important to you in a new minister. This fall, we’ll circulate a survey to gather your thoughts and invite you to Zoom focus groups to share them with others. The results will be compiled and included in the information packet we provide to the Unitarian Universalist Association for ministerial candidates to read. And all of this will be done by December!

Meanwhile, if there’s anything you’d like to say to us, please feel free to send a message to UUCEsearch@uueugene.org. We want to hear what’s on your mind, and we’ll keep you informed of our progress.  

The Ministerial Search Team was formed over the month of August after the congregation responded in favor of searching for a Settled Minister for 2021-2022 church  year.

While Ministerial Search Teams traditionally have seven members, this year our’s has eight. It’s 2020, who knows what could happen, and we wanted to make sure our Seach Team has the person-power they need! After the initial nomination process, four members were elected by the congregation, and four more chosen by the Board of Trustees.  If you’d like to know more about the members of UUCE’s Search Team, click here.