Update on the Ministerial Search Process - April 3, 2018
We found our candidate! Read about Lisa Perry-Wood.
Everyone will have an opportunity to meet Lisa during Candidating Week. She will preach and lead worship on Sunday, April 29th and again on Sunday, May 6th. Between the two Sundays we are planning meetings with committees plus three events for the whole congregation:
- Dinner - Sunday evening, April 29th, 5:30-7:30pm
- Tea - Tuesday afternoon, May 1st, 3:00 pm
- Breakfast - Saturday morning, May 5th, 9:30-11 am
At these events, members and friends can meet Lisa and begin to get to know her in anticipation of the congregational vote on May 6th—when we will decide together whether to call her as our next settled minister.
Right after the May 6th service the Parish Board (our governing board) is planning a congregational meeting and will ask all members to vote whether or not they wish to call this person to be Senior Minister at First Parish. See below for more details about the vote.
If called, Lisa Perry-Wood will start at First Parish on August 1. She will preach her first service in the Sanctuary as our called (“settled”) minister on Opening Sunday, September 9th.
The Congregational Vote
We voted changes in our by-laws at last spring’s annual meeting:
- We lowered the age for membership to 16
- We authorized absentee ballots
- We established a minimum percent of votes for calling a minister (90%)
- We established that a member has to have been a member for one full year before they can participate in a vote to call a minister
You will receive lots more information in a letter from the Parish Board (our governing board) later this month. If you have questions in advance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to members of the board at .
For Those Who Cannot Vote
First Parish prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive community. It is with sadness that we acknowledge that those new to our congregation—who were not members as of May 6, 2017—may wish to participate in the calling of our new minister, but cannot.
As noted above, our bylaws require a vote of active members who have signed the membership book at least a year before. The bylaws additionally require that members be at least 16-years-old in order to vote.
As we prepare to call our next minister, we hope that you will not feel excluded if you cannot vote. Please participate in Candidating Week. And please continue to engage: between now and May 6th, this congregation will consider many things of importance to our future—implications of institutional racism, budget priorities for next year and much more. And we hope that you will join us as we conclude our time of interim ministry, show our gratitude for the invaluable work the Rev. Rebecca has done here, and set our sights on our new era.
First Parish has had many new beginnings going back 301 years! As we prepare for yet another, we want you to be part of it!
As always, if you have any questions about our process or want to share more about your hopes and dreams for our congregation, please feel free to reach out to any member of the Search Committee: Ellie Boynton (chair), Karla Baehr, Steve Peterson Davis, Susan Larrabee, Laura Walters, and Ron Wilkinson.
During the fall, we reached out to learn more about who we are as a congregation with a focus on what the congregation values and what we are seeking in our next settled minister. Here are links to view what we learned:
Ministerial Search Survey
The survey was open from Wednesday, September 20 through Sunday, October 1. 156 members and friends completed the survey. On December 10th, following the service, we shared the results and the Congregational Record we prepared.
Ministerial Search Forums
We hosted a number of Ministerial Search Forums, an opportunity for structured conversation with one another and Search Committee members about our community and our hopes and dreams for its next minister. On December 10th we shared a summary of our findings.
Beyond Categorical Thinking Service and Workshop
Sunday, December 3
The Search Committee sponsored a UUA-led discussion and dialogue on hidden bias following the Sunday service, also be led by our facilitator, Jacqui Williams.
There are several ways to stay up-to-date with the Search Committee's progress:
- Visit this page for updates.
- Take a look each Sunday at the Ministerial Search Bulletin Board that we’re using to highlight ways you can be involved.
- Check out our progress reports and invitations in the monthly FPB Newsletter and the Weekly Update.
- Reach out to any of us: we’re the ones with the blue nametags with the invitation to ask us questions and share your thoughts and feelings.