Minister Search

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Minister Search2023-03-22T21:31:42-05:00

colorful-chaliceEmerson’s journey to a new settled minister

Very few tasks that a congregation undertakes are as critical to its future as the selection of a new settled minister, a task that Emersonians have entrusted to our Minister Search Committee: Beth Hammer, Kris Taylor, Zena Taylor, Deborah Wotring, Ken McLeod, Judy Williams, and Bill Hammons.

News and Updates

Jan. 15,2023 – Here’s an excellent discussion of the search process presented at the adult education session by the Minister Search Committee on Jan. 15.

Are we searching for the messiah?
A marvelous sermon by the Rev. John Buehrens, former president of the UUA, offers some insight to our search. From 12:03-16:43 is especially relevant.

What happens during the search?

The search process follows a multi-step framework developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). This framework provides not only shared tools to help congregations conduct a successful search but also a timeline that keeps the process moving smoothly.

In Progress:

  • select a final candidate (March-April 2023)

Up Next:

  • make an offer (April 2023)
  • meet the candidate for our new minister during candidating week, April 23-30, 2023.


  • Adult education session on search process (January 2023)
  • organize for the search (spring and early summer 2022)
  • conduct survey and small-group meetings (September and October 2022)
  • Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop, Saturday, Oct. 22nd
  • prepare the Congregational Record (late October 2022)
  • arrange pre-candidating weekends, including “neutral pulpits” (fall 2022)
  • post Congregational Record and documents packet on the UUA Search website  (November 2022) 
  • ministers in search review Congregational Records and document packets (December 2022)
  • receive access to names of ministers who are interested in Emerson (Jan. 2, 2023)
  • receive ministerial records of interested candidates (January 2023)
  • review packets and websites of interested candidates (January 2023)
  • schedule and conduct initial interviews (late January 2023)
  • invite applicants to be pre-candidates (February 2023)
  • meet pre-candidates, attend worship services at neutral sites (February-March 2023)

The Congregational Record is also posted on our website here   Congregational Record 

Graphic lists steps in the minister search process

Listening to YOUU

Congregational Record

The final step in preparing to open the minister search is completing the Congregational Record, which is posted on the UUA search website.
A strategic part of outreach to ministers in search, the Congregational Record includes comprehensive information about Emerson and the surrounding community.  A thorough review of the document allows potential candidates to make informed decisions about whether they are interested in a church and if their experience and skill set are a good fit for what the congregation is looking for.

Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop

This three-hour workshop, led by Rev. Keith Kron, Director of Transitions for the UUA, on October 23, was attended in-person and on-line by approximately 30 Emersonians. The workshop, a required part of the UUA’s ministerial search process, is designed to help congregations move to  more inclusive thinking and to  prevent unconscious and unfair discrimination in our search process for a new minister.  

Congregational Survey

Our congregational survey in September and a series of small-group meetings in October gave Emersonians opportunities to provide valuable feedback on what our congregation needs and wants in a settled minister. 

Conclusion: Emerson’s respondents reflect a picture of a well-educated, socially conscious, but aging urban congregation bound together by a strong sense of community, belonging and mutual support, that aspires to get even more involved, expand its reach and attract a younger and more diverse group of members.

Their shared vision of a new minister is a person who can offer inspiring, challenging and dynamic worship services; connect with individual members and provide spiritual support, inspiration and congregational care; foster the development and growth of the congregation, in not only membership numbers but also involvement; and provide leadership in envisioning and planning for the future.

A bird’s-eye view of the survey (survey summary)
The nitty-gritty (all survey responses)

Questions about Emerson’s search? Email the committee at

More about the process

What is the Minister Search Committee responsible for?

Members of the committee are entrusted with finding the best candidate to become our new minister. That requires putting the needs of our community above the wishes and opinions of individual members. Their task is to:
1. engage the congregation in the search process and maintain open communication with members unless confidentiality is required.
2. represent the congregation’s desires and goals to potential minister candidates.
3. carefully review potential candidates and align their profiles, traits and accomplishments with the wishes of the congregation.
4. bring a new settled minister to Emerson.

The committee works as a team, speaking with one voice in all matters related to the search. When the committee began work in mid-summer 2022, one of its first actions was adopting a covenant to guide its deliberations. Although some parts of the search must remain confidential, the committee is committed to being as transparent as possible about the process.

A search by Emersonians, for Emersonians

How was our Minister Search Committee chosen? 

The process to identify the search committee began in Spring 2022 when Emerson’s Board of Trustees asked members who they would trust to do the work of the search. A slate of 14 nominees was presented for a congregational vote in May 2022 and seven members were elected to serve.

Committee Covenant

Committee Roles

Photos and bios of our Minister Search Committee

Other questions?

Questions about the UUA search? Detailed information about the process is available at

Questions about the Emerson’s search? Email the committee at

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