LETTER TO CONGREGATION – Formation of Search Committee for a Settled Pastor

Dear Members and Friends of the United Church of Rowayton,

This Church will soon embark on the process of finding a new minister. The way that works in Congregational churches is for a committee made up of people from the congregation to undertake a search. Since the Deacons are already charged with the spiritual well-being of the Church, it makes sense for them to be charged with selecting individuals for this task.

But it also behooves them to want input from the congregation because some people have known other people for a long time and have formed a pretty good idea of their strengths and weaknesses. So, the Deacons want to know, of all the people you’re acquainted with, who would be at the top of your list as a members of the Search Committee.

Keep in mind that search committees must create a profile of the Church so a potential minister has some idea of what the Church is like. When the profile is released into the United Church of Christ database it will be available to pastors throughout the country and any pastor can submit their profile to the Church. As they come in, the committee reads them and decides on those individuals they would like to consider further.

As you can imagine, even meeting every week, the committee has a lot to consider, and the process of whittling down the list of potential, viable candidates can take several months. But eventually a few names rise to the top. Follow-ups can involve a Zoom call, or visit to the minister’s current Church, or inviting the candidate in for a face-to-face talk with the committee, and learning more about their experience and aspirations. Finally, the committee comes to a consensus and a recommendation is made to the congregation.

The search committee should be comprised of people who “play well with others,” and are flexible, wise, and possessing a pretty good idea of this church’s strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and character.

So, the deacons want to know this: If you had a say in the formation of the Search Committee, what two people in this Church would you choose? The deacons will look at every name (perhaps noting names that come up often, though this is not a popularity contest). On Sunday, September 25, you will be given a blank card and asked to write two names on it of people you think would be good Search Committee members. This is not a vote; this is not a nomination. This will give the deacons a place to start, and pretty soon, the Search Committee will be announced and the work will begin for a pastoral leader who can lead United Church of Rowayton into the unfolding world ahead. [If you are unable to attend the September 25 service, you can always email those names to kris@ucrowayton.org on or before the 25th].

Chris Sabol                                Daniel England

Chair, Board of Deacons           Interim Pastor