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December 2018 President's Column by David Hawley

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Each year around the holiday season, I get reflective and think about the wonderful things in my life. I have to say that I am thankful for the service you all have allowed me to provide to the church this year. It has been challenging at times but more than anything, it has been fulfilling. I consider the important work we are doing during this time of transition to be holy and spiritually satisfying.

We have much going on at this church these days. Please review this newsletter and the weekly announcement to stay up to date. Here are some highlights.

Interim Update - The interim task force underwent the process of hiring an interim minister in late October/early November. The task force made a recommendation to the board and the board is pleased to announce that we signed a letter of agreement with the Reverend Joel Miller to start on August 1, 2019. Joel is an accredited interim minister and has over 27 years of ministry experience.  Joel is highly qualified and is a great fit for our congregation. We are all excited to have him aboard. If you would like to learn more about Joel, please go visit his website at

We are working to identify a minster who can help fill the gap in the first half of next year. The Interim Task Force is working with the board and the UUA. We will make an announcement when able. The gap will be a unique situation that will represent some challenges and opportunities.

Associate Minister - Many people are asking about Nathan and his role in the transition and his future with the church. Nathan wonderfully articulated his thoughts in his column in the November newsletter, I encourage you to read it (and then re-read it). In the meantime, Nathan will remain the associate minister until a time that he is no longer the associate minister.  In fairness to him and to have a successful interim period, it is important that Nathan continue to be treated by staff, the board, and membership as the associate minster through the gap and interim period.

Search Process - The nominating committee has been hard at work forming the search committee. We recently held a town hall to discuss process. It was well-attended, and we received excellent feedback. As we move through the process of forming a search committee it is important the process is transparent and trusted. Be on the lookout for more information on forming the search committee. Please ask questions and provide feedback during the process. 

Congregational Meeting, Minister Emeritus - Please join us at the congregational meeting on December 16.  The only item on the agenda will be to consider bestowing the honor of Minister emeritus on Steve Crump. Follow this link to the resolution prepared by the Minister Emeritus Task force that is included on this website under Governance-Congregational Meetings. The title Minister Emeritus (or Minister Emerita) is granted to honor long and meritorious service to a congregation where the minister has given devoted and competent ministerial leadership. Due to our congregational polity, and more directly because the service has been to that particular congregation, only that congregation can bestow this title. We will vote on December 16, whether to bestow this honor to Steve Crump. This is a historic moment for our congregation. Please join me on December 16, 12:45 p.m. Also note there will be a service of celebration and reception on January 6, 4:00 p.m.

Communication during transition - We had a townhall on November 18 and discussed the process for forming a search committee. One of the questions we asked was about communication and transparency during transition. We heard generally positive feedback, though we have more work to do. Even though we announced Joel Miller’s hiring in November 11, some members did not know of it till more than a week later (for some of you may just be learning of it now).

So, we want to make sure we have a multi prong approach when communicating during this transition process. This includes print, e-mail, social media, during services, and face to face. Let us know how we are doing.

Leadership -I feel very lucky to be part of this church leadership. I am thinking of no fewer than 25 people who are working hard behind the scenes on the board, on a task force or a committee.

It takes a village - This is a presidential column, but I will take this opportunity to speak as a member. I want to thank the church community for being part of my “village” and helping to raise my children. My wife and I want to expose our children to all the many things the world has to offer in a loving environment. The church is a wonderful place for that, so I just want to thank the membership for helping to be my village. I feel that our church loves each of the children in our congregation, and I am just very thankful for my children to be a part of that.