What About a Minister? (continued)

What About a Minister? (continued)

On January 17 the Board, along with DLRE Chris Jarman and Healthy Congregations Team lead Linda Mowers, held a video conference call with Christine Purcell, the UUA Transitions Program Manager, to further understand the process for seeking a minister.  We learned more about the different types of fully fellowshipped UUA ministers:

Developmental Ministers typically involve a 5-7 year commitment and are suited for congregations undertaking significant cultural change work.  Only 10-12 of these very high caliber ministers are placed in congregations each year. It takes nearly a whole year to create the congregation’s extensive packet of information and goals required to enter search for a Developmental Minister.  Developmental Ministers must be full time and are typically compensated at the higher end of the UUA salary range.

Interim Ministers are typically hired for up to 2 years, and usually precede seeking a Developmental Minister.  As with a Developmental Minister, the relevant congregation’s packet of information, although less extensive, takes time to prepare and is due at the end of January for placement the following year.  Interim Ministers are typically paid at the midpoint of the UUA salary range. Offering less than a full-time position could reduce the interest of Interim ministers wanting to come to BBUUC.

A Consulting Minister is the recommended first step for BBUUC.  The process is relatively simple, fast, and flexible as there are not hard deadlines with the UUA for the search and offer process.  Consulting ministers are typically hired for one or two years with an annual option to renew their contract. If mutually desirable, a Consulting Minister could be called to be our Settled Minister using the UUA process for changing this relationship.  Benefits of a Consulting Minister, particularly since we have been lay led for most of our 30 years, include:

  • Becoming familiar with professional ministry
  • Building trust
  • Discovering what we need in shared ministry
  • Financially affordable

According to the UUA, the Board can hire all of these types of ministers – Consulting, Interim, and Developmental – without congregational vote, although it is desirable to have a high percentage of the congregation in support of the Board’s decision.  Only Settled Ministers require a congregational vote.

We discussed costs and were told that search costs are highest for Settled Ministers (estimate $15,000 or more); lower for Interim and Developmental Ministers (estimate $10,000 or less); and lower still for Consulting Ministers.

Fair compensation is based on the UUA Salary guidelines published each year and is determined by our geographic region and size of congregation.  The two size ranges relevant to BBUUC are Small (<150 Members) and Midsize (150 – 249 Members). The number of Members we certify to the UUA each year determines which salary range we would be expected to pay, and the salary difference for a minister based on congregation size can be $14,000/year or more.  Since BBUUC has grown over the years and has now certified more than 150 members, we discussed the significance between being a voting Member and a Friend as determined by UUA guidelines and BBUUC’s bylaws and policies.

To summarize what the Board is doing regarding a minister:

  • We have listened to input from Members who strongly want a minister
  • We have progressed carefully, doing responsible due diligence
  • We have talked with the UUA Transitions staff
  • We have engaged in the UUA process
  • We have formally entered search, without obligation
  • We have received the UUA congregational profile form we must complete
  • We will educate our congregation about shared ministry
  • We will keep the congregation fully informed as we proceed

In seeking a Consulting Minister, we have the opportunity to put money that is already in our restricted Ministerial Support Fund ($32,000) and Congregational Growth and Development Reserve ($71,000) toward fully fellowshipped UUA ministry.  However, we will need to increase our revenue through pledges and other sources in order to sustain our ability to pay a minister’s salary and related expenses beyond the first year. Our demonstrated ability to pay can be an important factor in attracting a minister to BBUUC.

Pam Richards, For the Board