Transition 2022

Below is a detailed timeline of transition steps taken to date,
with most current information is on top.

June 16, 2022

Rev. David sent a final letter via email to the congregation. Read it HERE.

June 12, 2022

The Transition Team and the current Board met with the congregation for the Annual Congregational Meeting

Highlights of the meeting are as follows:

  • Lee Fallon shared that interviews for a contract minister are ongoing. A further update is expected in early July.
  • The budget for the coming year was approved.
  •  The Board of Directors for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 were voted in:
    • Dennis Tromba (President)
    • Lee Fallon (Vice President/Treasurer)
    • Cathie Feild (Secretary)
    • Nancy Byrne (Member at Large).

Dennis read a poem that ended: “All Hands On Deck” as a way of encouraging everyone’s participation in our shared ministry in the days ahead.

May 26, 2022

The Transition team has been very active working on the congregation’s behalf. We are in the interview stage with a candidate for contract minister and meeting regularly to evaluate and maintain momentum. We will keep you informed as the process moves along.

Hope you will join us on June 12th when we will be a part of the Sunday service.

April 28, 2022

The UUCOB Transition Team has been meeting, writing, editing, and finalizing our application for a full-time transitional contract minister, and we hope to have the application filed within the coming week. We look forward to sharing more news with you as we move along the process. 

And, mark your calendar for our big send-off picnic for Rev. David:

April 20, 2022

A letter from the Transition Team was sent via email to members and friends of UUCOB. Read it here.

April 3, 2022
The first Congregational Meeting with the Transition Team was held after the Sunday service. Download detailed minutes and results of the survey here.

March 24, 2022
The UUCOB Transition Team invites the congregation to a hybrid service on Sunday, April 3rd at 10:30 am for a  light luncheon and discussion about how our congregation will move forward when Rev. David retires on June 30th. We don’t have all the answers, but we will offer what we have learned and meet each other where we are as we navigate this time of tremendous opportunity. Join us and bring your ideas, questions, and appetite.

March 14, 2022
The congregation wishes to thank the following members for serving as our Transition Team: Gwen Taylor, Immie Russell, Lee Fallon, Nellie Dixon, and Rosemary Rawlins. Here’s a brief statement from each member of the team:

Gwen: “I became a UU in the 80’s with my children at a large church in Richmond where I had many duties; I also have been part of UUCOB since the 90’s, on a part-time basis initially, changing to full time when Robert and I moved here in 2011. I am happy to work with this team to help facilitate the interests of our congregation in having a strong and enduring UUCOB both for us and for the wider community.”

Immie: “I am very excited to be a part of this important time of transition at the UU! I was honored to be asked to be on this team and hope that as a younger member of the church I can provide helpful feedback that will move our congregation forward into a beautiful and exciting future!”

The UU became part of who I am in the early 1980s and connected me with my new community when I moved to the OBX in 2017. We face an important crossroads, and I am committed to providing my leadership, active listening, and analytical skills as a representative of the UUCOB congregation.

“I think this is a watershed moment in our history at UUCOB and I wanted to be an active participant in our shared ministry.  I offer organizational, communications and management skills, as well as a heart that is totally invested in a vibrant UUCOB future.”

“I fervently believe in the Unitarian Universalist seven principles, so I think we should take the utmost care in choosing a new path forward employing our best efforts to find the right minister to ensure that our congregation grows and thrives in these challenging times.”

UUCOB Survey Results Regarding Ministerial Transition
What did we learn:
Many of our members are satisfied with their UUCOB experience, and that tells us that we do a lot of things well. Here is a summary of the responses we received.

  • What would you like to keep?
    • Our values. 
    • A minister and Sunday services with a minister. 
    • Our sense of caring and community. 
    • Our art shows and music. 
    • A chance to give and help the community. 
    • Our discussions.
  • What would you like to see change?
    • More people joining and younger people joining.
    • A minister personally & actively involved with the congregation and community. 
    • A return to committees – many thought they worked. 
    • More volunteering, even in small ways.
    • More social justice, tech support, and public programs.
    • More outreach to visitors, social events, and fundraisers.

March 11, 2022
A note from David Mohler, President UUCOB Board:

The UU Church of Bloomington is undergoing a ministerial transition. When we are at our Indiana house, we attend services there.  Emily worked there as a childcare provider when she was a student at nearby Indiana University. Although they are a much larger congregation with some 650 members, the process of the transition is not unlike our own.

On March 5, UUCB hosted a live stream with Rev. David Pyle, the Regional Lead and a Congregational Life Consultant with the UUA MidAmerica Regional Staff.  I participated in the livestream.  Rev. Pyle reviewed the process of discernment in preparation for determining what kind of ministry a church needs and wants, and the steps for recruiting and selecting a minister once this discernment is complete.  From observing the body language of the people who participated in this livestream from the UUCB sanctuary, I believe it was very helpful.  Everyone’s shoulders seemed to relax.

Mary Ann Mackle, their departing minister, is well loved by the congregation, and made a huge difference in the UUCB community during her tenure.  People there are already missing her, even though she hasn’t left yet.  Rev. Pyle tossed out the idea that as UUCB is planning for a future ministry, they might want to consider a “developmental ministry”, which is a kind of interim ministry.

After the livestream, I spoke with our Southern Region UUA congressional life staff.   I need to talk with Christine Purcell, the Transitions Program Manager on the Congregational Life field staff team, serving in all five regions (Central East, New England, Mid-America, Pacific Western, and Southern). She works closely with regional staff, congregational boards of trustees, search committees, and search committee coaches to support ministerial search processes.  We will also want to have a conversation with her as a board.  

It might be interesting to invite Rev. Nathan Hollister from the UUA Southern District Congressional Life staff, who we know from our planning sessions, to join us on a Sunday, lead a service, and participate in a livestream.  More to follow as those conversations take place.

March 10, 2022

From the Board Meeting:

The first meeting of the transition team was scheduled for March 11th. The Board discussed the relationship between the transition team and the Board.

A number of responses to the congregational survey have been received.  The Board wishes to thank everyone who has participated.  This information will be helpful to the Board and the Transition Team.

The Treasurer presented the budget.  This fiscal year ends in approximately four months, on June 30th.  To date, about 50% of the amount pledged has been received.  A new pledge drive for the next fiscal year will begin in April or May.  It was also reported that the AA group Sandspur notified us that they will no longer be meeting in the meeting house.

UUCOB is resuming hybrid (in-person and online) services on March 13th.  In the past, attendance has averaged 35-40 people during hybrid services, so we are hopeful about attendance.

Members of the congregation have asked what will happen in terms of Sunday worship once Rev. David retires.  It was noted that we have a worship planning team that has been operational for years.  They have been and will continue to plan our worship services.  The team has added a new member, Mary Weinandy.

David Mohler watched a live stream with Rev. David Pyle, UUA regional lead for congregational life. For a summary, see David Mohler’s letter to our congregation above this post.

Feb. 10, 2022

The UUA Southern Region transition consultants, Lillian Drab-Braddick and Rev. Nathan Hollister joined the meeting on February 10th to discuss the transition process. Read a detailed summary from that meeting here.

Other items discussed at that Board meeting:

  • Need to gain alignment and clarity on our mission
  • Need to create the support systems the congregation will need to carry out our mission
  • Observed that the essence of what we do as a congregation is contained in the first three terms of our mission—creating wonder, fostering connection and nurturing hope, and that we have resources to move forward on the fourth—working for justice.  The board approved Laura Singletary as our liaison with UU Justice NC.
  • We have drafted a “roadmap” for the transition that lays out what needs to be done by what dates.  This is anticipated to be a living document, which may change as we learn more from our interactions with UUA and the discernment process.  Once we gain clarity regarding what kind of ministry we desire and can support, it may take some time to fill it.  In the interim, there are a number of things we can do to provide worship leadership and we may be able to use the opportunity to experiment with different kinds of ministry.
  • We began to define a transition team, and approved Lee Fallon as the member of the board who would serve on the team.
  • We are working on the best ways to engage the larger congregation in conversation regarding UUCOB’s future and ministry.  A set of guided questions from the UUA transitions handbook will be shared via an online survey and in the newsletter for future discussion and feedback.
  • We reviewed the downward trends of hospitalization and symptomatic COVID cases in Dare County.  A proposal was made to return to a hybrid in-person and Zoom status effective February 27th  with mask use required inside the meetinghouse with encouragement to use the more effective types of masks.

January 26, 2022
The Board had a Zoom meeting with Lilian Drab-Braddick of the UUA Southern Region. Items discussed regarding the transition process included:

  • when to form a transition team
  • how to get input from the congregation
  • Ministerial options for UUCOB
  • Options for gathering input from the congregation
    • one-on-one conversations
    • focus groups
    • inviting Lilian and Nathan to join a conversation with the congregation.

This transition is an opportunity to confirm our mission statement and develop ways of putting it into practice.  In discerning what type of ministry we want, we need to keep in mind the realities of the size, financial resources, and unique location of our congregation. 

It was recommended that we have a planning session before we form a transition team. That meeting, with Lilian Drab-Braddick and Rev. Nathan Holister of the Southern Region, will be virtual and is scheduled for February 9th . Lilian and Nathan are good resources for the unique needs of small congregations.  In preparation for the meeting, President David Mohler is going to sketch out a possible road map that will take us from now until July of 2022. Additionally, our treasurer, Lee Fallon, will put together a 5-year trend of UUCOB’s finances.

January 24
An initial call was made to Rev. Keith Kron, Director of the Transitions Office for the UUA.

Here are the UUCOB’s next steps as discussed with Keith:

  1. Board call with UUA regional staff on Wednesday/development of a transition road map
  2. Confirmation of our mission.
  3. Determination of what we, as a congregation, want in a ministry and are willing to fund and support (graphs from Lee).
  4. Decide what our top 5 priorities are.
  5. Arrange for Keith (and UUA regional staff?) to participate in a dialogue with the congregation after service on a Sunday
  6. Structure ongoing congregational dialogue and feedback (focus groups?  open forums on Zoom?)
  7. Continue communications via column in the newsletter.

January 23
After Sunday’s Zoom service, Rev. David lead a first conversation taking questions and comments; he noted that he will of course be available throughout the next months for any conversation you need to have. There will be other opportunities for group conversations in the weeks ahead as well. A survey will be sent out to all members regarding the transition.

January 21
The UUCOB Board of Trustees met this morning to discuss next steps given Rev. Morris’ announced retirement.   Items discussed included:

  • Engagement with UUA to assist UUCOB in making this transition
  • The need to engage transparently and frequently with the larger congregation regarding the transition
  • Financial parameters that need to be considered in our decisions regarding continuing professional ministry
  • The board’s responsibility in framing decisions regarding continuing ministry in light of our mission, values, and financial capability

January 18
Rev. David sent a pastoral letter (read it here) to the congregation’s members and friends, letting us know of his decision to retire from professional ministry, and thus from UUCOB, as of June 30, 2022. A change in ministry is a major event, and there will be many feelings as well as work to do together.