Non-standard process

This morning, the members of First Parish in Cohasset voted to call me as their next settled minister. We followed a non-standard path to this vote, and did not follow the UUA’s suggested contract-to-call procedure.

Actually, somehow the lay leaders and I both missed the fact that there was a recommended process. After we had all decided to proceed with a vote this spring, I discovered the UUA’s contract-to-call process. It’s thorough and complex, but it requirs many hours of volunteer time. Our congregation is small enough that following the UUA’s contract-to-call process would have left us with insufficient volunteer hours to complete other key tasks. Now that I’ve read it, I’d certainly recommend the UUA’s contract-to-call process to mid-sized and larger congregations; small congregations like ours might want to think about whether they have sufficient volunteer capacity.

Since our non-standard process might be of interest to others, here’s what we did: I was originally hired on a one-year contract which ends this June. In January, the board and I began to talk about whether they wanted me to continue. We considered various options together, including an open-ended contract; a call vote in the second contract year; a call vote this spring; or terminating the contract either this spring or next. The board held congregational meetings where they reached out to nearly every member, and based on feedback from members they decided to proceed with a vote to call this spring. Today’s vote was unanimous, implying some kind of consensus about this decision; I give all credit to the board for listening carefully to everyone before proceeding with a vote.