The visit includes a Sunday morning worship service and three-hour workshop. The program may also include a meeting with the search committee and other congregational leaders prior to the service and workshop.
Visits are made by a team of two facilitators, though occasionally there will be a single highly experienced facilitator. As schedules allow, the facilitators reflect on one or more of the identities addressed in the three hour workshop. Facilitators may be ministers, seminary students, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) staff, and/or experienced lay leaders within Unitarian Universalism. Each of these facilitators has received training in leading the workshop, and many have done so for numerous congregations.
The facilitator team provides the sermon and usually chooses the hymns and reading(s). The congregation takes responsibility for the welcome, announcements, and candles of joy and concern, and all choral and instrumental pieces of music. Opening words, time for all ages, chalice lighting, offertory and benediction can be done by the team if they have particular interest in any of these. Details should be worked out between the search committee contact and the team leader. Sample orders of service are often very useful for team leaders to examine ahead of time. If there is more than one service, the team is prepared to lead both services. This document (PDF) is available for congregations to use in their publicity efforts.
SCHEDULING: Often the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop follows the Sunday service. The workshop lasts 3 hours, though occasionally it may run slightly shorter. NOTE: In a few cases, based on the cultural norms of the congregation, the search committee decides that attendance will be stronger on Saturday as opposed to Sunday after the service.
If the workshop follows the Sunday service, the congregational organizers of the event usually provide lunch for workshop participants and the facilitators. Even if a meal is not provided for participants, a lunch must be provided for the facilitator team.
PRE-EVENT MEETING (Optional): Sometimes, facilitators meet with congregational leaders and/or the search committee ahead of the worship and workshop to talk about the life of the congregation, the work of the search committee, and to give those involved a chance to know one another better. Pre-event meetings give the facilitator team a sense of the congregation as well as underscore the importance of the weekend for the church leadership. These advance meetings are not required, and it is up to the team and search committee to decide what is best for the congregation.
COSTS: Travel costs are paid for by the UUA. Each congregation contributes $300 towards honoraria paid to team members. Team members may accept home hospitality or stay at a nearby hotel. They may or may need transportation assistance.
For more information contact transitions @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
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Last updated on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
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