General Assembly 2021

The Transitions Office at General Assembly 2021

Since we cannot be present in person at General Assembly again this year, Transitions Office staff have compiled some important information pertaining to ministerial search to share virtually with General Assembly attendees. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns by writing to us at

General Assembly Workshop


5:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. CT / 3:00 p.m. MT / 2:00 p.m. PT

#211 Interim Ministry: A Time for Liberation and Courage (1.5 hours)

Facilitated by Rev. Patrice Curtis and Rev. Keith Kron

As with the nation, congregations are grappling with dismantling structures of racism and oppression. This change demands collaborative intent of minister, staff and congregation. Come be inspired by and share courageous congregational stories from interim and developmental ministers. Through reflection, be prepared to share your congregation’s own potential path forward.

You must be registered for General Assembly to attend this workshop. Please access the workshop via the GA Portal.

Search Committee Support Groups

Settled search committee members are asked to serve a unique and uniquely important ministry for their congregations. The expectations and stress can be wearing over two years. Members may discover they are not prepared for all of the ways that stress may show up within the committee – including issues around negative bias and oppression.

Most search committees will experience times when members are not in complete agreement on a number of issues. Committees may be diverse; yet those with marginalized identities may still experience micro-aggressions despite good intentions.

These times are so stressful. we are faced with the Coronavirus, which is affecting every aspect of congregational life. In addition, protests in the United States (and many other countries) newly illuminate the impact of centuries of systemic racism toward Black people - and reminds us of the systemic oppressions of Indigenous and people of color, LGBTQ, disabled, and many other marginalized groups – sometimes, in our congregations.

We want to openly note that search committees may not have the tools to move through search without inflicting unintentional harm on committee members who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color. We openly note that search committee members want the very best for their congregations.

We are here for you! New support groups are available for search teams grappling with anti-racist, anti-oppressive hopes and dreams amidst the reality and stress of ministerial search. During the 2021-2022 search year, Christine Purcell and Rev. Patrice Curtis, team members drawn from our UUA Congregational Life and Ministries and Faith Development staff groups, will co-hold Interim Search Committee Support groups. ISCS groups provide support and pastoral care for individual search members.

Patrice and Christine held a long discussion about the identities people will hold in each group. They realize there is bound to be overlap (we are each intersectional, fabulous beings). Since this is the first time this is being tried, one group will provide support for search committee members who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The other group will be for those who do not self-identify as such.

The monthly support groups will begin September 2021.

  • Search committee members who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color: Schedule to be determined – RSVP.
  • Search committee members who do not identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color who need support for their committee’s anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural approach to the work of search: Schedule to be determined – RSVP.

Transitions Blog: Sliding Doors

The Transitions Office created a new blog in 2020, Sliding Doors, that covers the ins and outs of the search process. Rev. Patrice Curtis and Rev. Keith Kron will be posting to the blog regularly.

Relevant Resources

Who We Are: Transitions Office Contacts

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My congregation is preparing to enter the search process for a new minister, and we understand we need to fill out a congregational record. How do we access that?

A: The Transitions Office uses our new MinistrySearch system, which debuted in Spring 2018, to conduct all type of searches (called/settled, interim, developmental, and contract). To get started, congregational leaders should send an email to with their congregation’s full name, city, and state, and the name and email for your contact person. We will need to know the type of search, percent time, and start date in order to initiate the search.

To view opportunity listings for ministers, religious educators, musicians, and other congregational staff, please visit the MinistrySearch Jobs Board. To post a position on the jobs board, use the Job Board Listing Request form.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the search process? Is the timing still the same, or has it changed? Should we plan to hire for less than full time ministry now that congregations are not meeting in person?

A: COVID-19 has indeed impacted the search process, but the timing and calendars remain the same (settled search calendar 2021-2025, xls). The pandemic has also changed what ministry looks like on a larger scale; however, we continue to encourage congregations to proceed with plans for full time ministry. We want congregational leaders to keep in mind that most ministers are in fact working more right now—doing more pastoral care, coordinating more events (including running the Sunday services more often), finding ways to stay connected to members, supervising staff, etc. It is crucial that we do our best to support and fairly compensate ministers and congregational staff during this time.

About the Author

UUA Transitions Office, Ministries and Faith Development

Transitions advises congregations that are seeking ministers and ministers seeking positions in all forms of ministry. Through a Transitions Representative in each district, the Transitions Office trains and supports ministerial search committees and recommends ministers for their consideration.

For more information contact .