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GA 2020

The Transitions Office at General Assembly 2020

Since we cannot be present in person at GA this year, Transitions Office staff have compiled some important information pertaining to ministerial search to share virtually with GA attendees. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns during the drop-in hours below or by writing to us at We will miss chatting with you in the Welcome Booth this year!

GA Workshop: Why We Want and Resist Diversity


10:00 a.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. CT / 8:00 a.m. MT / 7:00 a.m PT


Facilitated by Rev. Patrice Curtis and Rev. Keith Kron

"We want to look more diverse but we don’t want to be more diverse.” While it may not be said, it’s a sentiment often lived out in our congregations. We’ll explore the subtle ways in which our congregational systems keep ourselves in place and what we can do differently.

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

Office Hours

1. For Congregations and Ministers Beginning Interim Ministry in 2020

During ministerial search, an interim minister and congregational leaders - most often members of the search committee and the Board of Trustees – shepherd their congregation through the process. It is often a time of grief; joy; personal contemplation; congregation-wide reflection; learning; and ultimately, hope and excitement. Decades of congregational searches have illustrated a whelp and weft to this time; yet, because congregations spread across Canada and the United States, it is possible for congregational leaders to never realize their experiences are near the same as other congregations in search.

You are therefore invited to discover the experiences of other congregations in this year’s search cycle. The meetings are for three congregational leaders and their interim minister to meet with other congregational teams and deepen your service in a critical time in the life of your congregation. The UUA Ministries and Faith Development group is offering monthly live Zoom workshops; these meetings will include a short formal teaching presentation and a time to bring your search-related questions to draw on the experience and wisdom of those gathered.

Please RSVP to receive your Zoom invitation. The monthly Zoom meetings will begin in September 2020.

2. Search Committee Support Groups 

[Second Tuesdays, TBD]

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 2020-2021 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 August 2020:

  • Centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color: Second Tuesdays of the month – RSVP.
  • Search committee members who need support for their committee’s anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural approach to the work of search: Second Tuesdays of the month – RSVP.

3. Transitions Blog: Sliding Doors

The Transitions Office created a new blog this month, 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. 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.