From Starting to Parting Supporting Religious Education and Music Staff in UU Congregations

What is From Starting to Parting? This resource has been created to guide congregational leaders in recruiting, hiring, supporting, and transitioning professional music and religious education leaders. Religious Education (Religious Exploration, Religious Growth and Learning, Faith Development, Faith Formation) and Music are both core program areas in congregational life. Accordingly, much of the information supplied here applies to both religious educators and musicians. Where appropriate, we offer separate considerations for the two types of positions. A lot of the guidance will also apply to other staff positions, especially lead program staff such as a Director of Membership or a Social Justice Coordinator.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction

  • What is From Starting to Parting?
  • How was it developed?
  • Assumptions and Aspirations
  • A Word About Best Practices
  • Think Big: Your Congregation’s Mission and Vision
  • A Work in Progress

Part II: Search

  • Support for the Search Process
  • Search Timeline
  • Search Team
  • Gathering Input
  • Reflecting on Mission and Vision
  • Budget
  • New Position, Vacancy, or Reconfiguration
  • Special Situations
  • Interim and Acting Positions
  • Inside Candidates and Members as Staff
  • Personnel Policies
  • Creating or Modifying the Position Description
  • Publicity
  • Screening and Interviewing

Part III: Starting Well

  • Finalize Position Description
  • Employment Agreement
  • Announce and Prepare
  • Welcome
  • Establishing Staff Identity

Part IV: Supporting Staff

  • Ongoing Support
  • Staff Teams
  • Supervision
  • Performance Management
  • Staff Team, Supervision, & Performance Management Challenges
  • Additional Resources

Part V: Departures

  • Why Staff Leave
  • Voluntary Resignations
  • Involuntary Departures
  • Exit Interviews
  • Retirement


I: Creating a Program Mission/Vision Statement

II: Sharing Responsibility

About the Authors

UUA Office of Church Staff Finances, Ministries and Faith Development

The UUA Office of Church Staff Finances states its own mission as follows: Guided by the values of our faith, we equip congregations for excellence as employers and their staff for financial competence and well-being. Information, services, and programs are provided to congregational leaders and...

Jan Gartner

Jan is passionate about helping congregations live out their values within their walls!...

For more information contact .