Interim Minister Search

UUCB Restorative Practices Circle Feedback

By Bobby Withrow, President

In 2021, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo experienced staff upheaval and conflict. This left the congregation feeling a lot of emotions. Part of the response was to bring in the Reverend Paul Langston-Daley. He led a series of circle processes that helped address the conflict surrounding everything. Attached is a summary of the answer to the final question asked of all participants: What do you need to be able to move forward?

UUCB Restorative Practices Circle Summary

Let the Board know if you have any questions about the circle process or the feedback:

Interim Minister Search Update #1, By Bobby Withrow, President, BoT

Since the Reverend Joan Montagnes announced her retirement, I know that many of us have strong feelings about what has happened and what is going to happen. For me, I’m looking forward to interim time. Will I miss Joan? Absolutely. But interim ministry provides us with a unique experience. It gives us a time for reflection and introspection. We can figure out who we are as a congregation. I’ve been through this before at my old church. During that time, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I felt devastated at the leaving of the two ministers who helped me realize that I had been missing something in my life. I looked at interim ministry as a time for me to answer the following questions:

  • Who am I as a person?
  • What do I believe in?
  • What do I want to achieve in the World?
  • Where do I want to be in the future in this congregation?

These questions helped me ground my own feelings so I could work through my emotions. Once I was able to do that, I was able to look ahead and see that interim ministry is an opportunity. And I know that for us, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, interim ministry will allow us to become an even more cohesive congregation that stands up for those who can’t, that preaches a message of all-encompassing love, and that works towards the greater good for all people across all identities to fight injustice in all of its forms.

As I said in my article in the March newsletter, you are going to be hearing from me and others over the next few weeks. The Board of Trustees has already been in contact with the UUA Transitions Office (they handle all ministerial changes) about the next steps. Below are some key dates that we will be following:

March 5, 2023: Nomination period opens for the Interim Search Committee members
March 22, 2023: BOT finalizes the members of the Interim Search Committee
March 26, 2023: Interim Search Committee members are announced to the congregation
April 20, 2023: Interim Search Committee completes Congregational Interim Record Sheet (application)
May 15, 2023: Interim Search Committee submits choices to UUA
May 17, 2023: Offers are made
May 18, 2023: New interim minister chosen!

The Board of Trustees will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Sunday, March 12, 2023 right after church to discuss all of this. In addition, I will be making an announcement from the pulpit this Sunday, March 5, 2023, about what it means to be a member of the Interim Search Committee.