First Universalist Society in Franklin


FUSF Interim Minister

Rev. Jenny Rankin, Interim Minister

It was a delight to attend Bella Noche this past weekend! Amazing food, fun, conversation, what a treat! Thank you.

We are six months into the first interim year; you are making progress on the five interim goals. The purpose is to help you as a congregation get ready to welcome a new settled minister in August of 2018. This Sunday, you will listen to Lisa Anderson, the so-called “settlement rep” from the UUA who will be your coach as you move through the extensive and rigorous search process to find a new minister. This spring, the board will be contacting you to ask for your help with names for the search committee; it is a highly democratic process and you will vote on the slate for the Search Committee in June.

The search committee will begin their work this coming summer and hope to present a candidate to you in the spring of 2018 for your vote. I have heard that Carol did a great job last spring in explaining to you the UUA guidelines for how a retired minister relates to his/her former congregation.

However, as an interim minister, I get lots of questions about this and thought it would be worth discussing here. Basically, the guidelines of the UU Ministers Association suggest that retired ministers do not have contact with their former congregation during the interim period so that the congregation can debrief, grieve, and begin to move on.

Carol and I are working on a “Letter of Agreement” which spells out in more detail how she and I will relate during this interim period and what her relationship will be with the congregation. When the new settled minister comes, he/she will work out a new Letter of Agreement with Carol. The idea is that if we can be clear about the role of the Minister Emerita, what she will and will not do, then everyone (minister and congregation) can get on the same page and things will run smoothly as the new minister gets established.

In general, the wisdom is that when a new (settled) ministry begins, it is helpful for the new minister to have some space to get established, to develop pastoral relationships with congregation, and that it is wise for a previous minister to give the new minister time to establish themselves before the previous minister begins to be visible or involved again. Then, as things get underway, and the new minister is more settled and secure in the ministry, they work out a new and evolving relationship with a retired minister or Minister Emerita.

Although there are guidelines, and we consult with the UUA for guidance, there is nothing “hard and fast” and each congregation, interim minister, settled minister and retired minister works out their own arrangement.

I hope this is helpful, and as always, I am happy to answer your questions, in person, on the phone or by email.

In faith,

Jenny Rankin

Comments are closed.

We invite you to visit us at First Universalist Society in Franklin

Sunday services begin at 10 a.m. Children and youth religious education 10 a.m.

phone: (508) 528-5348


Our Meetinghouse is located at 262 Chestnut Street, Franklin, MA.

Our mailing address is: PO Box 316, Franklin, MA 02038