The Transition Team of First Universalist Society in Franklin exists to guide the congregation through the UUA’s Five Interim Goals for Congregations in Transition. Our work is to define our unique set of needs, strengths, and vision is for selecting and moving forward with a new minister. We operate in collaboration with our Interim Minister. Members of the Transition Team are available to speak with congregants about the process at any time. Just ask!
Our work centers on these five congregational transition goals as set by the UUA:
1. Claiming and honoring our past and engaging and acknowledging our griefs and conflicts
2. Recognizing our unique identity and our strengths, needs, and challenges
3. Understanding the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition
4. Making appropriate use of District, UUA, and other outside resources, long term strategic plan, and connecting with the wider UU movement
5. Renewing our vision, strengthening its stewardship, preparing for new growth and new professional leadership, ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest.
Transition Process, Listening Circles and Visioning
The UUA has outlined steps for transitioning congregations (see above.) Some highlights of the progress FUSF has made are outlined below.
The Transition Team and Rev. Jenny held Listening Circles during the Fall of 2016. These small group conversations (10-15 people) allowed congregants to share their unique stories, sense of the congregation’s strengths, and opportunities for growth or improvement. Guiding Questions were provided, and every participant was given an opportunity to speak. The goal of these circles was not just for the Transition Team and Rev. Jenny to hear from congregants, but also for congregants to hear from one another.
Some items to note:
- During Circles notes were taken, but information was aggregated and no identifying information was recorded.
- Circles were intended to be places where all could speak freely, and confidentiality was important.
- A summary of the Listening Circle feedback was presented to the congregation in January. If you missed that service, you can ask to see a written summary. Ask a Transition Team member or email email@example.com for a copy.
- The Congregation made great progress toward goals 1, 2, and 3 above.
Vision and Identity
On April 2, 2017, the Transition Team hosted the Sunday Service. They spoke about the importance of vision and identity. In order for FUSF to call its next settled minister, we need to understand our past and unique identity and be able to articulate our vision for the future.
During April, the Team also hosted several Visioning Circles and distributed an online survey about vision. Results were presented to the congregation during the Annual Meeting in May, and are available to any congregation members who requests them.
In September 2017, the Transition Team met with the Board of Trustees, Search Committee, and key staff members during a retreat. The Transition Team and Interim Minister guided the other teams and staff in a modified visioning process to kick off our work for the 2017-18 year.
The Transition Team will be assisting the Search Committee by hosting a service and after-service workshop, “Beyond Categorical Thinking,” in October. This is viewed by the UUA as a vital piece for all congregations in transition, and leadership at FUSF welcomes this opportunity for our congregation to think deeply about our biases and preconceived ideas around calling a new settled minister.
Transition Team members: Karen Allard, Jeff Cerier, Alec Danz, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert (co-Chair), Marjorie Roemer, Jerry Rubin (Liaison to Board), Judy Swaim, Joan Toye (co-Chair)