The seven members of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge Search Committee were unanimously elected by the congregation in the Spring 2019 after our minister of 36 years retired. The members bring to the committee a diversity and depth that well represent the complexity of our congregation. On the committee are people of color, members of the church’s LGBTQ community, former Board members, a former congregational president, religious education teachers and parents, both long-time church members and members with shorter histories with the church, small group facilitators, a member of the choir, and a member of the church’s worship guild.
The Search Committee officially began its work at a weekend retreat with our UUA transition’s coach in November 2019. The flexibility and determination the committee showed that weekend when the retreat center they had reserved proved to be a bit too rustic (a more suitable lodging and meeting space was immediately sought and secured) has been called upon several times during our journey thus far.
In April 2020, in response to the growing pandemic, our church closed its building. This happened as we were completing the congregational survey and planning cottage meetings and focus groups. But like that weekend of the retreat, we rose immediately to the challenge by switching plans for the cottage meetings and focus groups from in-person gatherings to gathering via Zoom. The congregation has been very strong and flexible as we tweaked the process, and we are very proud to say no time or momentum was lost.
We were recently met with another major challenge when the interim minister who had been so expertly supporting our work and the church’s transition announced that he would not be able to serve his second year due to a family emergency. The congregation has once again dealt gracefully with a difficult situation. The search committee has been supported by the UUA during this transition, and we are still on schedule.
So, like the congregation we serve, we are a resilient and strong group. Through this we have become more dedicated to the solemn task the congregation has given us, and we are determined to move forward no matter what challenges we may face.