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Meet Our Ministerial Candidate

On Sunday, March 31, Search Committee Chair Lynne Capehart announced to the congregation that the search team had found a "match" and on the following Sunday, April 7, Lynne introduced Christe Lunsford to the congregation. She shared the following:

Christe Lunsford, Ministerial CandidateChriste Lunsford is currently serving as Intern Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford, Illinois. Christe holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School as well as a Masters in Fine Arts for Theatrical Production and Design from Florida Atlantic University.

Christe is excited about joining the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville to celebrate the joys and sorrows in life in beloved community while seeking truth and meaning in the world.

Christe is dedicated to anti-racism and anti-oppression work. As a trans-masculine/non-binary person who uses they/them pronouns, Christe’s call toward parish ministry serves to lift up voices from the margins as a way of de-centering whiteness and demand the same of others. They work to create communities that are able to have deep conversations about difficult topics, ever-seeking what holds each of us back from creating the world in which we wish to live.

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Minister Candidate to Visit April 27 through May 5

We Are Pleased To Announce We Have Invited A Minister To Candidate With Our Congregation, And They Have Joyfully Accepted!

Mark your calendars: from April 27 - May 5, the candidate will spend a “candidating week” with us — they will be in the pulpit, meeting with various committees and groups and generally talking with and getting to know us while giving us a chance to know them. The week will provide an opportunity for our congregation to make an informed decision whether to “call” them, as well as an opportunity for the minister to evaluate our congregation, our campus, and our ministerial position before deciding to accept. It’s a week to introduce an extraordinary person to an extraordinary congregation. There will be many opportunities to meet and interact with the candidate during the week and many of you may receive invitations to group specific events.

We'll announce the candidate's identity at our earliest possible opportunity. Remember we need a few days for final contract negotiations, a criminal background check, scheduling details, and an opportunity for the candidate to inform the congregation they are currently serving.

With Love,
Your Ministerial Search Committee


Ending the Communications Blackout

Your beloved search committee has enjoyed meeting and spending time with 3 qualified pre-candidates for UUFG’s settled minister. When each minister arrived in Gainesville for a weekend, we started off by showing them our lovely Fellowship building and grounds. Our seasonable weather and early spring really showcased Florida's beauty! We then gathered on Friday night at Jeff Dunn and David Etherington’s lovely home for a relaxed welcome dinner, getting to know the minister and their partner -- many thanks to David for making himself scarce for us! Saturday morning, we gathered in the Duck Pond at a historic home, thanks to Samara’s mom, for an intense 3-hour interview, after which we ate out at some new (to some) and interesting restaurants for Saturday lunches. We took them on tours of the University and greater Gainesville area; we walked around Payne’s Prairie and talked about tubing the Ichetucknee and bird watching. We had ice cream at Karma Cream; we drove around neighborhoods; we saw the downtown area, including the Hippodrome; saw the Swamp and O’Connell Center; of course, identified all the different coffee shops one can go; and generally showed off our wonderful town. We also drove approximately 13 hours total to and from various neutral pulpits to watch the candidate conduct a service on Sunday morning. And please do keep in mind that much of those activities and drives were in the rain! It has been a tiring but wonderful experience!

After all of that, we met last week for a final time before Offer Day, and came to a consensus. We had exhaustively evaluated all ministers based on what you all said was most important to you in our Cottage Meetings and the Congregational Survey, and were able to rank the 3 ministers. After that, we further discussed the results and agreed with our top choice and how we felt about our other two as well. The whole discernment was not easy, because each one would bring different but valuable gifts to UUFG. However, we all agreed that one candidate stood above the others and is the best fit for our congregation. Thankfully, that sentiment is returned!

So now we move forward. We are already planning for the nine days the candidate and their partner will be spending with us from April 27 - May 5 for Candidating Week. This will include two Sunday worship services led by the candidate, plus many other opportunities during the week for you to get to know them. Following the second Sunday service, members of the congregation will vote on whether to call this minister to UUFG.

Your search committee continues to be honored by your faith in us to go through this process as your representatives, and we are excited to be close to the time when you will meet and get to know our candidate as we have. Today is the celebration of our March into the Future stewardship campaign – the time we ask for money so we can continue to grow as a beloved community. An important part of that is giving our minister the salary and benefits that make it possible for them to thrive and live comfortably as they love and care for our community. The committee hopes you have pledged to support the Fellowship, including our new minister, as we move forward in this exciting time.

Joyfully,
Alisha, Jeff, Kristin, Lauren, Lynne, Pete, and Samara

 
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Search News

After Sunday Services
Meet two members of the search committee who will answer any questions you may have.

Sunday Services
Please plan to attend both Sunday services when Christe will be preaching, April 28 and May 5.

Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019
12 pm - 2 pm
Potluck lunch

Sunday, May 5, 2019
12:10 pm - 1:30 pm
Congregational Vote
All members should plan to attend this meeting where we vote on whether or not we ratify the Search Committee's choice and therefore choose Christe as our new settled minister!

Email your search committee
Search2018(at)uufg.org

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