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Gratitudes from the Ministerial Search Committee

altWe want to thank you, the congregation, for the trust you gave to the seven of us last April, both by sharing our names with the Governing Board when they called each of you and asked who you would want to see on your Ministerial Search Committee, and when you voted to elect us to represent you at the Congregational Meeting. It has been quite the experience! Although, yes, it has been time-consuming and at certain times both emotionally and physically exhausting, it has also been a profound privilege. We have been honored to get to know our congregation and Unitarian Universalism in a deeper and broader way, and had the good fortune to meet some wonderful ministers along the way. The seven of us may never have been in a small group together any other way, and we have all been so enriched by each other. So thank you all for the trust and the gifts of deeper friendship and self-knowledge that we have gained.

Along the way, you all have shown up and engaged with each other at our Cottage Meetings, our Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop, and by filling out our very in-depth congregational survey. And this past week, so many of you have taken the extra time to come in, stay late, and otherwise reach out to get to know Christe personally. Finally, over 73% of you stayed after service last Sunday to overwhelmingly vote to call Christe Lunsford as our settled minister. What a deeply satisfying way to complete our service as your ministerial search committee. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

For those who helped us with our work along the way, organizing information, schedules, and gatherings, you have our deepest gratitude. Thank you: Mary Anthony, Heather Arata, Richard Ashwick, Gene Cowell, Diane dePuydt, David Etherington, Martha and Vic Harrell, Rev. Cathy Harrington, Hazel Hazlett, Judith Kendall, Rev. Maureen Killoran, Leah Cobb Lee, Debby Jo Malickson, Harry Mangle, Peter Marino, Carol Mathews, Heather McAuslane, Deborah McEdward, Gene Mills, Debra Neill-Mareci, Cam Pierce, Marilyn Roberts, Bev Sanders, Martha Soles, Jeff Stevens, Liz Stewart, and Paula Waterman.

With deep gratitude,
Lynne Capehart, Samara Crutchfield, Jeff Dunn, Alisha Dusty, Pete Runyan, Lauren Samuels, and Kristin Stevens

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.

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

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