Welcome to UUCW’s Ministerial Search Page

Welcome to UUCW’s Ministerial Search Page2024-01-31T21:17:16-06:00

Please check back frequently as new information is posted and updated regularly.

Ministerial Search News and Events

Charge to the Ministerial Search Team

We, the members of Unitarian Universalist Church West, do hereby charge you, the members of our Ministerial Search Team, to carry out the search for our settled minister.

We acknowledge that the search process requires the congregation to engage in the emotional process of change and to move toward a new future together.

We promise to be patient and to understand the need for fairness and confidentiality throughout the search process.

With gratitude for the task you have undertaken, we offer you our full support and pledge to participate, to the best of our ability, in the opportunities the Ministerial Search Team provides for us to voice our individual thoughts about the future of the congregation and the gifts and talents of the settled minister.

And so, we call on you to represent, to the best of your ability, our entire congregation, including the children and teenagers, and our vision for the future of this beloved community.

Acceptance of the Charge

We, the members of the Ministerial Search Team of UUCW, are honored to have been chosen to represent you in the search for our next settled minister.

We recognize, both as a group and individually, that we represent the face of our congregation and community in the ministerial search process.

We accept your charge and we will endeavor, to the best of our ability, to represent the vision for the future of our beloved community, including the children and teenagers in our congregation.

We commit ourselves to keeping you informed about our process to the extent allowed, to listening deeply, and, above all, to being worthy of the responsibility with which you have entrusted us.

We covenant to conduct an inclusive search process and to represent our congregation and its members with honesty, care, compassion, and respect as we engage in this challenging and vital work.

Ministerial Search Team Covenant

As we seek our next minister, engaging in this challenging and vital work,
WE WILL:

  1. Represent our congregation and its members with honesty, care, compassion, and respect;
  2. Abide by the UUA and UUMA Rules;
  3. Be candid with our application about UUCW’s challenges and history;
  4. Cherish the unique gifts, perspectives, identities, and approaches of the Team members, extending grace and support to one another;
  5. Wholeheartedly listen to one another and others’ viewpoints;
  6. Be candid with each other and say what we think, and when conflict arises, we will be respectful and approach conflict as a chance for growth and deeper relationship;
  7. We will treat feedback and critique of our behavior as a sign of trust, courage and accountability and be open to compromise and change;
  8. When we cause harm, we commit to deep listening and repair, putting aside defensiveness and denial with restoration as our goal;
  9. Include all Team members in our decision-making processes;
  10. Conduct substantive discernment conversations as a whole group, with no side conversations;
  11. Take care of ourselves as individuals and as a group and honor our needs for self and community care;
  12. Commit to an inclusive search process, recognizing the unique gifts and identities of ministers;
  13. Pay attention and continue to learn to be truly inclusive and anti-racist;
  14. Treat applicants and each other with fairness, respect, and compassion;
  15. Understand the need for fairness and confidentiality throughout the search process
  16. Strive for transparency and keep the congregation and applicants informed; and
  17. Speak with one voice once decisions are made.

Search Timeline (updated 8/25/23)

  • BOT president notifies UUA of upcoming ministerial search.
  • BOT discusses and finalizes plans, including contacting congregation members for their Ministerial Search Team (MST) nominations.
  • Timeline is finalized.
  • Search process information is distributed in the e-news and during/after services.
  • BOT calls UUA to confirm the process, timeline, and guidelines for search committee eligibility.
  • Congregation members are invited to send their nominations for the MST via e-news and link to the nomination form.
  • Search process is reviewed for compliance with by-laws prior to UUCW’s annual meeting.
  • BOT contacts members of the congregation who haven’t submitted a nomination to ask for their input before May 5.
  • BOT sub-committee tabulates and creates a confidential list of highest-ranked nominations from the congregation.
  • Congregation is informed of the search activities’ progress.
  • BOT calls the highest-ranked nominations to ask if they are willing to serve on the MST, and appoints a 6-member committee.
  • Congregation is informed of the progress and names of the proposed MST in time for the annual meeting.
  • MST is confirmed by the congregation at the annual meeting with an “all or none” vote.
  • MST completes UUA training sessions and their own retreat.
  • BOT designates their liaison to the MST. The BOT liaison is non-voting and only attends MST meetings if needed.
  • MST begins to gather information from any congregation members with prior search experience for interim and settled ministers.
  • BOT appoints a Negotiating Team to recommend salary and benefits package.
  • To help develop the church profile , MST conducts an electronic survey and focus group / cottage meeting listening sessions with the following:
    – BOT, to discuss UUCW mission and its top priorities.
    – Congregational committees, staff, and individuals, to hear their ideas about ministerial needs.
    – Rev. Julie, for information on how to best present UUCW in the competitive UUA hiring process.
  • MST submits application to UUA for Breaking Barriers, Building Beliefs Workshop.

– BOT approves the proposed minister contract and submits it to UUA.
– MST completes the “Congregation Record,” including information from the survey and listening sessions, which presents the church profile on the UUA job site for potential ministers to review.

  • UUCW’s Congregational Record goes live on UUA site on December 1.
  • Ministers inform UUA of their interest in UUCW.
  • Congregation is updated on MST activities.
  • MST receives a list of interested candidates from UUA.
  • MST selects applicants to interview.
  • After interviews, MST chooses 3 “pre-candidates.”
  • Congregation is updated on MST activities.
  • MST schedules a Sunday service at an unnamed, local church for each pre-candidate to preach, and attends the service.
  • MST meets with each pre-candidate discreetly after the service.
  • Congregation is updated on MST activities.
  • MST makes their final selection and invites the candidate to UUCW for “candidating week.”
  • Candidate participates with a UUCW service, interviews, meetings, and social gatherings throughout the week.
  • Special All-Congregation meeting is called to vote on the candidate.
  • BOT submits a “Notice of Call” to UUA after the congregational vote.
  • Negotiating team makes an offer to candidate.
  • Congregation is updated about MST activities.
  • Our new Settled Minister starts work at UUCW!

The Work of the Search Team

“Calling” a minister differs from hiring a staff person. The executive hires staff, while the congregation calls a minister. (Contract ministers are hired, not called.) Calling is a multi-step process that involves the participation of the whole congregation and has spiritual aspects in line with our faith and values. The crucial moment is when the congregation’s members vote to call a new minister.

As a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we work with the Unitarian Universalist Association to identify ministerial candidates. The UUA doesn’t assign ministers but does help congregations with their searches.

To qualify, UU ministers first go through a fellowshipping process managed by the UUA, and then are ordained by a UU congregation. They usually belong to the UU Minister’s Association, and continue their development throughout their service as ministers.

The UUA has a Transitions Office which is helping us with the process of the search. The Transitions Office maintains a database of congregations that are searching for ministers, and ministers who are searching for clergy positions. In January 2024, the UUA Transitions Office will release the names of the searching congregations and the seeking ministers to begin the matching process.

In consultation with the congregation, the Board of Trustees identified and recruited a group of people to serve on the Search Team. Then in June of 2023, the congregation voted to elect the members who would do the search on behalf of the congregation.

You do! After the Search Team goes through an extensive process of identifying and interviewing candidates, it presents a final candidate to the congregation.  During candidating week, the congregation has time to get to know the candidate and hear the candidate speak from the pulpit before voting to call. Most ministers will accept the call if 90 to 95% of the congregation votes in their favor.

You are crucial to this whole process!

This summer and fall, we will gather information about our church and community to create a “congregational record” so candidates can get to know us. The better and fuller the picture candidates have of us, the more likely they will know if our church is a good fit for them.

During this time, we will be having both cottage and small focus group meetings in various locations to gather input from you, our members. We also will conduct an electronic survey of the congregation to get input from you and our staff members. We’ll use all of this information to create a profile of our congregation for searching ministers to see, like a “job posting.”

And of course, the members will vote whether to call the new minister.

We will keep the congregation informed about our progress on a regular basis through our weekly e-news editions and website updates. Once the work of gathering information to create the search materials is completed, the search process will enter a private and confidential stage. This is a period at the beginning of 2024 when the Search Team will review applications, contact references, check out possible candidates, and interview them. All of this must be done in confidence, just like other job interviews, so congregation members and staff cannot follow this part of the process. By honoring the confidentiality of the applicants, these candidates can share more openly with us, allowing us to decide whether their ministry is a good fit for us based on the information we gathered from you during the survey and focus group meetings.

Unfortunately, it is not. Sometimes the right candidate cannot be found or the congregation decides not to call the candidate. This is unusual, but it happens.

We will all be disappointed, but it’s not the end of the world. No match would be a better outcome than a poor match. In that case, we would go back into search again – either with the current search team or with a new one selected at the next annual meeting.

The committee needs to work behind the scenes during the winter and spring of 2023-24, as we are keeping everything confidential to protect the process and potential candidates. By the end of April 2024, we hope to have found a ministerial candidate to introduce to you. Then the process will return to a transparent and public stage. We’ll host a “Candidating Week” so you can meet, get to know, and vote on our candidate. New called ministers usually start in July or August to prepare for the start of the new church program year.

Meet the Ministerial Search Team

Contact the Search Team at search@uucw.org

Tom Levi - Team Chair
Tom Levi - Team Chair

I have lived in Watertown, WI since 1980, where I and my former wife raised my two sons.  I was an attorney and partner for 37 years in the Watertown law firm, currently known as, Bender, Larson, Chidley, Koppes and Associates, S. C.  I was also the Assistant City Attorney (part-time) and City Attorney (part-time) for the City of Watertown (1980-2012).  I fully retired from this law practice in 2017.  I am a founding Director and was formerly legal counsel to the Watertown Area Community Foundation (1991 – present).

I was also active in many local, nonprofit organizations in Watertown during my professional career. In my retirement, I am pursuing other interests in community service by teaching and facilitating discussion groups and acting as a group facilitator in state prisons for the Alternatives to Violence Project, facilitating in-person, 22-hour workshops with incarcerated men to encourage them to develop non-violent responses to the violence they encounter in prison, in their families, and in their communities after they are released from prison.

My wife, Jude Christensen, and I have been members of UUC-West since November 2021. At UU Church West, I am currently an active member of the Anti-Racism Transformational Team (ARTT), BLM2WisconsinUUS (a task force of UU Congregations in the Milwaukee Metro area), and the Adult Religious Education Program. In my free time, I enjoy travel, visiting family and grandchildren, reading, getting out in Nature hiking, and cooking.

Joyce Cable
Joyce Cable

I’ve been a member of UUCW since 1992, when my sons, Nic and Chris, were 3 and 9, respectively. We moved our UU membership from First Unitarian Society in Milwaukee. Right away I got involved in the RE program by joining the council which assisted the DRE in planning curriculum. I participated in the formation of Uunity Circles, a small group, ministry program, and then helped start the Lay Pastoral Care Team. I was committed to both programs for many years. Also, I’ve served as the chair of the Nominating team, organized coffee volunteers, and currently, besides making coffee, I count offertory, am a greeter, and enjoy Dinners in the Home.

I live in Wauwatosa with my partner, Darthe Jennings, two large Ragdoll cats and one small Shih tzu. I was born and raised in Milwaukee and have worked for social justice since I was a youth. My career was teaching elementary students with special education challenges in Milwaukee Public Schools. So, it has been a natural fit for me to be on our Social Action Council, work on Common Ground issues, and serve on the MICAH board and Education Task Force, as well as participate in many workshops, book groups and the Beloved Conversations, two times.

All of these experiences have helped me learn, grow and change personally and spiritually. We have all had to face many other changes over the years, but especially these past few years because of the pandemic, meeting online for church, social groups and meetings, and now, needing to find a new minister.  As a member of your Ministerial Search Team, I am open and willing to hear your ideas as we travel through the ministerial search process.

David Feil
David Feil

I became aware of Unitarian Universalism in the 1980s due to a girlfriend whose father was a UU minister. The two of us created a student organization for promoting peace and other social justice issues. Fast forward a decade through my religion of Sunday morning coffee and NPR, and my wife, Shawn Kalloway, and I decided to look for a spiritual home to raise our kids while Shawn was pregnant. We have been members of UUCW since 2001. In this time, our two children went through the RE program and both Shawn (10 yrs) and Dave (5 years) have taught in the RE program. In addition to serving on the Committee on Ministry, I served on the Board of Trustees from 2017-2020, serving as president in the 2018-19 year as UUCW was going through our Build 2020 campaign. After having served on the board, I spent three years serving on the Nominating Committee. When Rev. Suzelle Lynch announced her retirement, I offered my service and was selected by the board to serve on the Interim Minister Search Committee that successfully brought Rev. Jullan Stoneberg to UUCW.  

In my professional life, I am an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Carroll University. In this capacity during my 28 years in higher education, I have served on many searches for faculty and staff and have served on the Tenure and Promotion Committee (chairing for 3 years). A primary concern for this committee is confidentiality. I believe this will serve well on the Settled Minister Search Committee and am interested in seeing the similarities and differences between academic and ministerial searches. I am honored that the congregation has deemed me worthy of helping the congregation move forward with our ministry. 

Natalie Fleury
Natalie Fleury

I have been a member of UUCW since 2008.  Before joining UUCW, I attended holiday services at First Church with my (now ex) husband’s mother and felt a connection with the UU church I had never experienced in the Lutheran Church of my youth.  When I was going through my divorce, I ran into Reverend Suzelle on the playground (our children were in the same grade at the same school), and she encouraged me to try UUCW.  It was exactly what my young children and I needed. I felt like I had been looking for the UUCW community and Unitarian Universalism my whole adult life.  UUCW is my spiritual home; I was a participant in the first Wellspring group and found the experience to be transformative.  I have been both a participant and a facilitator in Wellspring, have taught in RE, and am a founding member of Kaleidoscope, the UUCW Worship Band.  I’m also a member of the Twisted Stitchers, a knitting, crocheting, needlepointing, (and any other crafts) group.

Both my son and my daughter were active in RE and the YRUU high school group, and both were privileged to travel to Boston for a UU Heritage Trip.  My son also did a service trip to the Lakota Indian Reservation; COVID put a stop to some of my daughter’s opportunities, though she was a NAYC delegate and helped plan a number of CONS.  My son Will and I traveled to Nicaragua in 2016 as part of the UUCW Bridges to Community group and helped build a house for Maria and her family. Owing to Julia’s youth leadership, I was a chaperone for a number of YRUU CONS, another amazing and transformative experience.

Professionally I am a lawyer, mediator and ombuds.  I currently work full-time as an Ombuds at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Until May 2022, I split my time between MCW and Marquette Law School, where I taught the small claims mediation clinic for 10 years and helped design and implement a foreclosure mediation program that was used statewide. Through my work at Marquette, I also traveled to Israel 4 times with law students as part of an International Conflict course.  I share a house with my 84-year-old mother Judi, who joined UUCW after she moved to Wauwatosa in 2017, a cat, Willow, and a dog, Jemma.  My son Will is 25 and lives in Cincinnati; my daughter Julia is 21 and just started her senior year at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.

I was a member of the Interim Search Team, which was a challenging and fulfilling experience and paved the way for me to be a member of the Ministerial Search Committee.  I look forward to serving UUCW and partnering with the congregation, the UUA, and the candidates during this important process.

Caryl Sewell
Caryl Sewell

I have been a UU since I first joined the Unitarian Fellowship of Milwaukee many years ago to find like-minded folks and sing in the choir.

Since then, I’ve been active in a variety of roles —at Unitarian Church North where I was a search committee member— and at UUCW where I have been a board member and president, a member of the nominating, bylaws, and endowment committees, earth ministry, and, of course, a loyal member of the choir.

I am a graduate of NU and MU (Northwestern and Marquette) with degrees respectively in elementary education (BS) and Journalism (MA).

After five years living in the Netherlands, where I taught five grades in a two-room elementary school, I became involved in the creation of one of the first hospice programs in the US and served as an administrative assistant and director of Volunteers.

Following this experience, I worked for Children’s Wisconsin for 20 years in public relations as a professional medical writer and ultimately as director of PR and Advertising until my retirement. During that time I served on various community boards including the American Cancer Society, the Hemophilia Foundation, and a freshwater group that merged to become a part of the Discovery World Museum.

I’m delighted to be a member of the search committee and will work hard to serve you well as we seek our next settled minister.

Mark Steinberg
Mark Steinberg

I have been a UUCW member for 12 years and have resided in Wisconsin since 1969.

I have 2 sons, and recently married Terese Dineen, a fellow UUCW member, in 2022.

I received a BS degree in Meteorology from Rutgers University in 1969 and a MS degree in Meteorology from UW in 1971, followed by a 50-year career in environmental, health and safety positions at Wisconsin Electric Power Company, SC Johnson, and several environmental consulting firms. I have served on the Boards of the Elmbrook Little League and the Wisconsin Federation of Environmental Technologists.

I have previously served on our church’s Endowment Committee, Committee on Ministry, Lay Pastoral Care Team, Safety and Security Task Force and the CommUUnity Connections Sunday Drivers Team. I am currently a member of the Finance and Earth Ministry Committees, and the Church Membership Team. Church affinity group meetings I attend include the Men’s Breakfast Club and the meditation group.

 Recognizing the importance of the Minister Search Team to our congregation, I appreciate the opportunity to serve.

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