Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here: The Weekly Liberal Feb. 1
In this week’s newsletter, Board Secretary Christa Anders, on behalf of the First Universalist Board of Trustees, writes:
First Universalist is blessed with dynamic ministers. Over the past five years our “called” ministers, Justin Schroeder and Jen Crow, have developed a close partnership that has helped them lead our church with vision and courage. So close, in fact, that Justin and Jen have come to the realization over the past year that the current structure, in which Justin serves as the Senior Minister, reporting to the Board of Trustees, and Jen serves as Executive Minister, reporting to Justin, is no longer an accurate reflection of their partnership. Last March, Justin and Jen asked the Board to consider changing their responsibilities and relationship with our Church to a co-ministry.
A move to co-ministry means that Justin and Jen would be true peers, sharing the work of the church, receiving equal pay, and both reporting to the Board of Trustees. As you might expect, they had put careful thought and consideration into this request, talking with many of their colleagues, working with a coach, consulting with the other ministers at First Universalist, and leaning into our Unitarian Universalist values. Their goal is to model teamwork and partnership, ratify the working relationship they have developed, and help ensure a long, healthy, and stable ministry at First Universalist.
The Board has carefully considered this request and spent the past several months reaching out to other UU churches with co-ministry models, consulting with experts at the UUA, revisiting our church’s history with co-ministry, and reviewing best practices of other co-ministry models. The Board believes that moving to a co-ministry model is an exciting development that will better serve our congregation.
More work remains to be done before bringing this before the congregation at the annual meeting. At the State of the Church meeting on February 11, 2018, there will be an opportunity for questions, and there will be listening sessions later this year for those who want to provide input.
Christa Anders, Board Secretary, on behalf of the First Universalist Board of Trustees