This is my response to the sixth and seventh open-ended questions in the survey provided by my congregation's Ministerial Search Committee. The first response and the background behind these survey questions can be found here.
Describe the worst mistake your new minister could make.
Given that All Souls is one of the most conservative UU congregations I’ve attended, anything that moves us away from mainstream UU denominational practices would be a mistake. Within my experience within UU congregations, conferences, etc, we are at the conservative margins already.
Also, it would be to call a minister who is unwilling to take principled social justice stands on issues in our community. Our ordained religious professional (Angie) and our non-ordained religious professional (Susan) have both made some very courageous statements in favor of love, equality, and justice during the anti-same sex marriage amendment debates last fall. While I understand there has been some grumbling from some individuals over these social justice stands, I feel that we should be proud of standing up for justice and love.
Any UU minister who is unwilling to speak out like Angie and Susan on these social justice matters would not be good for our congregation, Unitarian Universalism, or Shreveport.
What expectations, however unstated, do you have about the minister’s family and personal life?
Since we are a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I think we should comply with the recommendations that have been created through the open and democratic governance of our association:
“… the 1980 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urge the UUA and its member churches, fellowships and organizations to renew their commitment to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons through educational programs at the local, district, and continental levels and calls upon the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and the UUA Department of Ministerial and Congregational Services to lend full assistance in the settlement of qualified openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual religious leaders.” [1980 General Assembly Business Resolution]
“The MFC declares and affirms its special responsibility to value all persons without regard to race, color, gender, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, family structure, age, ethnicity, or national origin in making its credentialing decisions.” [Ministerial Fellowship Committee policy update, reported to the UUA Board of Trustees, 8 December 2003]
To me, this means our search committee should fairly consider any and all qualified candidates without regard to race, color, gender, gender expression, affectional or sexual orientation, family structure, age, ethnicity, or national origin.
I don’t have anything else to add here except that we as a congregation need to set healthy boundaries so our future minister had enough time away from us so she can have a personal and family life.