The congregation voted on Sunday, April 14th on whether OCUUC should call the Rev. Sian Wiltshire to be our Settled Minister.
The vote was 99% in favor, and Rev. Sian accepted the call.
Rev. Sian will return to Indiana but be back in late summer to be OCUUC’s Settled Minister.
As we breathe a collective sigh that this journey has brought OCUUC together with Rev. Sian, we realize there are four months of an energized forward momentum to work on our new buildings and enliven our church’s mission statement:
Building just communities
Caring for one another
If you have yet to read about Rev. Sian Wiltshire, you may find our introductory article on this website.
With a hearty “Huzzah!” we welcome our newest settled minister, Rev. Sian Wiltshire!
Thank you to the Ministerial Search Committee for the fabulous job of presenting OCUUC to Rev. Sian and showing her the ‘real’ us! She likes us, she really likes us!
There will be a Congregational Meeting on Sunday April 14, 2013 at 12:15pm
This meeting was called by the Board. We will meet in the temporary sanctuary.
- Determination of Quorum
- Call to Order
- Chalice Lighting
- Vote on Motion: Shall the Members of Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church call the Rev. Sian Wiltshire as Settled Minister?
Child care will be provided. Light refreshments will follow.
Contact OCUUC’s Settled Minister Search Committee (mscocuucorg) with any questions about the Settled Minister Candidate.
It is my great pleasure to present to you on behalf of the Ministerial Search Committee, our candidate for our settled minister, The Reverend Sian Wiltshire. Sian is currently in her second year as the interim minister of First Unitarian Church of South Bend, Indiana.
“If you are wondering how to pronounce my name, you are not alone.
Sian is the feminine version of the Gaelic “Sean”
and is pronounced the same way.” ~ Rev. Sian Wiltshire
Sian is a native of Washington where she completed seminary at the School of Theology and Ministry of Seattle University.
Prior to filling the interim minister position with South Bend, Sian was both the intern minister and sabbatical minister for First UU of Nashville, TN. This was a very unusual situation for an intern minister. First the church is a large congregation of nearly 500 and when churches of this size have a minister go on sabbatical they usually don’t call an intern and they certainly don’t have the intern replace the minister in the pulpit. In this case though there was nothing usual about Sian. Rather than preaching once a month as most interns do, she preached at least three times a month. Her supervising minister during this time was the Rev Jason Shelton who is also the minister of the music program for the church. Some of you may recall the rousing weekend we had here last year with Jason. In our reference call with Jason he said this about Sian: “Not only did Sian thrive during this time, but the congregation did as well. Attendance stayed up and membership increased during this time which is not always the case for an interim much less an intern…. Sian was so good for the congregation that they wanted to honor her by being the congregation to ordain her”. As to her interim ministry with South Bend, they have been in the interesting position of having her as their interim, a search for a settled minister and a search and purchase of a new site for their congregation. Sounds familiar. One respondent to our reference checks in South Bend said that if were not against the rules they would have chosen to just have her continue as their settled minister. Lucky for us.
In preparing for parish ministry Sian has completed an internship in fulfillment of her clinical pastoral education as a chaplain at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA and then completed an internship as part of her seminary requirements with the King County Jail in Seattle. She conducted worship services and counseling for inmates as well as preparation of worship materials for both English and Spanish speakers.
Sian has a BA in Latin and a BA in Classical Studies from the University of Washington along with an MA in classical and near eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr. She completed her doctoral exams in the same subject area where she also was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship for study abroad. At this point Sian had a change in career direction and worked in senior management for Aquent Corporation, a placement firm for marketing and creative professionals. Sian served in a variety of positions including country manager for several years in Australia. Sian has significant expertise in training, human resources and technical applications.
Sian’s spiritual journey began with explorations of Society of Friends, the Quakers, Judaism, several of the eastern religions and Shamanism before someone told her she just might be a Unitarian Universalist. This led her to attending a UU congregation in Washington. She knew she had found a home. Eventually she felt called to ministry and turned her attention and academic skills to pursue her Masters in Divinity and successful completion of all the requirements for preliminary fellowship as a UU minister which was awarded in April of 2011.
Sian is single and shares her home with her “loveable mutt” Ananda, who enjoys taking Sian for daily walks in the neighborhood. Sian also has an identical twin sister, Regan, who resides with her own family in Washington.
There is much more to know about Sian. The Ministerial Search Committee has spent hours listening to her sermons, reading her packet, studying her newsletter articles, talking to references she provided as well as references we developed on our own. Without exception the references were glowing and confirmed what we had concluded based on everything else that we learned about Sian and that is that she is an enormously talented, compassionate, intelligent and dedicated minister that any congregation would be pleased to have as their settled minister. Sian has traveled and lived all over the world. She will be our guest for ten days next month, and you will have an opportunity to learn what we have found. We recommend to you, without reservation, the Reverend Sian Wiltshire as our next settled minister.
Favorite Quote:There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. ~ Leonard Cohen
What’s happening with the Search Committee?
March 21 – The Search Committee will formally extend an invitation to an applicant to become a candidate
Sunday, March 24 – The Search Committee will make a formal announcement and lead the Sunday service
Sunday, April 7 - Candidate delivers her first sermon
April 7 to April 13 - Candidating Week*
Sunday, April 14 – Candidate gives the sermon. Congregation then votes during Congregational Meeting
OCUUC’s Settled Minister Search Committee has been hard at work at finding the best minister possible to carry OCUUC into the future. We are into that part of the search that has us asking, “Which of the ministers we have spoken with would be the best match for our congregation?”
We received a bunch of applications in November and December. We decided then to have phone interviews with most of them and only ask for more contact with those few we thought would be a good match. The next step is pre-candidating, which involves bringing the candidate here to meet in person, to have multiple meals and conversations and to allow us to observe the minister in action, performing a service at a near-by church. Because of the time and expense involved, we resolved to extend the pre-candidating invitation to only those ministers who we thought could be reasonable matches for us. Fortunately, we had a good selection, and we were impressed by two of the applicants, both very capable women.
We are now in the discernment portion of the search. Our potential ministers have many good qualities that would be beneficial to us. We will be discussing them over the next few weeks, until March 21, which is the day we can formally extend an invitation.
Knowing that both of our candidates are being interviewed by other congregations is nerve-wracking for us. It is possible that they will be more impressed by another congregation. The other likely scenario is that they both like us best, and we have to say goodbye to one of them. This would be the best outcome, but difficult for the Search Committee. Regardless, we will know the outcome soon after 9:00 am on March 21st.
How will we let you all know the outcome of the search? The committee will be in charge of the Sunday service on March 24, when we will make a formal announcement. Please be sure to attend church on that day. However, the Search does not end until the congregation votes to extend the invitation and the minister accepts it.
*Candidating Week refers to the time when the minister visits with us and we all try to meet her and decide how to vote. The week starts on Sunday April 7, with the minister delivering her first sermon. During the following week she will be meeting with as many of us as she can, with Board and committees, and in informal situations such as potluck dinners. She will preach again on the 14th, after which all the members of the congregation will vote. If the vote is an overwhelming “Yes!”, the minister will be asked to commit to us.
What can you do until April?
- If you are part of a committee, plan to have a meeting during Candidating Week (April 7-13). Keep your schedule open for a social event or two.
- If you are not a member of the congregation yet, contact the Membership Committee (Membershipocuucorg) to ask about joining. You must sign the membership book at least 30 days prior to voting which means before approximately March 13th. There is a Pathways to Membership class on March 10th.
Thank you for the trust you have put in us to find a new settled minister. We are all committed to the very best outcome. Please contact us (mscocuucorg) with your questions and comments.
The Ministerial Search Committee has entered into the most exciting part of the search process. Candidates have applied, and now we are reviewing their resumes and beginning to hold interviews. We received 11 applications! The candidates have varying amounts of experience and viewpoints, and are from all over the country. We will be speaking with all of them and narrowing our choices to three or four that we think would be good matches for us.
During January and February we will be meeting in person with those fortunate few and getting to know them better. They will also be asking us questions and trying to decide for themselves if they think they want to continue with us. We have to keep in mind that while we are considering them, they have applied to other churches who will be making the same kinds of decisions. It is exciting but also a little nerve-wracking.
Please keep in touch with us with your questions and comments. We are trying hard to find the very best match for us as we go forward with our plans for a bigger and better OCUUC.
The Ministerial Search Committee has worked hard putting together our packet of information for prospective ministers. The packet is available online for you to check out for yourself.
The OCUUC Search Committee cordially invites all congregants to attend an important workshop on “Beyond Categorical Thinking” (BCT) after the service and potluck on Sunday, November 18th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
The two-hour workshop will be presented by two representatives from the UUA at no charge to our church.
The theme of the session is stereotypes and how to discard old ones when we select a new minister next spring. Our church members will vote on the Search Committee’s recommended candidate next spring.
This short training will help members make a good decision, one that is right for OCUUC. Please plan to attend!
We have been hard at work this fall. The two most difficult and time-consuming parts of the search process are the congregational survey and the production of our “advertising” documents. The survey was completed last year (Thank you, Barbara Schilling!), and the other documents are almost done. The first thing we worked on was the Congregational Record. This is where we spell out all the facts and figures about the congregation, including budgets, attendance figures and programs. This is the first look at the congregation that a prospective candidate will have, besides our website.
The second part of our advertising is called the Congregational Packet. This is where we explain what we are looking for in a minister and go into more detail about our programming, other UU connections, such as the District offices and Camp de Benneville Pines, and the Orange County and Costa Mesa area. We have letters of recommendation, descriptions of our services, a detailed history of the church, and a lot of photos. The Packet will be available for you to see on our website. We will also print a paper copy to keep in Sarah’s office.
These documents are posted online by the UUA for prospective candidates. We were expecting this to be done by the first of November, but the date has been changed to November 26. After that date, we will begin to get names of interested ministers. Then the resume reviewing, interviewing, and reference checking will begin. We are looking forward to talking to, meeting with, and hearing sermons from ministers we hope will be in contention for our position.
The search process is an open one, so please ask us about anything you like, except the names of candidates. These need to be kept confidential.
Upcoming Event: Sunday November 18: Beyond Categorical Thinking Service and Workshop
The Sunday service and afternoon workshop will help us think about unconscious bias we might have toward a new minister. Plan to attend and learn more about the process of thinking openly about ministry.
The seven-member Ministerial Search Committee (MSC) had a very productive retreat where, among other things, we discovered how many of us are raccoons and how many are puppies. (It has to do with personalities and leadership styles.) We decided who will fill which roles on the committee and what our basic timeline will be.
Here are the primary responsibilities on the committee:
Chair: Tom Loughrey
Tom is responsible for the care and feeding of the committee, and communicates with the OCUUC Board, our Ministerial Settlement Representative, and the UUA.
Packet Editor: Sam Siegfried
Sam will be in charge of compiling and distributing the information packet about OCUUC for candidates and receiving the candidate’s packets for us to review.
Reference Checker: Randy Kokal
When we get information from candidates, Randy will make sure their references are checked and the information is conveyed to the committee.
Treasurer: Mary Lundholm
Mary will keep track of the money the committee spends on the search and will communicate with the Finance Council about our budget.
Secretary: Judith Stamper
Judith will be making regular reports to the congregation about our process as well as keeping our meeting notes and corresponding with candidates.
Arrangers: Marcia Hackett and Laurel Adcock
Marcia will arrange with local congregations for our precandidates to come and preach. Laurel will be in charge of the arrangements when we have a candidate who we invite to visit us for a week.
As you can probably see, some of these roles involve more hands-on work at different times throughout the search process, so we will all be helping each other and may ask for the congregation’s help as well.
A word about confidentiality:
It is very important that the committee keep the names of candidates confidential. Some ministers may not have told their congregations they are searching for a new job. If congregants learn the names of candidates, it may create a competitive spirit in the congregation that does not allow the committee to do its best work. A new minister will expect near unanimous approval from the congregational vote, so the committee needs freedom to find a candidate that will be the best fit for us. We want to talk with you about what we are doing and what you want from your new minister, but please understand that we cannot talk about a specific person.
I will be posting updates on the website, in the Blast and possibly other places around church. Please let me or any other member of the committee know what information you would like to have. You can reach me by phone or at my email address from the directory, or here at MSCocuucorg (MSCocuucorg) .
In hope of the perfect minister,
Settled Minister Search Process - update July 2012
At the April 29th Congregational Meeting, the congregation chose 5 people to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee and the remaining 2 positions were filled by appointment of the Board of Trustees. Here are their statements:
Search Committee Statement
The OCUUC Ministerial Search Committee of seven members has been duly formed. The committee starts its formal preparations with a Friday/Saturday retreat on July 13th and 14th, facilitated by the Reverend Mellita Haslund, a representative of the UUA Office of Transitions. The committee is looking forward to mapping out plans to bring you the kind of minister OCUUC needs and wants. We plan to keep the congregation apprised of our activities in the Blast or on the website from time to time. Please feel free to discuss your ideas with us but remember, this is a confidential process. We will do our best to keep it that way. In the meantime, here is a brief bio in alpha order about each member.
Laurel Adcock: Laurel and her husband Peter Sahin joined the church in 2011. She is co-representative for the UUA Service Committee and actively involved in the young adult group. Laurel practices environmental law. She previously worked in legal and administrative recruiting and looks forward to bringing those skills to the search committee.
Marcia Hackett: Marcia has been actively involved at OCUUC as a member for more than 30 years, serving on the board and various committees. She was a member of two previous search committees, experience she hopes to put to use in this search. Her special interest is worship, planning services and serving as lay leader. She has written the weekly joys and sorrows column All in the Family for the church newsletters for many years. Marcia works part-time as an ESL teacher for adults in a local community college.
Randy Kokal: Randy first discovered UUism at the UU Community Church of Santa Monica in the 1980s and found OCUUC in the late 1990s. He has been involved in RE for more than 15 years and even filled in with various DRE duties. He’s been a board member and steward, and has helped out on numerous auctions and co-chaired the annual campaign. Randy helps nonprofit organizations grow and develop; he taught fund raising classes at UC Irvine for 12 years.
Tom Loughrey: Tom has been an active member of Orange Coast since coming to California in 1980. Both Tom and his wife Nancy have served on numerous boards of the church including stints as VP, treasurer, bursar and president of the congregation. Their two adult children, Rob and Stacey, grew up in the RE program of the church through grade school and high school. Tom and Nancy have been active in both district and national UUA activities including the PSWD Board. Nancy served as District president and Tom currently serves on the UUA Board of Trustees as Secretary. The whole family has been enthusiastic supporters of De Benneville Pines, our District camp having served on the board and as president. Tom has been treasurer for the church’s AIDS Team Ministry program for more than 10 years. Professionally, Tom is a healthcare manager in regulatory compliance for a local health system.
Mary Lundholm: Mary has been an active member of OCUUC since finding Unitarian Universalism in 2007. She came looking for a place where she could proudly state that her husband worked for Planned Parenthood. Mary stayed for the religious education and social action she found in the congregation. She has served on various committees and in board positions. She is currently serving as the cooking coordinator for the AIDS Team Ministry and is Vice Chair of the Religious Education Committee. She has been a trustee, VP Programs, and was President of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2012. Professionally, Mary is a math and science teacher for a private high school.
Sam Siegfried: Samantha Siegfried, or Sam as most know her, came to OCUUC shortly after graduating from high school in 2009. In this time, she has participated with Young Adults, the choir, and has been a part of CUUPs, the Music Committee, and the Ministerial Search Survey Committee. Commonly known as the “Doughnut Lady,” she can now be seen nearly every Sunday on the patio selling doughnuts for the Music Committee.
Judith Stamper: Judith has been a member of OCUUC since 1996, and the church plays a very important role in her life. She enjoys being able to refine her organizing, caring and leadership skills by being involved in many different aspects of congregational life. From Children’s Religious Education to Membership, Nominating Committee to the Board, planning auctions to potlucks, she tries to spread her activities between various groups each year. However, you will not find her in the choir or making coffee. You would not want to drink her coffee!
List of Characteristics of a good Ministerial Search Committee Member
The results of the 2012 Ministerial Search Survey
The Survey was compiled by the Ministerial Search Survey Committee (MSSC) in early 2012 as OCUUC formally began its search for a new settled minister. One of the major tools the Ministerial Search Committee will use to entice prospective candidates to apply is a Profile of OCUUC. This profile will be established from data obtained from the Ministerial Search Survey.
Focus Groups asked each of us to think about the church – What kind of vision do we see for OCUUC? What kind of programs do we want? What kind of minister would be best for us? Focus Groups offered a discussion of specific, open-ended questions led by a member of the Ministerial Search Survey Committee (MSSC). Participation from the congregation enabled us to focus on the kind of church we want to become.
Our church is fortunate to have the Rev. Bets Wieneke as our ministerial settlement representative. She will be working with the Board and Ministerial Search Committee. Our Interim minister, the Rev. Ed Brock gave Bets high marks for her expertise.
MSSC’s Chairperson: Barbara Schilling (msscocuucorg) with members Gabrielle Block, Marcia Hackett , Keith Jenkins, Sam Siegfried, Kenneth Small, and Judith Stamper