Beginning in the Fall 2019, the Search Committee and congregation will work together to self-evaluate our needs, desires, strengths, and weaknesses as a congregation. The main tools of this self-evaluation process are a Congregational Survey (which all members should be sure to fill out when the time comes!), a series of small group discussion sessions known as Focus Groups and Cottage Meetings, and a 3-hour seminar called Beyond Categorical Thinking. All members and friends will be encouraged to attend and introspect and express their ideas.

By the end of November 2019, we must complete and publish our Congregational Record, which is our principal “résumé” for the search process. The Congregational Record will present UUFSD to potential ministers, describe ourselves and our area, and incorporate insights from the self-evaluation process described above.

In January 2020 the UUA will send the Search Committee the names and background on potential candidates who have expressed interest in UUFSD based on our Congregational Record. We will evaluate the potential candidates, check references, interview by video call, and decide if any are suitable pre-candidates.

By March 2020 we will have selected up to three suitable pre-candidates, each of whom we will host for a confidential weekend visit. The pre-candidates will tour our site and our area, meet extensively with the Search Committee, and preach a sample sermon at a so-called “neutral pulpit,” which is a UU church or fellowship somewhat similar to us in size.

At noon Eastern Time on April 2, 2020, all UU congregations in search for a settled minister will simultaneously extend offers to their single preferred candidate. That means our preferred candidate may receive multiple offers. It also means your Search Committee may not have located a suitable candidate and decided not to extend an offer.

By mid-April 2020 we will announce our final candidate, assuming we have one. By this time an employment contract will have been negotiated and the candidate will have given notice to the prior congregation.

From April 24 to May 3, 2020, if all goes well, “Candidating Week” will see the candidate visit UUFSD for a full week, meet with members, committees, staff, and area ministers. The candidate will preach two successive Sunday sermons at UUFSD on April 26 and May 3 for us to listen to.

On May 3, 2020, after the service at a Special Congregational Meeting, we will formally vote on whether or not to extend a call to the candidate to be our settled minister. Our by-laws call for 80% vote, but ministers typically prefer a 90% majority.

On August 1, 2020, if all goes well, our new settled minister will start work. If all has not gone well, we will remain in search.