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Ministerial Transition

“It is when we are in transition that we are most completely alive.”
– William Bridges –

Welcome to Neighborhood’s Ministerial Transition webpage. This page is intended to provide the congregation with an overview of the process Neighborhood is following in the interim period between the departure of Sr. Minister Rev. Lissa Gundlach and the search and call of a new Sr. Minister. It is also provided as a place to document the results of the hard work of reflection and discernment the congregation will undertake in this process.

The Board of Trustees and Transition Team have benefitted from the guidance and leadership of our Interim Minister, Rev. Dr. Cooley, and consultants from the UUA, including the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh (UUA’s Regional Congregational Life Representative) and Christine Purcell (UUA Transitions Program Manager).

We hope you find this webpage helpful, and encourage you to reach out to any of us with your thoughts and questions along the way.

Your Transition Team

Frank Colcord

Corinne Grant

Kim Hayden

Eugene Hutchins

Ferol Mennen

Frank Colcord

What’s Available on this Website

From the Desk of Rev. Dr. Cooley

It is a privilege and a pleasure to partner with Neighborhood Church as we go through this transition time together. I often find these particularly poignant and revelatory times, as a congregation takes the time to reflect upon its past and dream about its future. A transition time is about far more than preparing for the next minister. It provides an opportunity for the members of the congregation to recognize that a congregation’s identity is formed by its people, not just its leadership. By engaging in healing conversations, acknowledging past successes as well as mistakes, and articulating dreams for the future, relationships can be strengthened and a sense of stewardship, in the largest sense of the word, can be revived.

While this interim time began under unusual circumstances (there is no manual for doing interim ministry in a pandemic!) we have still been able to set the foundation for the important interim work to come in the next two years.

This is a strong congregation with excellent lay leadership, and even having gone through some rocky years recently, I have no doubt that you will emerge stronger than before. I invite you to participate in the important processes of this transition time. All voices are important as we move forward together.

Rev. Dr. Terasa G. Cooley
Interim Senior Minister

Interim Tasks, Timeline & Surveys

August, 2021

Interim Minister Arrives

September 2021

Ministerial Transition Begins

November 2021

Transition Planning Workshops

December 2021

Bylaw and Governance Review

April 2022

Search Committee Budget Approved

August 2022

Negotiation Committee Selected

November 2022

Congregational Record Submitted

January 2023

List of Candidates Received

May 2023

Candidating Week

The interim period between settled Sr. Ministers is a time of reflection, healing, growth and discernment for a congregation. With the assistance of Rev. Dr. Cooley, Neighborhood members will follow these steps as we move through this important time in our congregational history.


  • Claim and honor Neighborhood’s past and heal our griefs and conflicts 
    • Neighborhood will study who we have been and what we have done, and acknowledge our differences and conflicts. 
  • Illuminate Neighborhood’s unique identity, our strengths, our needs, our challenges 
    • Neighborhood will describe ourselves to ourselves fully and fairly. In describing what we are good at and where we need help, we will get clues about preferred qualities in our next called minister. 
  • Clarify the multiple dimensions of Neighborhood’s leadership, both ordained and lay, and navigate the shifts in leadership that accompany times of transition 
    • We will evaluate the effectiveness of our organizational structure, the ways in which we fill lay leadership positions, and the relationship between ordained and lay leadership. 
  • Renew Neighborhood’s connections with available resources, within and beyond the UUA 
    • We will seek out curricula, counsel, and other resources that will strengthen our congregation now and in the future. 
  • Renew Neighborhood’s vision, strengthen our stewardship, prepare for new professional leadership, and engage our future with anticipation and zest. 
    • We will discern our common understanding of our future and strengthen our care of each other and of our religious community, so that we head into our search for a called minister with a “can do” commitment.

Though the interim transition process is not always linear, the timeline below gives a sense of the flow and timing of Neighborhood’s interim work and Sr. Minister search process.


Below is a list of past and present Congregational Surveys & Assessments, with links to their full reports, that have informed our process:

  • Congregational Assessment Prior to Ministerial Transition (Oct 2013) (report)
  • Congregational Survey – Sr. Minister Search (Mar 2014) (report)
  • Congregational Survey (Dec 2019) (report)
  • NUUC Virtual Engagement Survey (Mar 2021) (report)

Interim Working Report

This table provides a chronological list of the interim-related work accomplished by Neighborhood’s Members, Interim Minister, Board of Trustees, Staff and Transition Team. Where applicable, links to reports or other documentation drawn from this work are provided.

Jan 2020Rev. Gundlach announces her resignation from NUUC 
Feb 2020Rev. Sarah Millspaugh (UUA) preaches & leads discussion on transition 
Mar 2020Interim Minister Search Committee formed 
May 2020Rev. Dr. Cooley hired as new Interim Minister 
Jun 2020Rev. Gundlach’s last day as Sr. MinisterRev. Ian Riddell fills pulpit until Interim Minister arrives 
Jul 2020Ministerial Transition Team formedRev. Dr. Terasa Cooley starts preaching at NUUC 
Aug 2020Rev. Dr. Cooley’s official start as Interim Minister 
Sep 2020Church Chats w/Rev. Cooley beginChurch Chats w/Staff-Programs heldChurch Chats w/Staff-Outreach & Music held 
Oct 2020Congregation/Staff Training w/Rev. Cooley – Conflict TransformationChurch Chats w/Staff-Outreach & Music heldTransition Start-Up workshop (pt. 1) w/Rev. Millspaugh 
Dec 2020Transition Start-Up workshop (pt. 2) w/Rev. Millspaugh Church Chats w/Trustees (3) on NUUC finances heldNUUC Governance Discussion-Board kicked-off(Start-Up WS Results)
Jan 2021Congregation/Staff Training w/Rev. Cooley – Adaptive Leadership 
Feb 2021Church Chats w/Transition Team (4) on 3-Year Interim heldBoard/Congregation Extends Interim to 3 YearsChurch Chats w/Trustees on NUUC Governance held3-Year Interim Report3-Year Interim Slides
Mar 2021Worship Associates Program Announced 
May 2021Congregational Townhall to discuss Sr. Minister Search ProcessTransition Team Annual Report(Townhall Report-Out)(TT Annual Report)

Transition Resources

The Board of Trustees, Transition Team and Staff have been guided in their transition work by the following resources:

  • The UUA Transitions Office trains and supports ministerial search committees and recommends ministers for their consideration. Transitions also oversees the training and placement of interim ministers.
  • UUA’s guide to ministerial transitions
  • UUA’s guide to the settled search process
  • Strategies for Interim Ministers and Congregations, Second Edition. A practical and insightful volume providing a road map for a transformative and fulfilling interim period.