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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. 

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,

Corinne Grant, Frank Colcord, Ferol Mennen,

Kim Hayden, Eugene Hutchins, & Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley

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 and Transition Begins

November 2021

Transition Planing Workshop Begins

January 2022

Bylaw and Governance Review Begins

February 2022

Search Committee Selection Begins

April 2022

Search Committee Budget Approved

May 2022

Search Committee Formed

November 2022

Congregational Record Submitted

January 2023

List of Ministerial Candidates Received

May 2023

Candidating Week & Sr. Minister Called

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.


Search Committee

“Searching for a pastor is sacred work. In most traditions, the opportunity comes to only a few, and then only once in a lifetime of faithful membership” –



The Senior Minister Search Committee will consist of seven congregants, elected by the members of Neighborhood Church, and be charged with working collaboratively to: 

  • Understand the wants, needs and vision of Neighborhood Church members, 
  • Identify the qualities, characteristics and experience required in a ministerial candidate 
  • Utilize the UUA’s ministerial search process to identify and attract a ministerial candidate that meets that criterion and present them to the congregation for consideration as the church’s next Senior Minister. 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.


  • Details of the work and time involved can be found in the following documents:

    The make-up of the Search Committee will be informed by NUUC’s bylaws, and guidance gathered from fellow congregants, lay-leaders, staff, and past ministerial search committees, as well as from best-practices of congregations around the Unitarian Universalist Association. 

    The Search Committee Selection Team, appointed by the NUUC Board of Trustees, will solicit for applications, perform interviews, and select a slate of committee members to bring before the congregation for approval at the Annual Congregational Meeting on May 22, 2022.

    To create a well-rounded, functional, and diverse committee, Search Committee Members will be selected based on qualifications that include:

    • Availability:  It is expected the process will run from June 2022 to May 2023. However, if no ministerial candidate is called in this first year a second ministerial search cycle will follow. 
    • Personal Qualities/Characteristics: Including being discerning, respectful & supportive, curious, humble, being committed to the church’s future, having a big-picture view, and able to keep the requisite confidentiality of the process.
    • Experience: Including having participated in congregational life, lay-leadership, facilitation, problem-solving, document preparation & technology.
    • Identity: Including Race, ethnicity, immigration status, national origin, range of abilities, sexual and affectional orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status and family structure, age, educational attainment, financial means, and length of membership. 

    For questions about joining this committee or the application/selection process, please contact the Selection Team at or  If you are ready to apply to be on the committee, please click the link below and fill out an application. We appreciate your interest!


Interim Working Report & Resources

This table provides a chronological list of interim-related reports or other documentation of this work.

DateMilestoneLink to Report
Dec 2020
  • Interim Ministry Timeline
  • Transition Start-Up workshop (pt. 2) w/Rev. Millspaugh 

(Timeline Graphic)

(Start-Up WS Results)

Feb 2021
  • Board/Congregation Extends Interim to 3 Years

3-Year Interim Report

3-Year Interim Slides

May 2021
  • Congregational Townhall – Minister Search Process
  • Transition Team Annual Report

(Townhall Report-Out)

(TT Annual Report)

Dec 2021
  • Search Committee Selection Process
(Selection Process)
Jan 2022
  • Search Committee Job Description
(Job Description)


The Board of Trustees and Transition Team have benefitted from the resources listed below as well as the personal 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).

NUUC Resources:

Sermons from Rev. Terasa about transition

UUA Resources: