Below you will find valuable information to help move all of us through the process of finding our new path and minister.
Rev. Marshall Norman decided that after 10 years with our community it was time to follow the nudge of Spirit and move on to a new adventure in his life. Since we had 3 months notice, we were able to have a sense of closure and give Rev Marshall a wonderful send off.
Since we are a member of Unity Worldwide Ministries, the Board contacted them for our next steps in hiring a minister.
It was felt that hiring a transitional minister would be a valuable tool to aid us through the changes required to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.
A transitional minister can be extremely helpful to a church where conflict may have divided the members, a church that has lost a long time minister through retirement or death, or for a church that may need to discover new directions and a new vision. When it seems advisable to the ministry board and the Director of Ministry Employment Services, a ministry can arrange through the home office for this specific assistance.
The transitional minister helps to guide a congregation through a five-step developmental process designed for intentional transitional ministries.
The five steps are:
- Coming to terms with the congregation’s history
- Coming to terms with its shifts in leadership and power
- Reconnecting with the larger church or denominational structure
- Developing a vision for ministry
- Getting on board with the new vision
- The Board negotiated a contract for Transitional Ministerial services with Rev. Marty Newman. Since Rev. Marshall and Carrie blessed us with a 3-month lead time before concluding their 10 years of service with us, we did not need peacemaking assistance from Rev Marty. Instead she offered us support and guidance as we grieved our loss and became open to Spirit in allowing the changes to come.
- Jean Scott Honig and Diane Pauly created and facilitated the Grief Session called:
“Circle of Healing.” Some of the Prayer Chaplains joined us for the Prayer portions of the gathering.
- Rev Marty held a ministerial transition meeting for the entire congregation on Sunday, January 11, after the service.
- Rev. Marty began teaching I of the Storm by Gary Simmons in two class times, after the service on Sunday and on Wednesday evening.
- Rev. Marty conducted Board Training over 3 nights. This was our first time participating in the Unity Worldwide Ministries training. We learned of the power in being a mission-centric church and decided to move in that direction. For more information on this change read the book Me to We: A Pastor’s Discovery of the Power of Partnership by Alan Nelson.
- Rev Marty began teaching Spiritual Economics by Eric Butterworth
- Rev. Marty conducted a full day workshop (HOPCOF) Honoring Our Past, Creating Our Future. 49 members attended, representing 30 years of Madison Unity participation.
- Our order of service is adjusted to assist the community in experiencing change, knowing our new minister will be making lots of changes.
- Rev Marty held a class: “What Forgiveness Is Not, What It Is, and How To Do It.”
- Rev. Marty and Licensed Unity Teacher Barry Roberts conduct a full day workshop on creating our Mission, Vision, and Core Values.
- After the Board interviewed potential members Search Team members are finalized: Chair – Laura Shaffer; Board Liaison – Jenny Persha; David Pauly, Jonathan Motley, Bill Bright, Steve Rogers, and Carol Meyer.
- The Board and Search Team members completed and delivered our vacancy package to UWM. It was posted June 24 with a 45-day window for receiving candidate applications; the application deadline was August 8th.
- Our want ad as posted on the UWM website states:
Our creative, open-minded, casual, and loving community is looking for a dynamic, mystical, sacred Sunday experience. Our minister will challenge us to grow spiritually through deepening our understanding of Unity teachings while encouraging our community to explore their diverse spiritual paths. Our minister will encourage leadership development in our members, actively engage and support youth in our community, and love teaching.
We engage with the Madison area through our spiritual social action programs which support the homeless, a women’s shelter, and an interfaith organization focused on social justice. We will grow and diversify our membership by living our mission and vision. We are eager to embrace the concept of being a mission-centric community and the minister will collaborate with us to make changes in our consciousness and organizational structure. Our new minister has high spiritual, emotional, and relationship intelligence quotients; and skillfully approaches financial planning, fundraising, and budgeting with prosperity-mindedness. We are interested in strengthening our relationship with the Unity movement and using UWM resources to make us more effective in serving our members and the greater Madison area.
- Search Team began to review resumes, watch submitted video links, conduct Skype/phone interviews, do background/credit checks, and call references.
- Rev Marty lead a class on “Cultivating a Feedback Rich Environment.”
- Rev Marty held a class called “How I cured my 34 Years of Chronic Depression.”
- We officially joined the Unity Identity Program and decided to use the Unity website template. This transition should be complete by the time the new minister arrives.
- The Search Team will assess the qualified candidates through a Spirit-guided discernment process. A small group of candidates that best meet our criteria will be presented to the Board before the end of the month.
- The Board will review resumes, watch videos, and interview these candidates. Those that meet their criteria will be invited to present a Saturday workshop and Sunday talk at some point during Sept-Oct.
- Rev Marty teaches: “Spiral Dynamics and the Spiritual Community”
- Rev Marty teaches: “Problems Or Polarities?”
- Annual Fall Program on Myrtle Fillmore’s Healing Letters begins
- Candidates will arrive on a Thursday and be shown the area. They will conduct a workshop on Saturday and give a talk on Sunday.
- The Board hopes to have a signed contract with a new minister.
What can I do if someone I know is having a particularly difficult time with the transition?
Unity of Madison is blessed to have a wealth of talents of trained leaders who practice and teach Unity principles. Our congregants at any time may seek out the services of our Unity chaplains, who are here to pray with and pray for each of us during times of needs. Our licensed Unity teachers who serve us through their dynamic classes and programs also are available to give support and guidance. The Unity Board of Trustees is another group of dedicated individuals who are here to serve our community. These board members are volunteering a considerable amount of time each week to running the operations of our church, and they are here to serve each congregant. And the Unity staff who oversee our programs, our youth and our volunteers also are valuable resources for our spiritual community. Our website has a list of contact information for many of these individuals.
What can I do to help ensure a smooth transition?
As a participant in our spiritual community, your presence and support is greatly needed and valued. We are stronger when we are working together as a unified team. We encourage everyone to support your fellow Unity members by attending our church services weekly, participating in classes and programs offered through Unity, volunteering to serve in some capacity, and giving of your financial resources as you are able. This church and spiritual home is yours, and you strengthen it by being an active part of it. We are grateful for your presence.