Twelve search parties with congregants were conducted. Most search parties were held within an existing small group or committee. We had one larger, all-church search party.
The following four questions were asked at each search party:
- What are the most important qualities you would like to have in our new minister?
- What is the most important purpose of Pacific Unitarian?
- What was your best experience with a minister?
- How will you judge the success of our new minister after a year or so?
Answers to the search party questions showed that there is a lot of unity within the congregation.
- A minister who delivers inspiring sermons was overwhelmingly identified as the most desired quality.
- The second quality closely followed closely was a minister who prioritizes pastoral care.
- Other qualities the congregation would like to see include someone who can help us grow and increase engagement within the congregation, someone with a good sense of humor, has good moral values, and good administrative and conflict resolution skills.
Pacific Unitarian’s Purpose
- The vast majority of search party participants felt that the most important purpose of Pacific Unitarian is to create community and to be inclusive and welcoming.
- Being the forward tip of social justice, being a spiritual home for congregants and representing liberal religious thought were also important purposes.
Best Experience with a Minister
- Congregants responded that their best experience with a minister had to do with pastoral care.
- After pastoral care, congregants reported a sermon that made them think, a minister participating in social justice or other events, or help with church related projects as their best experiences.
- When asked how they would judge the success of our new minister after a year or so, search party attendees predominately responded that larger Sunday service attendance and a more engaged congregation would be the most important way to judge success.
- Peace and contentment among the congregation, a personal connection with the minister, increased diversity within the congregation, increased financial stability, new programs, and a happy, supported staff were also felt to be ways of judging success.
- Some people felt that one year was too soon to judge the success of a ministry.
- Some felt that the minister shouldn’t have the biggest impact – it’s up to us to keep ourselves together and going.
Thanks to everyone who participated in these discussions. They will guide our efforts!