Part of our Ministerial Search process included a UUA-lead workshop called Beyond Categorical Thinking. The Beyond Categorical Thinking program is designed to promote inclusive thinking and help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. The selection of a minister is important. The Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop is another opportunity for everyone in our congregation to be a part of that process. This experience will provide guidance for the search committee in their work.
About twenty Pacific Unitarian congregants attended the workshop on Zoom with UUA-trained facilitator Reverend Jane Dwinell on Saturday, October 28. Rev. Dwinell, who has decades of experience with this type of work in the UUA, met the participants via Zoom from her home in Vermont.
Rev. Dwinell led participants through some very thought-provoking explorations of our expectations of a new minister. Using interesting, real-life case studies of congregations with ministers of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, illnesses and disabilities, sexual orientations, and other categories, participants discussed impressions and expectations in small groups.
The facilitator observed that the congregation seems generally ready and receptive toward a minister identifying as BIPOC or LGTBQ, perhaps less so towards some disabilities. However, it was also shown that the congregation is ready to accept change and to work alongside any called minister of any category who seems able to meet the needs of the congregation.