In congregations, the moments of transition of key leaders like ministers, religious educators and musicians, are filled with both possibility and anxiety. Whether it is a planned departure through the minister moving to another congregation or retiring, or an unanticipated one through death, illness or negotiated termination, the big questions are always: "What happens next?" The answer to that question will vary for each congregation, but the good news is that you don't have to sort out the answers by yourself.

Rev Lisa PresleyThe MidAmerica staff is here to help. Lisa Presley, our Transitions Coordinator, coordinates our work on this. She is here to help you walk through the steps and connect you with the other members of our team and various resources you'll need. Depending on the position (minister, religious educator, musician; interim, contract, acting, settled, developmental) and the proportion (full-time, part-time, pulpit supply, etc.), the steps and partners will be different. But we'll help you figure out how to partner with the Transitions Office in Boston, the more local Ministerial Settlement Representatives, the Compensation Consultants, and other resources. For all full-time settled ministerial endings, we'll meet with your Board to do a transition interview, and then, when your next minister is in place, we'll do a start-up seminar to help you start things off on the best foot.For religious educators, we'll offer similar services, while with administrative staff and musicians, we'll help you connect with resources to define the positions and advertise your openings. All the way along, we're here to help answer your questions, and direct you to available resources.

One of the key resource sites is the UUA's Transitions system:  Here you will find information for congregations and ministers, and samples of just about everything you might need.

For more information on Transitions, please be in touch with Lisa Presley, MidAmerica's Transitions Director.

PHOTO: Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, at his Ordination and Installation Service, with Rev. Victoria Safford. Credit: White Bear UU Church, Mahtomedi, Minnesota.

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We have created 30 videos that cover specific aspects of ministerial transition. They are grouped in several interest areas below, and feel free to browse them all.

These videos were created by: Keith Kron, Transitions Director for the UUA; Kenn Hurto, Regional Lead, Southern Region; Lisa Presley, Transitions Coordinator, MidAmerica Region; and Joan Van Becelaere, Regional Lead, Central East Regional Group.

Overview and Ministerial Departure:
  • Ministerial Transition Introduction - VIEW
  • How Does the Minister Know When to Leave - VIEW
  • More Thoughts on When to Leave - VIEW
  • Ministers: When and How Do You Tell Them You’re Leaving? - VIEW
  • Saying Goodbye, Well - VIEW
  • Emotions Around Terminations - VIEW
Negotiated Terminations: When the Ministry Doesn’t End Well. Occasionally a ministry ends in conflict. If you think you’re headed this way, be in touch with your regional staff for more particulars.
  • What is a Good Officer? - VIEW
  • Severance - VIEW
  • Next Steps for the Congregation Following a Negotiated Resignation - VIEW
  • Negotiated Resignations: What’s Next for the Minister? - VIEW
Next Steps for the Congregation, and the Interim Process
  • Don’t Rush the Process of Search - VIEW
  • Making Yourself Attractive to an Interim Minister - VIEW
  • The Interim Process: What if No Minister Wants to Come - VIEW
The Search Committee: Creation and Process
  • When to Select the Search Committee - VIEW
  • How to Select the Search Committee - VIEW
  • The Search Committee Start Up Retreat - VIEW
  • Group Process in the Search Committee - VIEW
  • Conflict in the Search Committee - VIEW
Search Committee Tasks
  • How to Make Yourself Attractive to a Ministerial Candidate - VIEW
  • How to Sort the Ministerial List - VIEW
  • How to Decide on your Pre-Candidates and Candidate - VIEW
  • When the Search Committee Can’t Decide - VIEW
  • Crafting the Letter of Agreement - VIEW
  • Fair Compensation - VIEW
  • Offering the Position to Your Candidate - VIEW
  • Offer Day: What if No one Wants to be Your Minister? - VIEW
  • What Percentage is Needed for the Call? - VIEW
  • Candidating Week: When Things Go Badly - VIEW
  • What Happens if the Congregation Refuses the Candidate? - VIEW
  • What if Your Candidate Says No? - VIEW
Part-Time Ministerial Search
  • How to do a Part-Time Ministry Search - VIEW
Other Resources:
  • UUA Ministerial Transitions Website This site includes links to information on Interim Ministry, the Settlement Handbook, benefits and compensation (including a compensation calculator), part-time ministry, recommendations concerning screening of ministers and all staff and other safety issues.