Our Future Minister


Rev. Dee Graham  was our Consulting Minister of Manatee Unitarian Universalists Fellowship and Affiliated Community Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota until June of 2017. 


Reports from the Transition Team

December  The Ministerial Team held a Town Hall Meeting on November 12th to discuss ministers and the results of conference calls with our UUA representatives. The meeting was well received and a number of interesting and informative questions were discussed. A feeling of favorability and acceptance was present, in fact an air of urgency was apparent. We told everyone that we have finally received an application for a minister from the UUA. Mirroring five of the questions that appear on the application, a questionnaire was prepared and distributed to those present. We asked each member to respond to each of the questions so that we may include and
incorporate the whole congregation’s feelings in preparing our answers for the application. The questionnaire has been emailed to all members and friends who were not present at the meeting. Additional copies are available on the table in the social room. The  deadline for questionnaire return has been extended to Sunday, December 3rd. A basket at the back of the sanctuary has been provided for that purpose. Also, the questionnaires may be mailed to the office. 
Ministerial Team: Carol Bartz, Bill Hayes, John Isham, Ed Kobee, Doris Sutliff, AJ Wolff

November  The Ministerial Team is still evaluating and preparing congregational goals. They will be shared with the congregation for comment and approval in a special Town Hall Meeting to be held Sunday, November 12th immediately following the service. Every member should plan to attend this meeting. This is your time to voice your opinion.

As a result of the meeting, a survey with 5 questions was distributed to each member present and available to those absent to be returned by Nov. 26. The team will report the results in December.

October   With the completion and analysis of the congregational survey, the Transition Team was able to finish its assigned task of recommending the type of minister best suited to MUUF. Broadly speaking, three general types of full time ministers can be sought with the help of the UUA; Interim, Developmental, and Settled. The team recommended searching for a Developmental Minister whose expertise will be matched to helping MUUF achieve the goals we define. On Tuesday, Sept 18th, the board approved the formation of a Ministerial Team to work with the UUA and the congregation to define the goals most important to the future of MUUF. Those on the Ministerial Team are: John Isham, Ed Kobee, AJ Wolff, Bill Hayes, Doris Sutliff, and Carol Bartz. First a preliminary set of goals will be reviewed and refined with our UUA Southern District Transition Representative, Christine Purcell. These goals will be presented to, discussed with, and modified, if necessary, by the congregation and the Ministerial Team in small group meetings. After a thorough approval by the congregation, the final set of goals will be sent to the UUA along with a congregational record (who we are) for the UUA to match and make recommendations of suitable ministerial candidates for our consideration.

September:  The membership survey results were available August 27.  Copies are provided in the social room for anyone interested. Included with the results will be a list of the comments received from members.  An evaluation of the results will also be included.  In coming months, the transition team will schedule a number of small group meetings to discuss and present our plans for finding a full-time minister for the Fellowship.  The anticipated result of our discussion group meetings will be a set of goals that we hope to realize in the coming years with all of us working together — the membership, the leadership and the new minister.  These goals will be communicated to the transition office of the UUA as a guide for them to select ministerial candidates for our consideration.  

August:  In order to finding the Right Ministerial Fit for our congregation, the Transition team has mailed a survey to our membership. So if you did not receive one, please get one from John Isham.  Please be thoughtful with your answers and return in person to the Fellowship or mail in the envelope provided. The survey responses will be a useful tool for the Transition team members in their quest to choose the type of minister best suited to Manatee UU Fellowship.

July:  Our Transitions Task Force has been busy looking into possibilities for hiring a new minister and an informal meeting was held Sunday, June 18 with members of the congregation to discuss different points of view and answer questions. John Isham shared a graph showing attendance records for a little more than the past decade and some interesting trends were apparent. While there used to be a bell curve with the winter months being much higher in attendance, this is no longer happening in the same way. Many ideas were discussed during the meeting and there will need to be more meetings and perhaps a survey before any formal steps can be taken.

June:  The Transitions Task Force (John Isham—chair, Bill Hayes, AJ Wolff, Joan Butcher, Ed Kobee, and myself, Carol Bartz—ex officio) has begun to explore options for the future of our congregation in regards to our ministerial needs. We have met with Connie Goodbread, our representative from the UU Southern Region, to help with the process, which will include looking inwardly as well as outwardly as we strive to realistically reach for our ideals. Expect to hear more news as we could be scheduling meetings, seeking input, etc. before any decisions are even considered by the congregation as we work on moving forward.

June:  Our dinner honoring Rev. Dee Graham as she embarks on early retirement gave us an opportunity to express some of our thoughts and feelings as well as for her to do the same. Surrounded by family and friends Dee knows that we care about her and wish her well as she deals with her health issues. The recommendations by the UUA and by other denominations as well for a departing minister to not interact with members after they leave is understandable, but it tugs on our hearts as we say goodbye.