Letter from the President, June 2020

Dear UUCJ Family,

I hope you are all staying well during this time of increasing Covid-19 cases in our region. Trying times for us all! Over 60 people from UUCJ attended yesterday’s General Assembly church service from the UUA – I hope you were as inspired as I was. I cannot believe the amount of time, effort and technical expertise that went into creating this dynamic service. And the music was fabulous!

There have been a few things happening “behind the scenes” during the month of June, and I want to bring you all up to date.

The Board of Directors has chartered a Ministerial Search Team: The team is Charged by the Board as an extension of its Personnel Committee to establish a process and the necessary procedures to search for a minister who will establish cooperatively with the Board a shared ministry that meets the needs of the UUCJ congregation, and recommend a candidate to the Board.

Members of the Search Team include Penny Reid, Board President; Tessie Bond, Board Member; Gary Rhodes, Board Member; Nancy Murrey-Settle, Congregant; and Robert Prager, Congregant. The Team will work with the UUA system to “advertise” our position, and will vet all applicants through resume review, online interviews, and interviews with references provided by the prospective ministers.  This minister will be a half-time contract minister (not a “called” or settled minister) with a one-year renewable contract. For those of you familiar with the search and selection of a called minister, this process is very different but can be quite effective

To assist the Team in its search, we will be distributing a short, on-line survey to help us get a sense of Congregational priorities for our new minister. Please watch for it – and be sure to fill it out and return it!

During their tenure here, Rev. Roberta and Rev. Marti developed a “Covid-19 Response” team to help with the rapid transition to “virtual church.”  That group has morphed into the Virtual Church Team, charged with providing guidance, leadership, and support to the Board, the Worship Team and other committees and teams, and the congregation as we continue virtual church services,  explore and facilitate opportunities for community contact, and identify appropriate  church activities until UUCJ is able to return the in-person activities on the church campus.  The Team’s overall goal is to promote a sense of community, even as we are required to stay apart physically.  

Chaired by Vince Ober, Board Vice-President, the Team also consists of Donna Janesky, Sharon Scholl, Michael Franklin, Penny Reid, Cheryl Armstrong, Teri Miller, and DRE Jess Hunt. The Team members represent multiple perspectives and aspects of church life and are excited to be working together.It would be wonderful to have someone who could bring some of the creativity of the Congregational Life Committee, if you’re interested in volunteering!

Several months ago, the Board created the Minister’s Discretionary Fund, a fund to be used by the minister to provide financial assistance to congregation members who found themselves in need of monetary assistance to help with rent, utilities, food, etc. During this time when we do not have a minister, Penny Reid, Board President, will be administering the fund.  Any disbursements will be absolutely confidential. If you are in need of assistance, please contact Penny at .  Go to http://manual.uucj.org/index.php?title=Minister%27s_Discretionary_Fund to read the policy.

We know some of you are struggling during this time of social distancing.  The Caring Committee is available to provide support and assistance. Please contact Janine Leland at . Sending a big “thank you” to all the members of the caring committee!In addition, I have been in contact with Rev. Pat Ray at Buckman Bridge UU Church. Rev. Ray is the leader of the Pastoral Care Team at BBUUC and they have graciously offered to be available to the UUCJ congregation for rituals as needed. If the parties desire a UU minister, Rev. Pat will refer them to Rev. Carmen Emerson, as she did last summer for a wedding.

Please take care and stay well.

With gratitude for you all,
Penny Reid

2 Responses to “Letter from the President, June 2020

  1. Hi Penny, I notice there are Board members and congregants included on the search committee. I expect I’m not alone in asking, how did you decide which congregants should be on the search committee?

    Please don’t take this negatively, I’m just curious, I don’t mean to second guess you or your team. As you know I can appreciate your dilemma more than most.

    1. Thank you for your question. We felt it would be good to include someone from the Fernandina Beach Branch, and selected Robert Prager because of his excellent facilitation and organizational skills. Nancy Murrey-Settle is a long-time member and also has children, a demographic we felt should be represented on the Team. Both have proven to be fortuitous choices — very process oriented, highly organized, analytical, and dedicated to finding the best minister we possibly can!

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