Settled Minister Search Updates & Contact Information

Our Settled Minister Search Committee was named and officially commissioned, in a “Covenant to Serve,” during worship services on October 15, 2017.

CONTACT US: Our Committee will make every effort to keep the congregation up to date with the search process and welcomes your input.  Please speak with one of our committee members &/or email your thoughts and questions to the Settled Minister Search Committee at [email protected] (or U.S. mail comments/questions to our attention at the Church Office).  Thank you!

  Our Settled Minister Search Committee Members are pictured here (from left to right):  Libby Elder-Connors, Mary McKearin, Mike Knauer, Jeff Comstock, Chair: Susan Ellwood, Rob Backus, Ann Vivian, Matt Bushey, Janice Claypoole,  David Grace, James LaPierre, and Cyndy Hall.

November 2018:

Hello Fellow Members and Friends of First Church:
It has been several weeks since we have posted any news about our process and we want to provide you the following update:
The Settled Minister Search Committee has recently discontinued our posting of the First Church Profile on the national UCC website.  This means we are no longer actively seeking new candidates for this position and that we are focused on those candidates who have already submitted their Profiles to our church.  The SMS Committee has been working extraordinarily hard over the last few months towards our one goal of calling the best possible Minister to First Church, a task that has taken time, in part, due to the healthy response we had to the posting of our Church Profile.
While the process of reviewing and discerning our candidates’ credentials and skills will remain confidential – and will take at least a little more time – our committee is dedicated to remaining as accessible and transparent as possible as we enter this phase of the process.  So, while we will be keeping a low profile over the next few weeks, please feel free to reach out to any of us in person or by email.   We are always ready to hear what you think about the future of our Church and how our next Minister will help us reach our goals.

Thanks to all for your support and faith.
Susan Ellwood, Chair

Settled Minister Search Committee: Libby Elder-Connors, Mary McKearin, Mike Knauer, Jeff Comstock,  Rob Backus, Ann Vivian, Matt Bushey, Janice Claypoole, David Grace, James LaPierre, Cyndy Hall and Chair: Susan Ellwood.


September 2018:


Dear Members and Friends of First Church,It is Fall at First Church! Kids are back in Church School and youth programs; committee work has resumed and we look ahead towards the new church year with anticipation, hope and joy.  Carrie’s sermons over the last couple of weeks have pointed us in the direction of the future, reminding us that the day will soon come when a new Settled Minister is called to join us in ministry.

And, many of you ask the Search Committee…WHEN WILL THAT BE HAPPENING?
Here is what we can report:
  • Your Search Committee started receiving Ministerial Profiles this summer.
  • We had a healthy response to our Profile and have been in the process of reviewing each candidates’ written profiles (each about 15 pages long), interviewing multiple references, reviewing audio or video sermons; and interviewing the candidates that we wish to pursue a dialogue with.
Our team looks at each candidate through this lens…
Is this the person that the members and friends of First Church wish to see over the next few years:
  • Every Sunday morning at the pulpit, delivering the inspiring sermons we rely on.
  • Sitting at the front of the Sanctuary with all of our kids to share the Word of God for All Ages and inspiring the next generations to serve in the ministry and mission of the Christian faith.
  • At your hospital bed, providing pastoral care and support when you need it the most.
  • Standing in front of two young adults whom you care about to join them in marriage.
  • Celebrating each holiday and event, maintaining sacred rituals and introducing new traditions.

     As we all know, there is much, much more to this job: from chatting with the local homeless folk, to managing staff, juggling the cash flow and being Christ’s Ambassador within and outside the walls of our Church.  This job, while joyful and inspiring, requires thoughtful multi-tasking.  This committee is dedicated to calling the Minister most capable of handling these many challenges and who can provide our congregation with the best possible range of skills and faith going into the future.

I cannot give you a date by which we will have a new Minister.  I can give you our assurance that this process is well underway and your Search Committee is working as hard-and as quickly – as possible to make this call as soon as we are certain we have found the best fit for this church.  We are not taking a magic slipper and searching the length of the entire Kingdom for the perfect Minister.  There is no such thing.  We are, however, listening with much care and much prayer to references and sermons – and candidates.  First Church deserves nothing less.

I would be remiss in not sharing with you that our Church Profile has been routinely praised by our candidate pool, who regularly say that this document shows a strong and vibrant church community, dedicated to the mission and ministry of Burlington.  This is due to a lot of hard work by this committee, but also speaks to the ministry of our church and the members who took the time to work with us in creating our Profile.  But truth be told, our Profile’s strengths are mostly due to all of you who have created this church community that has clear strengths and is so easy to praise.

Thank you,

Susan Ellwood, Chair

August 2018:

Dear Members and Friends of First Church:
Your Search Committee has been working very hard all summer, committed to the goal of finding and calling a new Settled Minister for
First Church as quickly as possible.  We are meeting weekly, reviewing Candidate Profiles, scheduling interviews and completing all the work required to ensure this process is completed as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.
Please understand that the review of candidates, including review of Profiles, references and interviews, remains confidential and we cannot share details of our process with specific candidates; however, we can share that we are working as quickly and efficiently as possible, while staying true to our one goal of calling the best possible Settled Minister for First Church.
PLEASE feel free to visit with any of us at Church or contact us through our email address: [email protected]
Susan Ellwood, Chair

April 2018:  “We are working steadily towards our goal of completing our “Profile” in April and plan to have it ready for posting with the UCC national conference in May. We will have a copy of the final document available for you to read prior to posting.  PLEASE contact us at any time at [email protected] Or find us at Church and share your thoughts with us.”

Thank you,
Susan Ellwood, Chair, Settled Minster Search Committee


– LINK to November 3, 2017 Letter from Settled Minister Search Committee Chair, Susan Ellwood

With Our Settled Minister Search Committee
following 10:00 a.m. worship service
You have undoubtedly seen us at coffee hour and other functions, asking all for your thoughts and input on the essential question of WHO IS GOD CALLING TO MINISTER WITH US? We have learned a lot in this process – and we want to share this information WITH YOU as we finalize the Profile for submission to the national UCC office this spring. We want to share our excitement about the process and answer your questions about where we are and what comes next.
Delicious snacks and child care will be provided!
PLEASE join us in the Dining Room for this Church-wide Forum to review and discuss the Profile concepts developed to date.   While the Settled Minister Search Committee is charged with creating the Profile and calling a candidate, all of our work is in service to our congregation: We cannot do this important work without your participation and input!
Additional Opportunities to meet with members of the
Settled Minister Search Committee
Sundays February 18 and 25
following both worship services
during the fellowship time in the Chapel.

You are invited and encouraged to reach out to members of the Settled Minister Search Committee to give input on what is one of the most important questions that we as a Congregation need to answer:

“What qualities and skills are we looking for in a new minister?”

You are also welcome to ask us any questions on the search process while sharing your thoughts on this question.  Members of the Search Committee will be in the Chapel on Sundays 2/18 and 2/25 from 9 to 10 and following the 10 a.m. worship service to meet with all interested in sharing their ideas and questions.  You will find them near the easel with the large search process poster.

Our Settled Minister Search Committee is working with the congregation to craft our church profile.

What is the Church Profile?
       The profile document that the committee is working on is newly developed by the national UCC.  It is the primary document that every ministerial candidate will review when considering whether to apply for this call and it is critical to our search process that it accurately portrays our current congregation.
      The profile asks excellent questions. To answer them honestly and thoroughly, our committee and our congregation needs to “dig into” the process and figure out how to portray our many strengths and our goals for the future.  There will be opportunities for various committees to reflect on our church’s current positions relative to areas such as finance, mission, and membership over the next few weeks.  Most important will be the input from the wider congregation on the “essay” questions in the profile to ensure it accurately portrays who we are and what we are looking for in a settled Minister.
      We are committed to completing this process and trust you will help us gather the information to complete the profile.  We look forward to your participation in the process. Our committee is actively establishing a timeline to move this process as efficiently as possible and will share this with you in an upcoming update.
      The big questions that we will be addressing in the church profile are:
“Who are we now?”
– “Who is our neighbor?”
– “Who is God calling us to become?”
– “Who is God calling to Minister with us?”
       Representatives of our Search Committee met with members of the congregation in December and in January to begin gathering input for writing the church profile.  We will soon announce additional opportunities to meet directly with members of the Settled Minister Search Committee to discuss the questions that we need to answer to complete the Church Profile.
In January we focused on the question:                  
“Who are we?”
       Please help us describe “who we are as a congregation” by identifying important events in our church history and the impact of these events on who we are today.  We welcome your thoughts, ideas and questions during our announced gatherings and by email or in conversation with members of the search committee.
       Please speak with one of our committee members (listed below) &/or email your answers, thoughts, and questions to the Settled Minister Search Committee at [email protected] (or U.S. mail comments/questions to our attention at the Church Office).   Thank you!   
Settled Minister Search Committee:
Rob Backus, Matt Bushey, Janice Claypoole, Jeff Comstock, Libby Elder-Connors,
David Grace, Cyndy Hall, Mike Knauer, James LaPierre, Mary McKearin, Cleophace Mukeba, Ann Vivian and Chair: Susan Ellwood.
LINK to November 3, 2017 Letter from Settled Minister Search Committee Chair, Susan Ellwood
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