A new chapter for UUCR began on Sunday as the congregation voted unanimously to affirm the Board's recommendation to hire Rev. Christian Schmidt as our new minister. His official designation is quarter-time developmental minister. He will be leading the service and preaching on the third Sunday of every month (except he'll be here Oct. 11), which coincides with the Board of Trustees meeting immediately afterward.
He will also be coming down to Chestertown on Mondays. When I talked to him after the meeting on Sunday, we discussed our ideas about how to structure these Mondays for now. We agreed that it is important right now for him to get to know as much as possible about us. To that effect, he'll be meeting with committee chairs and members to find out about what they do, what their ideas for this year are, and what their strengths and challenges are. Because of his experience in other UU churches, he will be able to offer guidance and support. (By the way, he said that he can stay later on Mondays--if he gets home after 8:30, his two boys will already be in bed so any later didn't seem like an issue.)
Rev. Schmidt also discussed my suggestion to convene small "focus" groups to meet on Mondays. These groups of around six to seven members would perhaps share their stories, get to know each other and him a bit better, and discuss their ideas about the direction of UUCR. He suggested having some questions to guide the discussion. He and I will be talking about how to set this up. As I see it, it's a way for him to get to know us more deeply outside of the Board and committee discussions.
I keep having to remind myself that 1) Christian really has a steep learning curve this fall and probably even into the winter, and 2) This is a transition period as we adjust to a new minister and as he adjusts to us. It might get kind of bumpy, but if we resist making assumptions and really strive to communicate, I think we'll get through it splendidly. And being flexible and open-hearted are also important. We're good at that, right?