By Don Clifford, Senior Minister Search Committee Chair

We Have Finished the Season of Preparation – During 2022, our Committee diligently worked to complete its preparation to search for a new Senior Minister for our beloved church.

We organized the Committee into designated Teams assigned to Congregational Outreach, Church Enterprises, Church Profile, Position Description, Compensation & Benefits, UCC Hawai‘i Conference Liaison, Candidate Screening & Ranking, and numerous other preparatory tasks, research, and assignments.

We re-immersed ourselves in our church’s rich history and legacy to understand the underpinnings of Central Union Church’s work in our community for almost two centuries. We also invited more than four dozen members of the church’s congregation to serve as Ambassadors. These gracious volunteers either had deep institutional knowledge of our church, unique skills or gifts to contribute, had learned advice to share from past searches, or they simply wanted to donate their time to help the Committee with many of the tasks necessary to be fully prepared.

We embarked on the production of the documentary movie Love Never Faileth. Our goal was to be able to explain transparently, and authentically, who we are as a congregation, and as a church, to the Senior Minister candidates.

In the process, we coordinated with the church’s Council, committees, and ministries to understand their aspirations – as well as their views on our church’s current and future challenges. We conducted a Congregational Survey to understand the congregation’s priorities and preferences for a Senior Minister. We responded to emails and letters from the congregation that were offered to help guide the process. We invited several guest speakers that could share their manaʻo with the Committee on numerous topics of importance to our Committee’s education and discernment. Lastly, there was much discussion for more than a year regarding the spiritual and organizational leadership qualities that would ultimately be needed in our next Senior Minister.

We Are Now in a Season of Waiting – We are patiently waiting for the new settled Senior Minister that God has already chosen, to work with us into the next season of serving others.

Starting in the Fall of 2022, we began advertising for the Senior Minister position. We decided to use five different channels of advertising in order to cast the broadest net. To date, we have received more than 50 letters of interest, and 15 completed applications requesting consideration.

With the good counsel of Pastor Brandon and Pastor Mary last Fall, we learned that this next phase of the process should not be rushed. And, as a congregation, we needed to expect months to lapse between the time when the candidates first express their interest in our church – through the time it’ll take for the candidates to discern for themselves where God is calling them in Ministry – and until the time when we call our next Senior Minister.

As we begin the screening and discernment process on January 14th, 2023, to review the initial 15 applications that we’ve received thus far, we humbly ask that you include the Committee’s work in your daily prayers.