When I committed to being on the Search Committee a year ago, I knew it would be a lot of work. I have to admit, I didn’t realize quite how much work it would be, but I was willing to jump in and do everything I could. I wanted to be on the committee to make sure we would have a minister who would maintain that sort of environment that would heal hearts like mine.
All of us joined the Search Committee with the best intentions. We came in with different biases, different perceptions about the congregation, and different ideas about what the church needs in a minister. We knew early on that there might be clashes when it came to picking our candidate. We even set up rules about voting and modified consensus so we could make decisions regardless of our differences.
Frankly, I was nervous about how we would work together as some committee members and I had been on different sides of some church conflicts, and I wasn’t ready to trust. As the work got harder, we had some confrontations in our meetings that didn’t go well. And that was before we even talked to a single minister.
But we didn’t give up. It wasn’t always pretty, but we kept working together. Jennifer pushed us to stay in connection. We never ended a meeting without the warmth of community, even if we were faking it just a little sometimes. Through our work, we saw the effort each person put in, and we built respect. Through our personal tragedies, we saw each other’s humanity, and we built love.
As we started to interview ministers, something started to shift. We started to look outwards instead of inwards, and, because of all our preparation – preparation that all of you were essential to completing – we started to work the way we were supposed to. Our visions started to gel, and our conversations focused on the ways the prospective ministers would or would not fit the congregation. We were finally building trust.
I was finally coming to trust. I felt my differences with other members falling away. Not because we talked it out, but because our old differences were no longer relevant, they became ancient history, with no power over me.
It was about then that Maria Cristina appeared in our lives. It was like we had cleared all the channels and were finally open to connecting with the minister we ALL needed.
I’m one of those UUs who believes in miracles and meant-to-be’s. I think we did the work we needed to do to align with each other, and, when we were all ready, the miracle happened. And here we are today, at last.