Special Message to the Congregation
To live in this world
you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal,
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends upon it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
From the Minister
This is a hard letter to write. After 16 years of profoundly meaningful ministry with you, the time has come for me to let you go. It is time for me to resign my position as minister of this congregation. After consultation with congregational leadership, I’ve decided my last Sunday as your minister will be on January 21, 2024.
My decision comes after a lot of discernment. Like others, the pandemic has caused me to examine how I am leading my life. In addition, the untimely deaths of some dear colleagues and mentors pulled me into an even deeper examination of my priorities.
The hard part is that I love you all so dearly. And I love congregational life in all its complexity and possibility. What’s clear to me is that I no longer want to be a congregational minister at this time in my life. As much as I love you, I am ready to release the rhythm and pace of congregational ministerial leadership, with its weekly build-up to a Sunday service, many weekend and evening events, and the juggling of multiple priorities. I know I want more time with family and friends, and to slow down enough to appreciate the beauty of each precious day in new ways.
In a vibrant congregation like ours, there is never a good time to leave. So much is always in motion. That has compounded the challenge of my decision. But I assure you that you are in good hands. We have an excellent staff. Our congregational leadership is full of dedicated, experienced, thoughtful leaders who are already engaged in transition planning. Board President Janet Meyer’s letter below shares the preliminary planning for this time period.
In addition to leading worship and tending to pastoral care needs, including around my departure, in the coming months I will be focusing on three things:
- helping the congregation clarify your vision and values around building use;
- supporting the Lifespan Faith Formation Council and Acting Director Kitty Kaler/Kalebarn as they reimagine the School of the Spirit program; and
- forming a covenantal relations team to bring to life our recent learnings about conflict transformation.
I don’t fully know yet what I’ll be doing professionally after this most fulfilling ministry. I haven’t had any other calling but that of a congregational minister for over two decades. I do know that I intend to continue to be of service, sharing our UU values with the world.
Beloveds, you have shaped my life, and I hope I have shaped yours. I’m grateful we’ll have the coming months to celebrate this ministry we have shared together.
May all be well,
From the President of the Board of Trustees
Dear Members and Friends,
It is with sadness and enormous gratitude that we begin to say goodbye to Rev. Lydia. She has served us so beautifully these past 16 years, a very long time in congregational ministry, and she leaves an impressive legacy in her wake. In the time before she goes, we will have many opportunities to reflect on the ways we’ve grown and changed with her, to celebrate her service, and to say our farewells. As in all things, we will center the love we share, which we know will not end when she leaves, but will carry us forward into our bright future.
Leadership of our congregation has already taken the first steps in the transition process to new ministerial leadership for our beloved congregation. We are in contact with Rev. Summer Abayati from the Pacific Western Region, who will help guide us and support us through the process. In addition, we have consulted with Christine Purcell and Rev. Keith Kron of the UUA’s Transitions Office, who have assured us that we can count on the care, attention, and support of the UUA as we move through this time of change.
It is reassuring to know that the process for transitioning ministerial leadership is well laid out, with abundant resources for us to use. There are checklists, handbooks, consultants and coaching to assist us at every step of the way. In addition to regional and national staff, we can rely on the expertise of our sibling congregations on the front range, including UUCB, which has so recently gone through a very successful ministerial search, with the call to Rev. David Schwartz. Many members of our congregation have experience with ministerial transition and we can rely on their wisdom and guidance, as well. We are not going through this alone.
For many good reasons, congregations engage the services of a skilled Interim Minister after a settled minister leaves. The process for being matched with an available Interim Minister begins in January with formation of a team of congregants who will work through May. If you are interested in serving on this team, please let me know. An Interim Minister will likely serve for two years, before we call a settled minister.
From the end of January to July, we will be relying on our excellent lay volunteers to lead us in worship, service, and study, much like we have during sabbaticals. In addition, we can make use of part-time paid support from other ministers in the area who can provide services such as staff supervision, pastoral care, leading worship, or other needs that we identify. We are fortunate to have a strong network of skilled and compassionate ministers in our area who are able to step in as needed during this time. The Committee on Shared Ministry and the Board of Trustees will share more details about this, as these plans come into focus.
I know that this news is a surprise to most and hard for many of us to hear. Please be gentle and loving with yourself and each other as we navigate this tender time together.
In grateful service,
President, Board of Trustees
Ministerial Transition Timeline:
January 11, 2024 Board appoints Interim Minister Search Team
January 21, 2024 Lydia’s last Sunday; Farewell Celebration and Sendoff
January 31, 2024 Lydia’s last official day of employment
February to mid-April, 2024 Interim Search Team prepares materials for search
Last two weeks of May, 2024 Choices by both congregation and potential interim ministers are submitted. UUA Transition Office facilitates match between congregation and available interim ministers. Congregation negotiates offer with potential interim minister.
June 1, 2024 Interim Minister selection is announced to congregation.
August 1, 2024 Interim Minister starts
Spring, 2025 Search Committee for Settled Minister selected
Summer to Fall, 2025 Search Committee facilitates a Congregational Survey, focus groups, and other activities help us prepare to search.
January, 2026 Identify and interview top applicants
February to March, 2026 Candidate visits
April 3, 2026 First offer date
Mid-April, 2026 Announcing the candidate
Early May, 2026 Candidating Week
May-June, 2026 Congregation Calls the Minister
August 1, 2026 New Settled Minister starts
If you want even more details, the UUA has a page on their website with a lot of helpful information about Ministerial Transitions. You can also ask a member of the Board.
Caring Connections: If you need support
Lydia is beloved by our congregation, and it is normal to feel a range of feelings right now. Support is available for you within our congregation. You may find it most comfortable to turn to your covenant group or other small groups you are already connected with. Additional support is available through our Lay Pastoral Care Associates (LPCA) program. Contact them by using this form. Elected leaders are happy to offer information about the transition plans as they develop and will be available at coffee hours and by email. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.