April 22, 2022
Dear New York Conference Members and Friends,
With great joy the Board of Directors of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ announces the selection of the Rev. Dr. Marsha Williams as our Transitional Conference Minister!
After a national search, much deliberation, discernment, considering excellent candidates, two outstanding interviews, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Transitional Conference Minister (TCM) Search Committee voted unanimously to present Rev. Williams at a special meeting of the Board of Directors (BOD) for consideration and affirmation as our Transitional Conference Minister (TCM). This morning, the BOD met and affirmed the work of the TCM Search Committee with another unanimous vote of support. We then shared with Rev. Williams some of our hopes and dreams for the New York Conference; she did the same. We are on our way!
Rev. Williams will be visiting each Association to receive your input, listen to your hopes and dreams, hear yourvoice, get to know you. We recognize that this is NOT a done deal; it is a two-way call and two-year time of discernment for both Rev. Williams and the Conference. (See descriptions below.) During this next phase of our journey, we will all engage in this Spirit-led discernment process.
In this post-Christian era of declining church membership and pandemic chaos, we are ensuring a smooth Conference Minister transition with a leader who already knows and loves us and who is eager to lead us as, united in Christ’s love, we work toward a just world for all. The traditions practiced in the United Church of Christ affirm the active presence of God’s Spirit in this time; we ask that you trust the work of the TCM Search Committee and the Holy Spirit. We ask that you meet Rev. Williams as she visits your Association and to share with her your hopes and dreams for the Conference.
“United in Spirit, and inspired by God’s grace, we move forward boldly to welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all.”
Dona Roll, UCCNY Conference Moderator
Your elected Board of Directors, each of whom welcomes your ideas and questions:
Judy Van Kennen, assistant moderator; Barbara Wright, secretary; Charlaine Apsel, treasurer; Deborah Dee Brayton, Metro; JJ Flag, Black River-St. Lawrence; Jane Lytle, Western; Valerie Meyer, Genesee Valley; Hafidha Saadiqah, Hudson-Mohawk; John Sampson, Essex; Kelly Sprinkle, Oneida; Damaris Whittaker, Reformed; Janet Wright, Suffolk; and John Zollweg, Susquehanna and Susan Gibson, ex officio Personnel Committee.
Thoughts from Maren Tirabassi – paraphrased
While we are limping away
and diseases and terrible war,
and from great failures in compassion,
not to speak of the small
and so personal pain in lives
of all the folks in all our churches,
we do these simple things
that all the world calls crazy —
we put water on children,
and we select a woman of God.
We need your courage, Marsha
someone to send a dove
for an olive branch of peace,
someone to mix in a little leaven
and pulling over to pray when told,
someone to carry spices to every place
where sad people need to hear
about the resurrection,
someone to speak Pentecost words
that does not use “churchy” language
but recognizes the truth in a life
that knows both mess and message,
the rim of the dark horizon
and the dawn of hope.
*TRANSITIONAL CONFERENCE MINISTER (TCM)
The goal of a Transitional Conference Minister is to work toward the conference’s declared purpose for a specific season; often the minister’s skills match the conference’s declared goals. A TCM may be selected by the governing board, rather than elected by vote of the Conference. The typical term is 18-24 months.
In discernment with the governing board and Rev. Lee Albertson, Conference Minister Search Coordinator and Council of Conference Ministers’ Support for the UCC, a search committee may be utilized. The purpose and the term must clearly be named in the scope of the work and in the Contract/Covenant document, with a mechanism for assessment at the end of the term. Said document specifies at that time whether the TCM may be considered for the Settled position at the end of the term or at any such time as is mutually agreed upon by the TCM and the BOD.
If the TCM is not Called for the Settled position, the TCM is expected to part from staff professionally and to support the Conference’s Call of a different Minister.
Note: The UCCNY BOD has determined that our TCM may be considered for the Settled position at the end of the term or at any such time as is mutually agreed upon by the TCM and the BOD.
With the Conference Profile and scope of work completed, a Conference governing board forms a search committee with the authority to carry out a search for the best person to fill the position over time. The search committee meets with Rev. Lee Albertson to go through the process of Calling a Settled Conference Minister. The search committee then begins reviewing profiles and interviewing candidates, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit selects the top candidate who agrees to be considered for Call. The search committee presents this person to the governing board and the governing board presents this person to the Conference membership for vote at a special or regular meeting of the Conference delegates, clergy and lay.
NOTE: If an internal candidate wishes to be considered for the position – that is,someone who is on staff already as an Associate Conference Minister, or someone who has held the role of Designated Term/Transitional CM – that person is to be considered first by the search committee. If the decision is to not call this person, the search committee then widens the search to all other potential candidates, and the governing board plans an honorable good-bye with the current staff person.