Holy Conversations: Office Transitions

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

So T. S. Eliot writes. The year 2009 has ended, and 2010 begins, bursting with possibility, awaiting a new voice with which to be conveyed. May the new year be a time of creative discovery for you personally and for our congregation as a whole.

A wonderful thing we can all look forward to is the reopening of the UUCA office on Fridays. In 2010, we will be open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Good news!

I also want to share one of the key creative initiatives I’ll personally be focusing on. I’ve determined that the Business Manager position at UUCA, as it is currently structured, is not adequate for an organization with our size and complexity. For this reason, I am restructuring the position and giving it a new name: Executive Director. The Executive Director will maintain both a “big picture” view of our entire operation in order to prioritize competing needs, as well as specific knowledge of day-to-day details. The new Executive Director will advise me on a wide range of matters (financial and otherwise) at a strategic level, and will direct congregational growth according to the vision and priorities that I set. Very importantly, this will allow me to direct more energy towards my role as Senior Minister. Over the past several years, the work of being the CEO of a $1.2 million nonprofit (which is one way of looking at UUCA) has often made it difficult to fulfill all my responsibilities as a minister, or to invest in them the kind of energy I would like. In short, bringing on an Executive Director will help make my role, and the role of future Senior Ministers, more sustainable.

I’m grateful to the Board for their support of this initiative. I’ll be working with several congregants to search for our new Executive Director, and I will definitely keep you posted on our progress. I anticipate that he or she will be in place by June 1.

Between now and then, here is the transition plan. Effective January 1, Sherri Wiseman, our Business Manager for the past several years, will shift over to the position she previously held, that of Office Administrator. Pat Kahn will join me and Rev. Keller on the Executive Team, and in this context we’ll be covering many of the usual Business Manager responsibilities. In particular, Pat Kahn will be the temporary point person for our sextons. Please take any compliments, questions, or concerns you might have about our sextons to her.

Past UUCA Board President Stacy Kottman will also be playing a key role in this transition. Stacy has a brilliant financial mind and is a member of our Finance Team. As such, he’ll ensure that we are staying up-to-date with our finances, together with making improvements on our financial oversight systems.

A transition like this is not easy. Like T. S. Eliot says, “last year’s words belong to last year’s language / And next year’s words await another voice.” In 2010, we’ll be working towards discovering a new language and voice. I ask for your patience while we are “under construction.”

Above all, I’m grateful for Sherri. She will continue on at UUCA in a renewed way. Her leadership is about more than organization. It’s about hospitality too. She makes the office a truly warm and inviting place. Please let her know how much you appreciate the gifts she brings to our beloved community.
“To make an end is to make a beginning.” Let the end be a good one, and the beginning even better.

Anthony David, Senior Minister