Our Path to a New Minister
Tim Torres, Minister Search Team Member, Prayer Chaplain, and Board of Trustees Treasurer, Unity of SA
I know you really want to know the names of our three minister candidates. I’m going to ask you to be patient … to wait until their visits to learn their names. Why?
Let me put it this way. Why do you want to know? I mean sure, you want to know, but if you feel this strong sense of a need to know now, why is that? I’m not criticizing. I think it’s human nature to want to fill in the unknowns in our knowledge, especially about something that is so important to us as a community and as individuals. I also think that it’s human nature to do some research on them, if you have their names. It’s the 21st Century, we have access to all kinds of information sources, not just a phone call to a friend we know in their church. Search tools on Google and YouTube are at our fingertips 24 hours a day. And there is a tendency to forget that what we find is not a complete picture of the individual (not even if it is an actual photograph!). If I didn’t know, if I were in your shoes, I would be craving advance information, too.
If we were all Zen masters, then maybe there would be no concern about sharing that information. On the other hand, if we were all Zen masters, there would be no sense of need for that information to be shared in advance.
Here is my concern:
We know that people often see and hear what they expect to see and hear. On the Sunday visits, we need your honest feedback about the messages and workshops. As much as possible, we do not want your perceptions based on partial information from secret sources. At this time, we’re not looking for your opinion of our candidates because of what you were able to find out about them on the outside. There is a time and place for that kind of discussion. You will surely have the opportunity to do your own research after their visit, if you are so inclined. We will have to discuss the available information before making any decisions, if the situation calls for it. But if we are going to be fair to each person, we need to weigh each of their qualities without a “halo effect” (or its opposite, a “horns effect”). This means we form an opinion of their speaking based on their speaking and we form an opinion of their teaching based on their teaching.
There are a lot of qualities that are important in our next minister, for example, management skills, counseling, and leadership. In the search process, the Minister Search Team has looked at these important qualities through resumes, interviews, reference checks, and watching videos of presentations. The Board of Trustees will do additional interviews and meet with each candidate extensively. I have no doubt that my perceptions of them will be affected by what I already know about them. I’m not in a position to approach their visit without advance knowledge. I’m stuck with knowing what I know and can’t be sure I will manifest clear sight when they visit us. That makes your objective experience of them even more important.
What we need from each of you is to experience their message and their teaching with an open mind and an open heart, so that we can find out how well they will connect with this UCSA community. It’s important that you see and hear each candidate, as much as possible, without your expectations limiting your perceptions.
On August 20, August 27, and September 10, we will have one on each date visit with us as the guest speaker in our Sunday celebration at 11:00. Then on each date, our guest is offering a class that afternoon at 1:15.
We will provide the subject of their talks and the subject of their classes in advance of each date. Right now, we know two of them:
On August 20, the message is, “Your Word is Your Wand,” and the workshop is, “Shoot for the Moon.” “Raise your level of expectancy! Go for what you want! You are meant to shine and live your life to the fullest, whatever that means to you. We will explore up-to-date, practical steps based on Spiritual Principle and have fun doing it!”
On August 27, the message is “Doing Amazing Things,” and the workshop is “Healing and Wholeness.”
As soon as we have more information for our guest on September 10, we will share it with you.
I can tell you with great conviction that the three ministers who are coming to share with us are, by all reports, amazing people and wonderful spirits. They each bring something just a little bit different to the table. Please be patient, come with an open heart and open mind, and experience the wonder of their unique divine presence as they manifest here with us on their respective days.