Dear UCOH Congregation,
There has been so much happening recently for all of us, it may seem like the only thing that is happening is change. I believe in reality this is always the case: we may just suffer from a delusion at times that circumstances are static and within our control.
The question is: How are we being with respect to constant change? Do we see the activity of a kind and loving God in everything or not? The practice of posing that question to ourselves on a moment by moment basis while resting in the certainty of not knowing the complete picture will dictate our level of peace and centeredness.
Fortunately, we have our Unity Principles to rely on during any circumstance. We are also blessed with an amazing community in Unity Church of the Hills to support us in our practice of those principles as well as in personal relationships, worship and service. As you have noticed, there have been many changes to our programming and online offerings over the past two weeks. More offerings are yet to come, so stay tuned into the emails, website (complete with new features) and be sure to download the new Unity App to your phone, if you haven’t already.
Moving forward, there are two significant pieces that the Board of Trustees wanted to communicate to the congregation related to our Transitional and Interim ministry. Over the past few weeks, following the visit by Rev. Elizabeth Longo and Rev. David Mosher, the Board has been conducting the due diligence and vetting of this proposed transitional ministry team. We regret to inform you that despite our optimism regarding their selection, the Board has determined not to move forward with the proposed team of Rev. Elizabeth and Rev. David.
Through the vetting process, we discovered a misalignment with our practice of political neutrality by our executive leadership. Over the years, UCOH has tried to maintain a relative political agnosticism from our senior minister(s) and Board. In recent years particularly, ensuring political neutrality has been part of UCOH’s hiring practice of our former senior ministers, as well as nominations to our Board of Trustees.
The reason why is because at UCOH, we honor all paths, and our congregation represents an array of backgrounds and perspectives—all uniting here to deepen our spiritual journeys. Therefore, after much discussion and contemplation, the Board believes strong alignments with any particular perspective by senior leaders, even in a temporary or interim basis, would be detrimental to our effectiveness in the demonstration of our Mission and Vision.
The Board shares in any disappointment you may feel, as we are all ready to take steps forward. Yet we know, affirm, and trust Spirit is guiding this process, revealing to us the right spiritual leadership, for the interim ministry and as we embark on the senior minister search.
As such, the Board has elected to retain our Minister Emeritus Rev. Steve Bolen as a temporary, interim minister for the next few months while we take steps forward. Starting in early April, Rev. Steve will support our Sunday experience and provide leadership for our staff. The Board felt as though Rev. Steve could bring a level of comfort, familiarity, stability and grounded Unity perspectives through his messages as we all adjust to life in the midst of these challenging times.
Know that the Board is still engaged with UWM and exploring other options as well for interim ministry potentials, despite being very busy supporting the church as it transitions from brick and mortar to virtual space. We will continue to keep you updated as pieces develop on all fronts.
Mostly we want you to know that the Board, Staff, our Music Ministry, LUTs, Chaplaincy and our other volunteers are doing all that is possible to provide the richest spiritual experience and support for our community. There is a level of excitement about the new potentials that are emerging from adversity. Online portals for individual and group support are emerging quickly, so stay informed and active on line.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to be of service. The past five months have been a near-continuous time of challenge, change and growth. As always Unity Church of the Hills does not disappoint with regard to providing powerful spiritual growth and transformation. The number of congregants that have and continue to hold the highest and best vision for our blessed little community has been a buoyant force and inspiration to all of us that serve.
With Gratitude and Love,
UCOH Board of Trustees
Frank Phelan, President