Greetings to All!
This year, the Board of Trustees of the UUCBV made the decision to enter into search for an Interim Minister. An Interim Minister is just that, someone hired to work with a congregation for a limited number of years. They are called “pre-fired” and are not able to then be called as a congregation’s Settled Minister. Right off the bat, let me thank my fellow Team Members for their contributions, thoughtfulness, patience, and time. They are Kathi Appelt, Joe Castiglioni, Pam Johnson and Katie Womack. You rock!
Going into search for an Interim Minister, while not as lengthy and involved as going into search for a Settled Minister, is still an intense and important process, and one that the members of the Search Team took very seriously. Once the work of getting our packet put together was completed, sort of the church’s resume, where an extensive amount of questions about the UUCBV are answered, it was time for ministers to read about us and decide if they felt we could be a good match. From there, we were very fortunate to have multiple candidates to get to know. Interviews were scheduled with each one, and the Team Members decided on at least two questions they felt were important to be answered, with our best efforts made to have each candidate answer the same questions. Of course, time is always left at the end of the interview where the candidates can then ask Team Members questions, and as I would say each time, we tried to answer them positively but honestly.
Rev. Christian Schmidt was one of these candidates, but with him came the need for him to minister to us remotely. What a challenging decision to be faced with! Knowing Rev. Christian previously did not make him an automatic choice, we did our best to look at what the current needs of the church are and thoroughly examine how each candidate could meet those needs. In the end, Rev. Christian was our choice. It is true that having someone already familiar with many of our congregants, the church’s structure, and the area will be a great benefit during this new and interesting time. We are confident that his many skills, creativity and heart will guide us into a beautiful future as we move into our new church home, continue to define who we are as a church, and prepare ourselves for a Settled Minister. The sample contract we received from the UUA Transitions Office is for a year, with the option to continue if desired by both sides. So Rev. Christian has signed a one year contract for now and the future will dictate if another year is added. With that in mind, the Members of the Search Team are willing to serve if called once again.
In an effort for us to move forward as a cohesive congregation, where we trust one another to have the best interests of the church in mind when making these monumental decisions, we thought we would offer personal insight on why we have selected Rev. Christian Schmidt to guide us. I’ll allow this article to speak for me.
Katie Womack had this to say: As part of the process of checking references, what impressed me were the words most often used to describe him as “Steady and Calm.” In his work at two previous churches he was admired and appreciated for his work with their Boards, guiding them gently and capably in their decision-making. Our former minister, Rev. Aaron, who knows us and Christian well, said this about him: “I think in this time it would be best if you had someone who was familiar with both the ins and outs of technology, but also with UUCBV and BCS. … he is one of the calmest individuals I know. But it's a powerful calm, a calm that leads. There are very few colleagues that I would count as my minister- he is one of them.” Knowing Christian from his pre-minister days with us is a huge advantage because many of us know the person he is. But it was these comments from those who know him as a minister that put him over the top for me.
Kathi Appelt writes: It’s been quite a while since we had a minister who was parenting, and while that’s not an essential requirement for ministry, I do feel that it’s a bonus for our congregation. Not only are he and his wife raising their own two sons, but they are also raising their two young nephews. I feel pleased to know that someone who is keyed into children and their particular needs, will be at our helm. As well, his technical skills when it comes to social media and virtual ministry are a huge plus. While the other candidates whom we interviewed each had their strengths, I felt like this combination of experience make Rev. Schmidt a well-rounded, ready-to-serve minister, just right for us at this particular moment.
From Joe Castiglioni: I did not know Christian Schmidt prior to his interview with the Search Committee, other than the information contained in his application packet. During the interview I was impressed by his extremely thoughtful and detailed answers to our questions. He demonstrated a depth of knowledge and understanding about issues that this congregation has faced and will continue to face in both the near and distant future. He has experience successfully dealing with many of those same issues in his previous and current ministries. Also apparent during the interview was his calm attentiveness to the process of ministry and a quiet, modest but certain confidence in himself and in an optimistic future.
And lastly Pam Johnson adds: I had not met or spoken to Rev. Christian Schmidt prior to the Interim Minister interview. I was initially struck by how easy it is to talk to him and how in-depth his answers to our questions were, clearly demonstrating his years of ministry experience. To me, he has all the qualities needed to help the UUCBV move forward. In particular, he helped develop his current church’s on-line ministry from scratch, so he will be an asset and well-complement the work of John Faber, Nancy Deer and Joe Daigle. With the COVID-19 restrictions, he has been able to continue committee meetings, services and has also taken the time to reach out to each member individually during these trying times. He has a strong history of social justice ministry, and for me, that is particularly important as we try to strengthen and identify the social justice mission of the UUCBV. He has a reputation of performing well-thought out and meaningful sermons, and I look forward to that. And to top that off, he has spent many years working in the background with church budgets, fundraisers, and other financial aspects so he has those skills that will help us (and Deb and Leslie) feel more confident and safe regarding the church’s finances.
We decided we would let Rev. Christian introduce himself at a future date, but wanted to include some of his credentials. They include but are certainly not limited to:
Preliminary Fellowship: 2013
Final Fellowship: 2019
Interim Minister Search Committee Update!59Ordination: 2013
Seminary: M. Div., Andover Newton Theological School, 2012; attended Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 2009-10
Congregational Ministries Served:
2017-2019 Contract Minister Napa Valley UUs Napa, CA
2016-2020 Senior Co-Minister UU Church of Berkeley Kensington, CA
2015-2016 Interim Minister UU Church in Cherry Hill Cherry Hill, NJ
2015-2016 Developmental Minister UUs of the Chester River Chestertown, MD
2013-2015 Minister First Parish in Malden Malden, MA
As someone who has attended the Dwight Brown Leadership Experience and is familiar with the issues of triangulation, involving a third party rather than speaking directly to an individual when needed, I invite any and all questions about our process and decision. We are nothing but full of love for the UUCBV, surrounding area, and the world at large.
Chair of the Interim Minister Search Committee