The Settled Minister Calling Process: An Update

The Contract to Call (C2C) Task Force is moving ahead with its work to determine the congregation’s views on calling Reverend Peter Boullata as our settled minister at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough.  

Rev. Peter Boullata

To this end, our next step is organizing several small-group discussion meetings in March to gather views and thoughts from congregation members and friends. The process, meeting times, and process contact information are outlined below, after a brief review of how we got here, where we are, and where we are going.

Historical review/context

After 15 years, Rev. Julie Stoneberg resigned her position as our Settled minister in the spring of 2022. We held a goodbye ceremony in June and planted a tree in her honour. 

An interim search committee was convened and after several months of following the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) guidelines and process, only one candidate matching our needs agreed to an interview and he did not accept our offer. The UUA informed us that across North America there were 52 congregations searching and only 44 ministers seeking a position and that about half of the congregations did not find an interim minister.

In the absence of a minister, many members of the congregation stepped up to ensure that the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough continued to run smoothly. The Board appointed a Transition Team to do the work we had expected an interim minister might do with us as we remembered our history, took stock of our current situation, and started to think about our future. The Board contracted with Rev. Peter Boullata to lead one service a month in the 2022-23 church year and he was hired as our full time minister with a 2-year contract in September 2023.

The congregation is now in the position to consider calling a settled minister. The board has appointed a Contract to Call task force to lead us through a UUA approved process to consider whether the congregation would like to call Reverend Peter.  

The Process and Timelines

The rough timeline for Contract to Call (C2C) tasks are as follows:

  1. ‘The Call’ service was held on February 18, 2023 and can be seen here.
  2. There will be several opportunities for the congregation to engage in small group discussions and an online questionnaire in the month of March. 
  3. Written comments will also be welcome at any time in March. Please send comments to the Task Force via email to Mark Parnis at jmparnis@gmail.com
  4. The C2C will create a summary report of our findings and make a recommendation to the board in April about whether to proceed with calling Reverend Peter as our settled minister.
  5. The Board will call a special congregational meeting  before the summer break for a confidential vote on the question and if there is sufficient support to warrant it, would call Reverend Peter to be UFP’s third settled minister.

Discussion Meetings and Feedback

During the month of March, we will be having small group meetings for community members to discuss their thoughts on the congregation and Rev. Peter’s role as our minister going forward.

We encourage you to sign up for any of the following dates, please email Fahrin at fahrinkermally@gmail.com to confirm your spot in that group. Zoom links will be provided if necessary. If none of these times work for you but you would still like to be interested in this discussion, please email Fahrin with your days/times of availability and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

DateTimeFacilitatorLocation
Sunday, March 1011:30amJovannaUFP
Tuesday, March 1212pmStuUFP
Saturday, March 1612pm MargZoom
Sunday, March 1711:30amJovannaUFP
Tuesday, March 1912pmStuZoom
Friday, March 222pmLeighZoom

Questions for Reflection

  1. What is working well at UFP? 
  2. What changes would you like to see at UFP?
  3. What has this period of transitional ministry with Rev. Peter been like for you?
  4. What can Rev. Peter bring to our congregation as it moves into the future?
  5. How do you feel about Rev. Peter leading us into the next stage of our congregational development?

Closing Thoughts

The Contract to Call Task Force looks forward to hearing your thoughts and contributions as we move forward with this important process.  Please do contribute your thoughts and opinions, either by attending one of the small-group sessions, or by emailing your thoughts to the group via Mark Parnis at jmparnis@gmail.com.

In gratitude,

— Donna Harris, Fahrin Kermally,  Ben Taylor, Mark Parnis, Guy Hanchet