Upcoming at Northlake

Groups and Committees


Ministerial Search

In 2019, Northlake will call a new settled minister. Here is a summary of the process that leads up to that decision.


Schedule for Search Process



  • February – Preparation for Search workshops  (Click here to see Nancy Edmundson’s slides from the workshop.)
  • March to April – choose Search Committee (SC) – see below
  • June or July – SC retreat
  • August – October – gathering input from members (cottage dinners or other focus groups, surveys, interviews) about our goals and priorities, strengths and challenges as a community, and what we are looking for in our new minister. (We encourage you to listen to Warren Jessop’s sermon from February 11 on the “10 C’s of Ministry”.)
  • Fall – Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop (optional)
  • October / November – SC writes congregational record and prepares search website
  • December – ministers seeking positions review our website and others



  • Early January – SC receives applications from interested ministers (may be as many as 15?)
  • Jan to Feb – SC will exchange information with candidates we’re interested in. Do initial interviews and reference checks.
  • Feb to March – pre-candidating weekends. 3-4 candidates will travel to our area, and preach in a “neutral pulpit.” Our search committee will observe them.
  • End of March / beginning of April – make an offer
  • April – announce the name of the final candidate to the congregation
  • April – candidating week – candidate visits for a week – many opportunities for meeting / greeting / assessing
  • April – congregational vote on whether to “call” the candidate
  • August – new minister joins congregation


Note: the names of ministerial search candidates are confidential. The search committee will not reveal any names or identifying information about any of the ministers they consider other than the final candidate.


Choosing a Search Committee

This process was approved by the Board on 2/19. The idea is based on UUA Recommendations, found in this document on One Excellent Way to Choose a Search Committee. You may also be interested in watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4x4N-PZxQs.


  • Late February / Early March: Nominations. Every member* was contacted by email and asked to nominate 3 people via an online survey**. Members were given information on what qualities to look for to guide their choice of who to nominate.
  • In early March, members who have not yet nominated anyone will be contacted by a board member to again ask them to participate in the nomination process.
  • Deadline for nominations is March 15.
  • Those nominations are compiled. The top 10 – 14 nominees are contacted – the job is explained to them (it’s a big job – you want to make sure they know what they’re committing to! Also, if they are already on the Northlake board or in another significant leadership position, they would need to give up that position if chosen for the SC.)
  • Interested nominees are asked to submit an application and candidate statement.
  • On March 25, candidate applications and statements are posted at church and sent to members.
  • At the April 15th congregational meeting, the membership votes, on paper ballots.
  • Ballots will be counted by board members after the April 15th congregational meeting. The top 4 vote-getters are on the committee.
  • At the April 16th board meeting, the board appoints 3 more candidates from the slate. These appointments ensure a good balance of demographics and skill on the team.
  • After that meeting, the board will announce the 7 members of the committee.


* Northlake Members: You are required to be a member in good standing to: nominate members for the search committee, to vote on the search committee, and to vote on our final ministerial candidate. If you would like to become a member, learn more here: http://northlakeuu.org/visitor-information/becoming-a-member/


** If you are a member and would like the link for submitting your nomination online before March 15, just email janelled@live.com

Before submitting nominations for search committee, members are asked to take a moment to consider these “qualifications for effective search committee members” compiled from UUA recommendations. Nominees should exemplify these qualities:

  • Committed to consensus, well suited to working on a team
  • Overall perspective and commitment to the congregation as a whole (more than to any one sub-group)
  • Non-partisan – someone who is typically able to see all sides of an argument, or see strengths and weaknesses of each person, without a tendency to take sides
  • Commitment to UU pluralism; History of UU involvement (at Northlake and/or elsewhere)
  • Known and respected; has the confidence of the congregation
  • Can respect and maintain confidentiality
  • Committed to conducting a search that is fair and nondiscriminatory with respect to race, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, age, and national origin – not someone with rigid expectations about the identity of the minister
  • Have time to be involved/willing to give up other commitments to make space for this work (many hours per month, especially in January through March 2019, when our transition coach says “it can feel like a part-time job”)
  • Able to follow through on tasks

The search committee as a team should be

  • Diverse: balanced by gender, age, interests, and tenure of membership.
  • Representative of all major areas of church life such as worship, religious education, social justice, property management, finance and music
  • Broad set of skills. These talents need to be represented on the committee: computer skills, financial savvy, negotiating skills, good at reference checks, writing and editing, good salespeople for Kirkland and Northlake, good listeners and good at gathering congregational input, event organizers (to plan cottage dinners, schedule candidate interviews, work with candidates on travel arrangements and so on)


Learn more: Click here for more details on the UUA process. The “Settlement Handbook” contains most of the essential details. There are also some helpful videos at www.midamericauua.org/services/transitions