Candidating from the Inside

I am thrilled, humbled and so grateful to be selected as the Candidate for the Senior Minister at the Foothills Unitarian Church where I have been serving as the Associate/Assistant Minister since August 2012.

The announcement was made on October 18th, and since then I have been in a very strange kind of dual-reality where I am both the settled Associate Minister serving my beloved congregation through their continued transition process, and I am the candidate preparing to meet a new congregation.  This dual-reality means my days are filled with a number of awkward situations – like, where I am responsible for getting the word out about the preparation for Candidating Week – even while being the one who the congregation is preparing for!

This dual-reality has actually been going on for some time, however, as I have been discerning along side the congregation about my calling and whether I would be a fit for the Senior Minister at Foothills, while the congregation has been discerning about its needs in a new Senior Minister.  It’s just more out-in-the-open at this point.  It is similar to what I experienced when the congregation discerned my call to Associate, but on a much larger scale, and with a lot more conversation about who I am and what this will mean. There was no FAQ written about me and the process in that call; and though I did create a website, there was not a parallel website from the search committee because by then, the search committee had disbanded.

This time, there are 19 (and counting) FAQs, and I have a website (with printed copies and large-print copies displayed in the office!), and the search committee has a website – and a Brochure.  And OMG my picture is everywhere I turn (thank you Iliff for the photos from a promo I did – though I am getting pretty sick of that one dress)! There are forums happening regularly – in this church I serve and love, where I go to work in the morning, and at night – thus running into these forums and (despite trying not to) overhearing the questions and comments about their “candidate” and the process….It is very strange!

It’s helpful during this time to remember that this process is ultimately held in something much larger than websites or forums – by a larger sense of life and love that is unfolding in ways that we can’t possibly see or fully understand.  And to place my trust in that great Universalist statement that everything will be ok in the end.

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About Rev. Gretchen Haley

Gretchen Haley serves as the Senior Minister of the Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO. She's relentlessly curious about most things, especially the big stuff of theology, the beauty of creation and poetry, the magic of collaboration, and the great joy and often-great-depth of popular (and less popular) television and music. She and her partner of 17 years, Carri, have 2 children, Gracie (10) and Josef (8).
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