The Nominating Committee is composed of seven members of the congregation who are elected to the committee plus one Board-appointed liaison member. The Committee identifies lay leaders to be considered for roles on the Board of Trustees, the Nominating Committee itself, and the Ministerial Search Committee. Church members are encouraged to recommend themselves or other members for these leadership positions.
The Nominating Committee is a committee of Main Line Unitarian Church that is mandated in its bylaws. With input from the church membership and staff, the Nominating Committee identifies lay leaders to be considered for nomination for the following:
• Three Board of Trustees annually (three-year appointment)
• Two Nominating Committee members annually (three-year appointment)
• One Moderator every three years (three-year appointment)
• Ministerial Search Committee (one-year appointment, as needed)
With a list of potential candidates, the Nominating Committee recruits individuals qualified and willing to be nominated for the various MLUC leadership positions. The slate of candidates identified by the Nominating Committee is made public in advance of the Annual Congregational Meeting (petitions for each candidate must be posted and signed), and the slate is put up for a vote at the Annual Meeting.
Major attributes we seek in a Nominating Committee member:
1. Available to attend committee meeting once a month.
2. Personable and detail-oriented.
3. Available to contact potential candidates and perhaps meet with them to discuss the job responsibilities.
4. Active member of the church and has participated and/or held a leadership position on a committee.
5. Ability to judge character and trust instincts to determine who would make a good match for specific committees.
Board of Trustees
Every year, three people rotate off the Board and need to be replaced. The Nominating Committee’s duty is to analyze the remaining slate of Trustees, determine skills needed to create a well-rounded Board, and identify and get commitments of interest from three new candidates for Congregational approval.
The Nominating Committee encourages recommendations from the Congregation and the ministers. Starting in September, the Committee meets (monthly or more regularly) in closed sessions to discuss possible candidates. The Committee then meets with each potential nominee to discuss the Trustee role and determine interest. Once candidates show willingness to serve, their names are submitted by petition to the Board President/Secretary, with a minimum of 20 signatures needed. The petitions must be received no less than 30 days prior to the Annual Meeting (usually in May). The names are advertised to the Congregation. They are then voted on by the Congregation at the Meeting.
In addition, self-naming candidates can elect to submit a petition under the timing and process stated above.
Major attributes we seek in a Board of Trustees member:
1. Visionary leadership.
2. Available to commit time, energy, and talents to the Church (two meetings a month and readings throughout the month).
3. Ability to articulate the values and mission of MLUC, to the congregants as well as to the greater community.
4. Skillful at listening to and communicating with congregants.
5. Ability to oversee Church finances and other assets.
6. Willing to work within MLUC’s current governance model with the eye to constant improvement.
Senior Ministerial Search Committee
The Nominating Committee has an additional task of nominating seven to eight church members for the Senior Ministerial Search Committee. This Committee will be charged with working together over the course of approximately a 14-month period to source a Senior Minister to be considered by the congregation in a special congregational vote that will “call” that candidate to serve our church.
We need skilled lay-leader members from across the congregation who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in their service to the congregation. This requires the Nominating Committee to compile a list of names from the congregation of potential Senior Ministerial Search Committee members, conduct in-depth interviews, and review the required references for each candidate. Once the list is pared down to seven to eight names, that slate of names will be posted with photos and brief bios for congregational endorsement of 50 people per nominee. These petitions will be posted outside the Main Meeting Room for 30 days prior to a special congregational meeting, just as we do for the Board of Trustees being nominated. The special congregational meeting will be held to have all eligible congregational members vote to endorse this slate of candidates that will comprise the Senior Ministerial Search Committee.
Major attributes we seek in a Ministerial Search Committee member:
1. Available and committed to participate for a 14-month process of the Senior Ministerial Search.
2. Establish the criteria for selecting the person who can best carry out the mission, purposes, and policies of the Church as informed by the congregation, the Board of Trustees, and the Interim Minister.
3. These Search Committee members require special areas of experience and expertise in the following:
Chair: The chair is responsible for the care and feeding of the committee and for holding the vision. The chair needs to enjoy keeping a finger on the pulse of everything and to be easy to reach, not terrified by conflict, and able to use tough love if necessary. The chair convenes meetings and is the primary communicator with the Board, the Transitions Office, the MSR, and the District Executive.
Packet Editor and Distributor: The editor needs to have an artistic flair, love compiling material, and be confident of creating a fair and attractive picture of the congregation. In distribution mode, the editor sends copies of the packet to prospective candidates, receives and renews returned ones, and receives candidates’ packets and creates the means by which all committee members see them in a timely fashion.
Arranger: The arranger sets up preaching dates in area churches for pre-candidates and sees that everyone has all the information they need. Flexibility and creativity are required, since the arrangements are for a minister unknown with a church not known whose administrator (also not known) wants to get the Sunday morning schedule squared away before the details can be known. The arranger also looks to the care and comfort of the pre-candidates (and later the candidate) from the moment they arrive until they leave. Who will meet them? Where will they stay? Where/when will they eat? Who will drive them where? What will a tour include? No detail is too small to influence a candidate’s first impression of the congregation.
Reference Checker: The checker designs some type of instrument to chart the information the committee wants about each candidate and devises a way to communicate findings to the committee.
Secretary: The secretary communicates with the prospective candidates, keeping them informed of the committee’s process. The secretary is also the primary communicator to the congregation of the committee’s progress, by a regular newsletter column, a well-designed and often-updated bulletin board, and other means. The secretary also keeps detailed notes and minutes of committee meetings. The amount of communication needed is inestimable; the secretary needs to like doing this job.
Survey coordinator: The surveyor needs to have a passion for learning who the congregation is and what their wants/needs/hopes/desires are, and a vision of how to do it. The surveyor will create the survey instrument and survey events capable of eliciting thoughtful, reflective, and copious response in a form that will effectively communicate that response to the prospective candidates.
Treasurer: The treasurer creates the budget, keeps expenses on track, and makes sure committee members account for expenses and are reimbursed in a timely fashion. The treasurer reports to the Finance Committee, but in such a way that the identities of the ministers under consideration are not revealed. The treasurer often heads up the negotiating team.