Letter no.4 from the Second Minister Search Committee

This is the fourth in a series of brief reports on the work of the Second Minister Search Committee (SMSC). Check the E-bulletin and the Spire for regular updates as the search process unfolds.


The committee spent much of the summer finalizing plans for the Congregational Survey, which went out earlier this month. We’re thrilled to report as of Tuesday morning, October 1, we had surpassed Marta’s ambitious goal of 300 completed surveys with 309 in hand, and still counting! All those who submitted their survey online by the October 1 deadline have been automatically entered in a drawing to win lunch with our new minister, plus a sermon topic of their choosing. Even if you missed the deadline, we’d still like to hear from you. The more responses we get, the more complete a picture of First Parish we can present to potential candidates. At least through Friday, September 4, you’ll find a link to the survey at firstparish.info/survey


At our last meeting we received a budget update from Parish Committee Vice Chair Marie Meteer. You’ll recall that we embarked on this second minister search knowing that we had to meet two ambitious financial goals. The first was to raise $200,000 in a special bridge fund, to be drawn down gradually over the next five years, by which point, ideally, the second minister’s expenses can be fully covered by our annual budget. Happily, the fund received pledges totaling $217,000. That gives us a nice cushion.


Our second goal was to increase annual giving by an average of 5% annually for the next five years. While we fell slightly short of that in 2019, the committee is confident that the funding plan for the second minister is secure, as long as we don’t lose focus. On the income side, that means all of us redoubling our efforts to meet that 5% annual goal, starting with the 2020 canvass next spring. And on the expense side, we need to accept that for the next several years, anyway, after accounting for the ordinary and continuing cost of operations, funding the second minister has to be our top priority.


Finally, calling all photographers! The packet we’re assembling to share with potential candidates can’t be all words and numbers. We need pictures, too—visual evidence of the vitality and variety of our religious community. That means pictures from coffee hour and worship services; of cooks in the kitchen and teachers in the classroom; of committee meetings and lectio divina, youth group and covenant groups, game nights, choir practice and protests on the front lawn. Click away, then upload best shots to this folder, or send them to committee member John Anderson at andersonjc37@gmail.com (Please use “FP Photos” in the subject line of your email) no later than the week of the Harvest Moon Fair. We hope to have lots to choose from.


Questions? Grab any one of us at coffee hour or email us at secondministersearch@firstparish.info

Best regards,

Second Minister Search Committee

John Anderson

Lois Fine

Rev. Marta Flanagan

Carolyn Hodges (co-chair)

Marc Jacobson (co-chair)

Tina Silberman

David Whitford

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