Senior Minister Search Committee Update | February 2022

This is what God says,

 the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

– 2 Isaiah 43:16-19. The Message

Dear Riverside Members,

As many of you are aware, the Senior Minister Search Committee recently entered a new phase in our work. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we released the Church Profile and Senior Minister Position Description to the public and began recruiting applicants through our partners in the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. Many of our committee members have also been reaching out through our professional and ministry networks as well. We are casting our nets wide, and praying that God cuts a road through the oceans to the person God has already called as our next Senior Minister.

We will not begin our confidential review of Candidate Profiles until after our priority deadline of March 15. In the meantime, the committee will be finalizing our process for reviewing application materials as well as beginning to develop a process for interviewing and other research on profiles we will be actively considering. Our goal is to balance the need to keep the Church informed while allowing us to have frank and candid interviews, without disclosing names of applicants.

Our wider church community has work to do in this time as well. The Search and Call process is not an exercise in calling a Senior Minister who coddles our preferences, biases, and historical hang ups. It is about praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirt: being alert and present to how that guidance should shape and form us to live into God’s call for our Church. We hope to identify a final candidate who has a strong sense of how their call meets Riverside where she is, but a vision and gifts to lead us where God wants us to be. As a committee, we are collectively excited to engage with our applicants’ visions that will no doubt be bursting out.

It is also important to understand that candidates are discerning and researching us as well. They are reading about what energizes you to do the work of this ministry. They want a glimpse of how have you experienced God’s presence in your life here at Riverside. They are in conversation with their spouses and children about the possibility of being Riversiders. They know we have scratched the surface of what we need to do to prepare for a new Senior Minister, but will rightfully question whether we are faithfully engaging in that work.

You continue to inform, encourage, and pray for us—as we do for you a well. We see this as a spiritual journey for all who are involved. As we journey along, are we ready to address what has been absent at Riverside? Would your answer change if to address that absence we have to do something brand new?

With God’s grace,

Alexa, Andrea, Annie, Beth, David, Emily, Hylda, Karissa, Lee, Lisa, and Mark