Senior Minister Search Committee Update | May, 2021

May 14, 2021

Dear Riverside Church Family,

It’s been sixty days. Nine convened committee meetings. Two dedicated denominational interviews. Hundreds of email and text messages. One congregational Town Hall presentation. And 100% participation and engagement among the members of your Senior Minister Search Committee. We remain acutely aware of the gift with which you have blessed us, the high standards to which you hold us, and the mission-critical importance of the task to which you have entrusted us. Each meeting opens and closes with a reflection on such centering principles as discernment, guidance, and the spiritual laying of living stones. While we have yet to host a meeting in person, know that our Lord takes center square on zoom. As it should be.

We’ve heard individually from our regional denominational ministers. Both the American Baptist Churches (ABC) and The United Church of Christ (UCC) stand with us and are lifting Riverside up as we embark on this new chapter. Our candid conversations have revealed great insights and action items. Namely, that we should be courageous and expansive in our community outreach; that we need both a prophetic vision and a builder; and that transparency is critical in this selection process. Lastly, ‘the high steeple’ is more than just a symbol of the magnificent temple we call home. The world is watching. And waiting!

We’ve been busy with the crucial foundational work of any new entity that wishes to bear fruit: securing a tight process of governance, modeling representative scenarios for achieving the greatest collaboration with our community, and performing an extensive stakeholder analysis. But none of us sought this mission for the joy of spreadsheets and pivot tables. They are a means to an end. Our strategic plan for the spiritual exercise of engagement, reclamation, and restoration requires a duty of care and the intentional promotion of inclusivity, openness, and communication. Thanks to Riverside’s wonderful tech team, we now have a link on the church website to keep you regularly informed of our progress. As an important first step, we will soon begin a ‘listening tour’ to actively engage with you in soliciting your feedback. We expect these to be open gatherings, both large and small, some structured and some informal. And there may even be a little homework! So quite simply, church family: “What’s our collective prayer for Riverside?”

Stay tuned. God is preparing the table.

Many Blessings,

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

Visit the Senior Minister Search Committee Page