Unity Transition Timeline
November 2018 – Peggy makes the decision to move to Arizona in the coming year, writes letter to Rev. Carrie Kenyon at Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM), telling her of upcoming decision to leave Unity Fort Collins and asking if UWM can help facilitate transition process.
(Background: Unity FC has had difficult and conflicted transitions in past, UWM has healthy and helpful resources available. Intention: Peggy loves Unity FC deeply and wants this transition to be a different and more loving experience for everyone!)
Jan 6, 2019 – Peggy informs Council about decision to move and shares information about what is available through UWM. Council agrees that transition help from UWM can be explored. Council & staff also agree that a plan of action needs to be in place before sharing all of this info with the congregation.
Jan 9 – Council (w/o staff) has video conference meeting with Carrie Kenyon to discuss transition options. Carrie sends resources detailing healthy transition processes. Three different possible plans for a UWM consultant being at Unity were presented to the council.
All Council and staff members answer a written Assessment questionnaire, giving Rev Kenyon information with which to match Unity Fort Collins with a consultant.
Jan 20 – Peggy shares her decision to move with the Unity congregation – and Gerald shares an update about the process
Feb 3 – Council & staff has video conference meeting with Steve Colladay, Unity minister and independent transition consultant recommended by Carrie, based on perceived needs and assessment responses. Council agrees through consensus to hire Steve as our transition consultant.
Of the three plans presented to the council for a consultant being at our Unity, the following plan was selected: Steve to be interim minister and consultant for 2 weeks in March, 2 weeks in April and 2 weeks in May. During the weeks in March and April, Peggy will step out of that role in order to allow space for future plans to happen without her. During those weeks, Steve will lead groups; be available for counseling, as well as hearing community concerns and feedback; he will be the Sunday speaker; and he will facilitate 2 day-long Saturday workshops for the purpose of Healing the Past and Visioning the Future. In addition he will help train a search team – members TBD – to do the new Spiritual Leader search, with the final decision on a new leader resting with our congregation.
Financial compensation: Peggy will take no salary for the time she is away. Steve will receive $1900 plus lodging for each full-time 2-week period. This covers regular ministerial duties, as well as his specialized consultant expertise.
Feb 10th—Two new council members were added to the council (Corina Hartzog and Jorgan Augenstein) after Will Moore and Brenda Carey stepped down due to their terms being done.
Feb 20 – Steve arrives for his 1st 2-week ministry. After his arrival and after reading a copy of our current bylaws, he discovers the wording in our bylaws that says we are “not affiliated with Unity Worldwide Ministries.” (While Peggy had explained that our Unity was not officially affiliated with UWM in her initial communication with Carrie, they did not understand that this was actually written formally into our bylaws.)
That is when we were told that in order to get UWM’s assistance with finding a new Spiritual Leader, we would need to be a member of UWM again. And that in order to be a member, we would need to change some stuff in our bylaws.
Mar 1 – 1st Saturday workshop is held (“HOPCOF”), facilitated by Steve
Mar 4 – Council & staff meets with Steve, discussion is held about bylaws and official affiliation with UWM. Bylaws team is formed, Sue Taylor volunteers to recruit representatives from 1st and 2nd services for the bylaws team; HOPCOF follow-up action team is formed and council commits to availability to answer questions EVERY Sunday, as well as weekly transition updates in newsletter & our website.
Mar 18 – Bylaws team has 1st meeting
If we choose to affiliate, can we retain: our definition of congregational membership; inclusive, inter-faith language in our classes, talks and written/posted materials; use of consensus as our decision-making tool.
In addition, what do we want to happen to our property in the event of the dissolution of Unity of Ft Collins, and if we choose not to affiliate with UWM, what shall we call ourselves?
Mar 25 – Steve arrives for his 2nd 2-week ministry
Mar 28 – Healing and reconciliation circle held, facilitated by Steve
March 30 – 2nd Saturday workshop on Vision, Mission, & Core Values is held, facilitated by Steve
Mar 31st – draft of Vision, Mission, Core Values distributed to congregation on paper and in newsletter for their feedback
April 2 – Bylaws team has video conference meeting with leaders at UWM to address the bylaws issues. You can watch the entire (1 hr, 22 minutes) video meeting.
April 7 – Council & Bylaws team meet to create a draft of amended bylaws proposal to submit to UWM
April 14 – Council meeting with several congregants present. Issues discussed were: whether we need an Interim Spiritual Leader and how to find one; Steve’s continued employment (or not) and what that might look like, and do we need to wait until we become a UWM member (or not) to decide if we continue with him or not; possibly hiring a local, secular consultant if we don’t continue with Steve, etc.
Agreement was reached for Gerald to ask Steve what his timeline/agenda looks like for his currently proposed 2-week May stint at our Unity. Agreement was reached that Peggy would research how to find an interim Spiritual Leader. Other folks are encouraged to also research interim Spiritual Leader ideas/people/possibilities/etc.
April 15 – Our proposed amended bylaws were emailed to UWM for UWM’s review. They will let us know (within 10 days) if our proposed bylaw changes meet UWM’s membership requirements.
April 18—Special council meeting. (Everyone is invited to attend council meetings. The next council meeting is May 19th at 12noon.) Decisions made at this meeting:
-Put Steve Colladay’s next visit on hold until we decide to be UWM members or not.
-Franklin, Corina, and Jordan will be responsible for getting guest speakers after Peggy’s last talk on May 5th. They will focus on asking our own Unity congregants to speak as much as possible.
-Our own Rev. Julie Legg will be in charge of ministerial duties (weddings, memorial services, counseling, etc.) until we get a new Spiritual Leader. Call Grace, in the Unity office, for more info: 970-482-1620.
-The Unity council will be responsible for the decisions that used to be made by Peggy until a new Spiritual Leader is in place. Grace will continue to keep the office running smoothly.
April 25—Cynthia Vermillion-Foster, Executive Director of Member Services at Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM), contacted us April 25, 3019 to let us know that the proposed revisions we sent her on our bylaws have been approved by UWM. The council let her know that we would need to have a special member meeting in order to approve (or not) those same revisions before we can move ahead.
Presently, the council is deciding the best date to have that special meeting. Our bylaws say we must give our members at least 10 days notice of a special meeting, so look for that meeting date in our weekly NL, online, and in our Sunday bulletin soon.
Gerald was tasked with contacting Cynthia to ask if we would be required to change our bylaws again, after this initial change, to fit UWM’s proposed template that would need to be in place by December of 2023 that was discussed in their video from 3/21/19. Her response via email, on May 6th, was:
“It was delightful speaking with you and your board a few weeks ago. As I indicated in a previous email, the bylaws you submitted are approved and the ministry is clear to begin the search process.
I understand that changing bylaws is an un-fun task and the board probably wants to avoid this task for the foreseeable future. However, I cannot assure you that you will not need to change your bylaws again in the next few years. There are things in your bylaws that raise some questions, and I want to take some time to consider these questions and to communicate to you all in a thoughtful manner. That will not be possible this week. Our board of trustees is in town and I have numerous meetings. What I can say is that even if some further changes are required, I would be most happy to walk with you and support you through this process – and that you would not be required to complete this process until Dec 2023.”
May 5 – Peggy’s last Sunday talk and send-off party
May 19th—At this regular monthly council meeting, it was agreed that we would schedule a special membership meeting on June 2nd at 11:00AM. At this special membership meeting, you (the Unity congregation) will make the decision to approve (or not) our proposed bylaws changes that would determine if we would be able to become Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) members. Gerald was tasked with getting more information from UWM before the meeting.
You will also decide to accept (or not) our latest version of our vision, mission, and core values statements.
June 6—At the membership meeting on Sunday, June 2nd, we approved the proposed Vision, Mission, and Core Values statements for our Unity.
We also approved the proposed bylaw changes, and agreed to be Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) members. UWM was informed of our decision, and they have sent us their “packet” of information to fill out and return to them, so that they can then begin sending us Spiritual Leader candidates.
June 9th—At regular monthly council meeting: Grace will create a “call for volunteers” blurb for the Search Team. Look for that announcement in the NL, online, bulletin, etc. Leane, JoEllen, and Pam will begin working on filling out UWM’s packet of info they need to be able to send us candidates. Gerald will contact UWM and ask for options for getting our search team trained.
June 12th—It is time to create our Spiritual Leader Search Team
Call for Volunteers for the Search Team:
The deadline for getting your name on the volunteer list for consideration is Sunday, June 23, 2019. Please contact Grace, in the office, to get your name on the list: 970-482-1620.
We are calling for 4 volunteers to be on our Spiritual Leader Search Team.
Each volunteer is asked to agree to an individual, thoughtful process with the Unity council to choose, out of all the volunteers (if we have more than 4), the 4 that will be on this team.
After the 4 volunteers are determined, one council member – Corina – will complete this team. This team will be involved at a very exacting level in helping select candidates to recommend to the council for further consideration.
We will provide search team training for the entire team. After which, as a member of this team, you will be available for frequent Search Team meetings; read candidate resumes; schedule and conduct candidate interviews via phone, video conference, and/or in person; report to the council and the congregation; meet with the council regularly; stay in “prayerful discernment about each candidate…that doesn’t preclude strong discussion, advocating or argument. But at some point, call a halt, take a breath, be willing to surrender your stake or agree to disagree and make room for Spirit.”
Continuity in this team is important, so please understand that this is at least a 3-month commitment, with many meetings, once we start accepting resumes – and it could go longer. You will be on this team until we hire our next Spiritual Leader.
Needed for this team:
-Good communication skills and willingness & ability to talk in front of our Unity congregation
-Consistency – follow a consistent process and ask consistent questions of all applicants
-Sense of fairness, tolerance, open-mindedness, and justice – there is no room for prejudges of any kind
-Record-keeping – keep accurate records of all interviews and the team process
-Confidentiality with lack of politics, campaigning, and agendas
-Reporting – deliver regular, short (one-minute) reports to the congregation every two weeks, conduct longer (30-minute) monthly gatherings about your process and progress with the congregation, as well as report to the council
-Integrity and lack of conflicts of interest – e.g.: if you know a candidate, you must recuse yourself. You also shouldn’t have communication with any applicant outside of the agreed upon process by the team
-Willingness to diligently check references, make phone calls, write emails, ask difficult questions, and possibly have uncomfortable conversations kindly.
-Scheduling and planning – make arrangements for housing/hotel and transportation, tours of Ft. Collins, etc. for in-person interviews
June 24th—Four Unity folks have volunteered for the Search Team and will be working with Corina, a council member, to round out the team to 5 members. Unity will provide training for the Search Team.
July 3rd—We have our Search Team in place, and they will receive professional search team training through Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) on Monday, July 8th. The Search Team consists of JoEllen Fulton, Dennis Gibson, Amanda Fewell, Amy Alexander, and Corina Hartzog.
Leane, JoEllen, and Pam are on the Packet Team and they are working on completing UWM’s packet of information they need to receive before they can send us candidates.
* (see below to find out how these questions help the Packet Team fill out UWM’s packet) To help us fill out this packet, please consider hitting “Repy” to this email and answering these questions for us:
1. What makes this community your spiritual home?
2. What are the most important aspects of a spiritual leader?
3. What do you want for our Unity future?
4. Include your name – or not – it’s up to you.
You can also email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, bring in a printed copy of your answers and turn them in at the Unity office, or fill out the available pink form this Sunday when you come to hear Julie speak.
Deadline for turning in your answers is Sunday, July 7th
July 11th—The Search Team (ST) received professional search team training through Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) on Monday, July 8th.
Leane, JoEllen, and Pam continue to work on filling out UWM’s packet of information they need to receive before they can send us candidates.
July 14th—The Packet team used their survey results (see above*) to answer questions and give info in UWM’s packet. The council decided that we will post our job opening ad (when it is ready) with UWM, our own website, as well as the Independent Alliance of Ministers in Unity’s website. Interested people will have four weeks, after we post at all three places, to get their resumes in to us. Someone on the ST will report to the congregation every Sunday, letting everyone know where we are in the search process.
Unity of Fort Collins Bylaws Info
Watch the video conference meeting between our Unity of Fort Collins bylaw committee and Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM). You also may also be interested in the Video link of the March 21, 2019 UWM By-Laws call with Unity Leaders nationwide.