In normal times, we would be welcoming Sarah and Ed to Austin for a week at the end of April. We had so much planned — potlucks and meetings and more! We, like you, are needing to mourn the absence of in-person time with Sarah. It’s just not going to be the same doing all of this online. We are grateful that we, the Search Team, were able to spend a weekend with Sarah in person, before the pandemic hit. But now you, the congregation, are limited to getting to know her online. It’s definitely not what we planned, and it is not at all ideal.
But we’re Wildflower Church! We’re strong, we’re resilient, and we’re creative! So we — and many other congregations in the search process — are going to boldly go where no churches have gone before! We appreciate your patience, understanding, and adventurous spirit on this journey!
Our Candidating Week will now be almost two weeks — from April 20 to May 3. We expanded the time frame because we want to be sure there is time for every member of the church to get to know Sarah online, either in a team meeting or some other small group setting on Zoom. If your team already had a meeting scheduled with Sarah, the Search Team will be contacting you soon to reschedule something on Zoom. We will also organize small group sessions with Sarah various days and times. We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to get to know her.
In addition to those meetings, Sarah will lead our online worship services on April 26 and May 3. And after the service on May 3, the congregation will vote on whether to call Sarah as Wildflower’s next minister, with a term beginning in August, 2020. The vote will be online, at a special congregational meeting called by the Board. The Board will share the necessary information about how to do that at a later time, and they welcome your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So we’ll be doing a lot online during Candidating Week, and now is the time for us to get everyone up to speed! Do you know of someone who is not online at all, either because they have no computer or no internet? If so, please let us know right away so that we can reach out to them. And if you have a computer and internet but have never used Zoom before, or are having trouble with Zoom, let us know that, too. It is vitally important to us that everyone has time to connect with Sarah through video. If Zoom is just not in the cards, we may be able to arrange a video connection through another program, or an opportunity for someone without a computer to borrow someone else’s. But somehow, some way, we want every church member to get to know Sarah. And remember, tech support doesn’t have to be in person — we can have someone on the phone with you, helping you set things up every step of the way.
As a reminder, the congregational vote is not a simple majority vote. Our bylaws require a vote of 80 percent of members present in favor of the Candidate. The UUA Transitions Office says that most ministers require a 90 percent vote in favor, and some prefer a vote of 95 percent in favor. So your vote will be critical, and we want to make sure that any concerns or uncertainties that you have about Sarah are addressed before May 3.
Finally, in these few weeks before April 20, we encourage you to Google Sarah and learn more about her. Her website is www.sarahskochko.com. Her Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/sarahskochko/. Her youtube page is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNcPKpJQOEAs4SKGXSUKaaQ. Follow her, watch her videos, research her. And if you want, feel free to email us any questions you have about her. We can answer them if we can, or relay them to her and she can prepare written or video responses. But of course, you will also have an opportunity to ask her any questions you want through Zoom during Candidating Week.
Again, we so appreciate your understanding as we work to make sure you get to know Sarah in these unprecedented times in which we find ourselves. If you have any questions at all, please let us know at email@example.com.