Check out the Transitions Team blog here.

Update January 4:
It’s Go-Time! The Ministerial Records (job applications) have been released to the Ministerial Search Committee and we are hard at work reading them thoroughly. We are happy to report great interest in USG and are excited to learn more about these prospective ministers and who would be a good match for our congregation

Responses to Questions Asked During USG Minister Search Process

B4 Workshop  

  1. Will the congregation be able to see the packet that is being sent to the candidates?
    Answer: Upon request to the committee, the Congregational Record, a compilation of the most pertinent information, can be made available by emailing the search committee at:
  1.  Can you share as you proceed the ways you are working to reduce bias?
    Answer:  The B4 workshop was held to create a focus on bias and help promote education about different types of bias. The committee met with the UUA Transitions Manager in December to discuss remaining steps in the search process and we will be vigilant about recognizing our biases.  In general, the committee is very aware of how bias can creep into the evaluation process and will endeavor to maintain that awareness. On January 29, at 12pm, Shobhi Kanal of the Transitions Team will lead a conversation about bias, preferences, first impressions and labeling to prepare us to welcome our next minister.
  1. What are our priorities for a new minister?
    Answer: Our priorities are based on congregational survey and feedback from the congregation.
  1. What is the job description for the new minister? Is there a formal job description that can be shared?
    Answer:  The congregational record (CR) questionnaire has several questions describing the ministers’ responsibilities and duties.  Also, the minister’s contract identifies the responsibilities and expectations of the position. 
  2. Does the search committee ask if the new minister has a family?
    Answer: No. We cannot ask that question.

Cottage Meetings

  1. Is there a mandate for the new minister to fulfill certain types of identities? Answer: No.
  1. Will the congregation be informed of the number of candidates?
    Answer: Not the total number of applicants, but we hope to select three pre-candidates. As always- please reach out to the committee with any questions you may have. 

Do you have questions, concerns, and hopes for the new minister? The Ministerial Search Committee wants to hear from you! If you were not able to join a cottage meeting or focus group, we still want to hear from you, so please email Thank you for putting your trust in us!

Watch the Search Committee’s video all about USG.

Your Ministerial Search Committee!

top: Dennis Brunn, Carolyn Cotton, Lisa Dutton, Emily Joy Goldberg;
bottom: Vanessa Lowe, Rick Rodes, Sam Stormont.

Earlier this summer the congregation voted to form the search committee, and we are honored to be chosen to serve in this capacity. 

Dennis Brunn- Dennis has been a member of USG since 1974. He served many years on the Social Action Committee (now Social Justice Council), Share the Plate Committee,  initiatives to insure that USG investments follow socially responsible guidelines, a Board member,  a co-leader of USG’s POWER committee, and was the Statewide Organizer for UUPLAN, now UU Justice PA, from 2011 to 2013.

Carolyn Cotton- Carolyn a long time member of the church, has served on the Board of Trustees twice and as Board President. Currently active on the Buildings & Grounds committee helping to maintain the unique and beautiful facility. Her twin daughters grew up in the church. She is a retired residential realtor. She is an artist/painter.

Lisa Dutton- Lisa has been a member of USG since 2017. She has been active on the Welcoming Committee, Widening the Circle Initiative and as the coordinator for the local BLUU Haven Philly (Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism) meet ups. She is a cancer patient advocate who enjoys skiing, travel, the arts, walking/hiking and dining out.

Emily Joy Goldberg- Emily Joy has been a member of USG since 2004. She sang in the choir as section leader for 13 years, led many Young Adult Small Group Ministries, and has been involved in leading children’s programs with her kids, Willa and Lily. She is a singer-songwriter and school-based speech language pathologist who loves the outdoors.

Vanessa Lowe- Vanessa began visiting USG in 2008 and officially joined in 2016. She coordinated MLK Day welcoming in her early days, ushered before the pandemic, and enjoyed a women’s small group ministry. Most recently she served on the Music Director search, joined the new Investment Committee and shared Money as an 8th Principle Action Tool from the pulpit in 2022.

Rick Rodes- Rick has been a member of USG for 15 years. He has served on a number of committees including Nominating, Adult Spiritual Development, Buildings and Grounds, and for the past 8 years Stewardship for which he is the chair. His favorite church activity has been choir. He and his wife Judy split their time between Ambler, PA and Northern Michigan.

Sam Stormont- Sam says, USG has enriched my life for over 30 years. He has served on the Board of Trustees twice, as Religious Education (now CSD) chair, and as Auction chair and co-chair. He has participated in Small Group Ministry for over 15 years and on the Stewardship committee for the past 2 years.  He also served on the Interim Minister search committee and has been actively involved in a variety of other USG activities, committees and projects over the years.  He says, serving on the Settled Minister search committee provides an opportunity for him to contribute in helping USG to find a leader with the vision and skills to carry forward our UU values.

Please stay tuned for more information on opportunities to share your hopes, concerns, and thoughts, so that we can make the most informed decision for our congregation. To get in touch with the committee, please email


Curious about when we will have a new minister? Interested in the process?

Here are highlights from the timeline that we follow to get us through this journey. The timeline is put in place by the Unitarian Universalist Association so that we are prepared and in sync with the searching ministers.

April-June 2023 – Search team selection process. Completed. We now have a Ministerial Search Committee!

June-August 2023 – Search Team holds retreat to plan and begin the work. Completed. We met on 7/22 and got ourselves organized.

September 2023 – Congregational Survey. Look for an announcement about a google forms survey coming to your inbox. We will also have paper copies for anyone who needs them.

September-November 2023 – “Cottage” meetings/interviews. Members of the Search Committee will meet with various groups in the church to solicit their thoughts, concerns, and hopes.

October or November 2023 – Workshop for the congregation: “Breaking Barriers, Building Beliefs.” This is a new program from the UUA that takes into account the incredible changes that have happened since 2015/2016, the realization that as UUs, we need to grapple with breaking old cultural habits, and rebuild belief in the power of Beloved Community. 

September-December 2023 – Search Committee creates and submits the “documents packet” to the UUA. This is the way we share about USG and the wonderful things it has to offer in order to catch the attention of candidates who would be a good match.

January 2nd, 2024 – Search Team receives the initial list of applicants who are interested. (The process is similar to medical residency “matching.”)

Mid-January 2024 – Search Team conducts virtual interviews with top candidates.

February-March 2024 – Search Team invites a small number of candidates to “pre-candidate.” This means they would meet with the committee in person. 

Early April 2024 – Search Committee announces chosen candidate to congregation. 

There is a lot more work behind the scenes, but this is the general schedule to expect during the process. Thanks for your trust in us as your Ministerial Search Committee!