Frequently Asked Questions
This “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) page will help provide answers to many of the questions our members and friends have about the Transition Survey. If you have questions not answered here please contact the Transition Survey team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: Why are we conducting this survey?
Answer: Rev. Dr. Jan Carlsson-Bull is retiring from parish ministry at the end of June. As we prepare for the transition period it is necessary to get a clear picture of the congregation, understand the wants and needs of our members and friends, and find out what you believe is most important as we search for an interim minister, and ultimately a permanent settled minister.
Question: What is an “interim minister” and why do we need one?
Answer: An interim minister is an credentialed Unitarian Universalist minister with special training and experience in helping congregations through the process of saying goodbye to their prior minister and searching for a new permanent settled minister. After a minister leaves a congregation, particularly a minister who has served for many years as has Rev. Jan, it is recommended that the congregation hire an interim to guide us through the process. Additionally, the process for hiring an interim minister is a more streamlined and faster process, allowing the interim to begin serving by late summer following the departure of the current minister. The interim minister is hired by the Board of Trustees and may serve for no longer than 2 years. The search for a permanent settled minister takes much longer as there is a more detailed discernment process involved, and the calling of a settled minister requires the approval of the congregation.
Question: I’m not a member, should I be completing this?
Answer: Yes. If you are involved in the life of this congregation, whether you are a newcomer, someone who has been attending services, adult enrichment, small group ministry, or other church activities and events, we want to hear from you in this survey. One of the questions on the survey asks for your membership status (member, active friend, former member, etc.) and other questions ask how you participate. This helps give us a complete view of how we serve our greater community, both those who have signed the membership book and those who have not.
Question: Why is the survey being conducted anonymously?
Answer: To allow people to answer the questions in complete honesty. Some of the questions in this survey are probing. Some people may have opinions, feedback, or concerns that they believe are unpopular. We need to hear these, and if it were possible for someone to identify who gave a particular answer to a question it could cause reluctance to be completely forthcoming. There are also some questions that help us understand the demographic makeup of our congregation, things like income, gender identity, etc. that are personal in nature and that people might not want to answer if they could be identified.
Question: I understand that we may be sharing an Interim Minister with the Mattatuck UU Society. What’s this about?
Answer: Both UU Meriden and MUUS are entering a ministerial transition at the same time, as their minister, Rev. Linda Hoddy, will be leaving MUUS at the same time as Rev. Jan is ending her time with us. The Board of Trustees of both UU Meriden and MUUS are investigating the possibility of jointly hiring an Interim Minister that will serve both congregations in transition on a 50/50 basis, with both congregations sharing the cost of ministry equally. This will allow us to jointly offer a full time salary to prospective Interim ministers, something neither of our congregations can currently afford on our own. A full time position is likely to be more attractive to a larger pool of candidates that a 3/4 time position, the minimum that qualifies a congregation for a credentialed interim and that would be a struggle for either of our congregations to financially support. The Transition Teams of both congregations, three members from Meriden and three members from MUUS are working jointly with the UUA Transitions Office to investigate this.
Question: Will the results of this survey be shared with the congregation?
Answer: Yes. A statistical analysis of the survey results will be provided to the congregation at the end of the survey. Some of the open text responses may also be provided, although many of these responses will likely be summarized by the Transition Team if they are similar in meaning. Certain comments or feedback may be kept as confidential at the discretion of the Transition Team or the Board of Trustees.
Question: How long does the survey take to complete?
Answer: There are a total of 52 questions in the survey. Most are multiple choice or rating questions and can be answered quickly. A few of the questions ask for written input, but all of these are optional and you can be as brief or as detailed as you wish. Some questions may or may not be presented to you based on your answers to prior questions. (For example, if you have answered that there are no children in your household, we don’t ask the questions involving their grade levels, participation in Religious Education, etc.) In testing we find that it should take the average person about 10 or 15 minutes to complete. If you wish there is an option to save a partially completed survey locked with a password and return at a later time.
Question: What if I don’t find a choice that expresses my views in a multiple-answer question?
Answer: Most of the multiple choice questions have an “other” option if none of the provided questions apply. On those where it is not practical to provide an “other” option please choose the answer that most closely fits for you.
Question: What if I have a question you haven’t answered here?
Answer: Please contact a member the Transition Task Force, or email us at email@example.com . If you wish you may also speak with any member of the Board of Trustees.