How We Chose the Rev. Ken Jones as Our New Minister
The Ministerial Search Committee
We are delighted that Ken Jones, who was the unanimous choice of the search committee, will become the new minister at KVUUC! We believe his experience and strengths will be an excellent match for our needs as a congregation. The search committee members were:
- Cindy Coe,
- Lita Malone,
- Carol Ritzenthaler,
- Austin Smith, and
- Liz Smith,
with invaluable help from Jim Schwing, especially during Lita’s travels in May.
Our work began in January, with two main tasks: updating the materials describing our congregation that were used in the ministerial search three years ago and conducting a survey of the congregation to get a sense of our interests and priorities. We also consulted with the regional UU office and Jim Schwing to establish a clear series of steps in our search process.
The job announcement went up on the national UU job webpage, and we began to get inquiries and full applications. Throughout the search process, we were in communication with the Tri-Cities UU congregation, because they were simultaneously searching for a halftime minister. If we had ended up preferring the same candidate, we might have been able to work out a 3/4 time position, compiled from two separate contracts with our congregations.
We eventually conducted phone interviews with a total of four candidates, and after much thoughtful discussion of the merits of those candidates, we scheduled a “neutral pulpit” sermon with Ken Jones in the Tri-Cities in late May. We also had lunch with him that day and spoke more about our congregation and what he would contribute to it. After more careful consideration, we reached consensus on our recommendation, which we presented to the Board in June. They happily agreed with our recommendation and were able to negotiate a contract with Ken.
We have been particularly impressed by Ken’s steady leadership of the Yakima congregation: he has been their halftime minister for the past eight years and will continue to serve in that position. Before that, he was the interim minister for the MidColumbia UU Fellowship in Oregon and worked at the Tacoma UU congregation prior to that. He earned his M.Div. degree from Starr King School for Ministry in 1999.
He is already familiar with the political and social climate of central Washington communities, and he has been significantly involved in community outreach and interfaith efforts in Yakima. He expressed a great deal of enthusiasm for our focus on environmental projects and our relatively new addition of a music director.
In our conversations, Ken’s ability to really listen and respond thoughtfully came through strongly, and he seems ready to figure out with us how best to use his one-quarter time position. Having a minister nearby may allow for more flexible scheduling and for more collaboration with the Yakima congregation. We welcome Ken to KVUUC!