In congregations, the moments of transition of key leaders like ministers, religious educators and musicians, are filled with both possibility and anxiety. Whether it is a planned departure through the minister moving to another congregation or retiring, or an unanticipated one through death, illness or negotiated termination, the big questions are always: "What happens next?" The answer to that question will vary for each congregation, but the good news is that you don't have to sort out the answers by yourself.

Rev Lisa PresleyThe MidAmerica staff is here to help. Lisa Presley, our Transitions Coordinator, coordinates our work on this. She is here to help you walk through the steps and connect you with the other members of our team and various resources you'll need. Depending on the position (minister, religious educator, musician; interim, contract, acting, settled, developmental) and the proportion (full-time, part-time, pulpit supply, etc.), the steps and partners will be different. But we'll help you figure out how to partner with the Transitions Office in Boston, the more local Ministerial Settlement Representatives, the Compensation Consultants, and other resources. For all full-time settled ministerial endings, we'll meet with your Board to do a transition interview, and then, when your next minister is in place, we'll do a start-up seminar to help you start things off on the best foot.For religious educators, we'll offer similar services, while with administrative staff and musicians, we'll help you connect with resources to define the positions and advertise your openings. All the way along, we're here to help answer your questions, and direct you to available resources.

Developmental ministry is an opportunity for congregations, once they have completed interim ministry, to delve deeper into areas of congregational life that require specific attention, or cultural shifts, prior to the calling of a settled minister. Developmental congregations recognize that they have specific areas that they need to improve, and that they want a specialist to help them do that. Congregations will need to apply to be accepted into the program, and will be required to pay a fee to help offset the costs of additional staff work with their congregation. It is not an alternative to search or interim, but something to follow after that work.

For congregations in search for a three-quarter-time or more minister through the UUA system, one of the resources is available to you is a Ministerial Settlement Representative who will accompany your search committee along the journey. The appointment of an MSR for your congregation is made by the UUA Transitions Office, but in case you need the contact information for those serving MidAmerica, we list it here.


Former Central Midwest District Congregations:
-          Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher, [email protected]


Former Heartland District Congregations:

-          Rev. Barbara Child, [email protected]


Former Prairie Star District Congregations:
-           Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs, [email protected]

The change of ministers in and out of a congregation is a time where lots of things are in motion, with lots of questions being asked, and lots of uncertainty in the air. As a minister, deciding when it’s right to leave and how best to do that; as a congregation, sorting out what are the next steps, and how do we say goodbye and move forward. It’s a time when everything can appear up for grabs, and most congregations and ministers are looking for support and answers.

Don’t worry — you’re not alone, and we’re here to help you. The MidAmerica Region has created and collated resources for you. Lisa Presley is the MA staff person who oversees the ministerial transitions for MidAmerica, and she works in tandem with Keith Kron, the Director of Transitions for the UUA. Keith is also helped by several Ministerial Settlement Representatives—trained individuals who partner with your search committee on the road of ministerial succession. The resources on this page, and on the UUA Transitions page, will help you know how to start, and we’re always ready to answer specific questions for you, too. The answers are often a variation on common themes—the “usual” knowledge which might then need to be tweaked a bit for your congregation’s culture, and your unique situation.


Need information about Compensation and Benefits for your minister and/or church employees? Go to  Meet Your Compensation Consultants

Look to the column on the right: you will find links to short (2-5 minute long) videos that answer many of the basic questions about ministerial transition. Below that listing are links to other sites and the most useful documents.

Get your new employees off to a healthy, happy start every time! Learn about formal administrative onboarding (the legal hoops) and proven practices for welcoming and orienting staff. We’ll also share resources and preliminary steps for establishing strong ongoing staff support through professional development, performance management, and team-building. Presented by Jan Gartner and Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley

Participants: Jan Gartner, Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley

Filmed: June 23rd, 2016 in Columbus, OH

Watch the Video

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We have created 30 videos that cover specific aspects of ministerial transition. They are grouped in several interest areas below, and feel free to browse them all.

These videos were created by: Keith Kron, Transitions Director for the UUA; Kenn Hurto, Regional Lead, Southern Region; Lisa Presley, Transitions Coordinator, MidAmerica Region; and Joan Van Becelaere, Regional Lead, Central East Regional Group.

Overview and Ministerial Departure:
  • Ministerial Transition Introduction - VIEW
  • How Does the Minister Know When to Leave - VIEW
  • More Thoughts on When to Leave - VIEW
  • Ministers: When and How Do You Tell Them You’re Leaving? - VIEW
  • Saying Goodbye, Well - VIEW
  • Emotions Around Terminations - VIEW
Negotiated Terminations: When the Ministry Doesn’t End Well. Occasionally a ministry ends in conflict. If you think you’re headed this way, be in touch with your regional staff for more particulars.
  • What is a Good Officer? - VIEW
  • Severance - VIEW
  • Next Steps for the Congregation Following a Negotiated Resignation - VIEW
  • Negotiated Resignations: What’s Next for the Minister? - VIEW
Next Steps for the Congregation, and the Interim Process
  • Don’t Rush the Process of Search - VIEW
  • Making Yourself Attractive to an Interim Minister - VIEW
  • The Interim Process: What if No Minister Wants to Come - VIEW
The Search Committee: Creation and Process
  • When to Select the Search Committee - VIEW
  • How to Select the Search Committee - VIEW
  • The Search Committee Start Up Retreat - VIEW
  • Group Process in the Search Committee - VIEW
  • Conflict in the Search Committee - VIEW
Search Committee Tasks
  • How to Make Yourself Attractive to a Ministerial Candidate - VIEW
  • How to Sort the Ministerial List - VIEW
  • How to Decide on your Pre-Candidates and Candidate - VIEW
  • When the Search Committee Can’t Decide - VIEW
  • Crafting the Letter of Agreement - VIEW
  • Fair Compensation - VIEW
  • Offering the Position to Your Candidate - VIEW
  • Offer Day: What if No one Wants to be Your Minister? - VIEW
  • What Percentage is Needed for the Call? - VIEW
  • Candidating Week: When Things Go Badly - VIEW
  • What Happens if the Congregation Refuses the Candidate? - VIEW
  • What if Your Candidate Says No? - VIEW
Part-Time Ministerial Search
  • How to do a Part-Time Ministry Search - VIEW
Other Resources:
  • UUA Ministerial Transitions Website This site includes links to information on Interim Ministry, the Settlement Handbook, benefits and compensation (including a compensation calculator), part-time ministry, recommendations concerning screening of ministers and all staff and other safety issues.