Latest News from the Ministerial Search Committee
Wow!! After an amazing candidating week, Westside voted unanimously to call the Rev. Shari Woodbury as its new settled minister. Shari has accepted the call! She and her wonderful family, husband, William, and daughter, Avonelle, will join us later this summer.
Ministerial Transition Archive Information
Introducing ... Our Ministerial Candidate
Westsiders, last May, you elected this Ministerial Search Committee to seek a new settled minister for Westside. After a truly rewarding experience, we are pleased to present to you our first-choice candidate, the Rev. Shari Woodbury from Bloomington, Indiana.
Shari brings with her an impressive resumé. She has a master’s degree in sociology as well as a divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, where she received awards for scholarship and leadership.
Shari’s passions include vibrant Sunday services, adult religious exploration, and inter-generational community and social justice work. She has served as a chaplain, campus minister and membership director. A lay leader in racial justice and peace work for her home church, Shari embraces not only protest, but also what she calls (after Gandhi) "Constructive Program" – creating new forms of social organization and ways of living that reflect our highest values.
Theologically, Shari left her childhood Methodism and embraces the UU emphasis on “deeds, not creeds.” She delights in the diversity of our tradition. In her candidate materials, Shari wrote, “I accept the labels eclectic, mystic, poet, religious naturalist, lover of life. … In worship, I tend to use poetic imagery and shy away from God-language, which opens up some people and closes off others."
One of Shari’s greatest strengths is her years of experience as an executive director for nonprofit organizations. These skills have proven to be excellent preparation for leadership in ministry, including strategic planning, working with volunteers and fundraising.
Shari’s personal interests include singing, meditation and writing poetry. She and her husband, William Reliford, are the parents of six-year-old Avonelle. William is a visual effects artist who relishes Humanist discussion groups. They enjoy hiking, camping, biking, arts and culture, and are avid Star Trek fans.
You will learn more about Shari during Candidating Week, April 24-May 1. One of her references, UU music director Sue Swaney, sums it up well, saying: “I have worked with many ministers, staff members, and lay leaders. Shari brings a unique combination of leadership skills and spiritual maturity that put her in line to be among the best of the best. I recommend her whole-heartedly.”
We are confident Shari is a great fit for Westside – a minister who will build sustainable relationships and bring enduring energy to this beloved community. We are honored to present Shari Woodbury to you as our ministerial candidate.
View Reverend Shari Woodbury's Video Introduction
View Reverend Shari Woodbury's Ministerial Search Web Page
-- MSC website completed.
-- Congregational Record completed. Digital copies available from the MSC.
-- Compensation package completed by church negotiating team, approved by board.
December and January
-- MSC conducts practice interviews.
-- Interested candidates submit their ministerial record to MSC.
-- MSC reviews ministerial records to narrow the field.
-- MSC interviews candidates via Skype or phone.
February and March
-- MSC invites candidates to Fort Worth for "pre-candidate" weekends. Only one candidate will come per weekend. Members of the congregation are not allowed to know anything about the candidates.
-- MSC travels to hear candidates give a reflection at a “neutral pulpit.”
April and May
-- MSC selects a finalist (if possible).
-- Negotiating Team works with the finalist on terms of the contract.
-- Finalist decides whether to accept the call.
-- April 24-May 1: Candidate Week. The finalist and his or her family will visit Westside to give reflections on two Sundays, explore the area and socialize with the congregation.
-- After the second Sunday service, the congregation votes on whether to call the minister.
-- If the vote is not strong enough, the finalist may decline the call.
August or September: New minister arrives!
Frequently Asked Questions
How many candidates are there? What can you tell us about them?
Unfortunately, MSC members cannot provide any information about candidates. For example, even to say, “we have some strong candidates” is not appropriate.
What happens if the committee does not find a candidate they believe is strong enough to bring forward for a vote?
If the committee cannot settle on a finalist, the board and others would meet to discuss next steps. This might include starting another search for a settled minister or seeking an interim or developmental minister.
How strong does the vote need to be?
Our bylaws state that four-fifths (80 percent) of the voting members present must vote in favor of the finalist.
Why would a candidate decline a call?
To accept a call, some ministers may want a stronger vote, perhaps 90 or 95 percent or voting members present.
What happens if the congregational vote is not strong enough, or the finalist declines the call?
In either case, the board and others would again meet to determine the next steps.
Ministerial Search Committee Updates
Letters From Westside Board
- Letter to Congregation 8/12/2013
- Contract Minister Announcement 2/23/2014
- Interim Minister Announcement 5/15/2014
Interim Process Meetings
Town Hall Meetings
- Town Hall Meeting 9/4/2013
- Town Hall Meeting 10/2/2013
- Town Hall Meeting 11/6/2013
- Town Hall Meeting 2/5/2014
- Town Hall Meeting 6/4/2014
- Newsletter Article 10/13
- Newsletter Article 11/13
- Newsletter Article 12/13
- Newsletter Article 01/14
- Newsletter Article 02/14
- Newsletter Article 03/14
- Newsletter Article 04/14
- Newsletter Article 05/14
- Newsletter Article 06/14
Upcoming Transition Events
Past Transition Events
- Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 – Town Hall Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Sunday, September 8th, 2013 – Special Congregational Meeting...11:10 am – 11:20 am
- Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 – Come & Go Reception to honor the Elleven’s...2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
- Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 – Town Hall Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Sunday, October 27th, 2013 – Russell’s Final Reflection
- Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 – Town Hall Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 – Town Hall Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 – Town Hall Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Friday, September 5th, 2014 - Interim Process Start-up Meeting...7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
- Saturday, September 6th, 2014 - Interim Process Start-up Meeting…10:00 am - 2:00 pm
- Sunday, February 1st, 2015 - Settled Ministry Q & A Session
Westside UU Church
901 Page Avenue
Fort Worth, Texas 76110