Ministerial Search

Progress Report!

FUUSN Members and Friends:

Please note a correction to this report  — our Bylaws state that at least 2/3 of those voting (not 3/4 as previously stated) must vote yes to call the minister. Feel free to send an email to if you have any questions.

Following the practices recommended by the UUA, your Ministerial Search Committee has completed reviewing applications from ministers in search of a post who have applied to be FUUSN’s next settled minister. We’ve had Zoom interviews with the most promising, and in the coming weeks, the top applicants will come to visit in person.

This part of the process remains strictly confidential: these “pre-candidates” may meet with Rev. Parisa if they request it, but no other staff or congregants will even know when they are here. The pre-candidates will not conduct services at FUUSN at this stage, and instead members of the Ministerial Search Committee will observe them leading worship at a different UU congregation.

Once the committee has completed our evaluation, we will deliberate and discern and finally choose the applicant we have concluded offers the best fit for FUUSN now. If that person agrees to go forward with us, they will be presented to the community as our candidate for next settled minister. That is when everyone else gets involved, and we want to be sure we are clear about this time because we want as much participation as possible.

“Candidating Week” is Saturday April 27 through Sunday, May 5. This is a time when congregational leaders, staff, and congregants will be able to spend time with the candidate, who will lead the services on both Sundays. After the first Sunday’s service the Membership Committee will serve a congregational lunch so that everyone will have an opportunity to meet the candidate.

Your search committee will publish a schedule of activities and meetings with various constituencies to help the candidate minister get to know FUUSN and for members of the congregation to get to know the candidate. This extended visit culminates in the congregational vote to call our next settled minister, at a special meeting after service on Sunday, May 5. Some important things to note about this meeting:

  • Note that only FUUSN members may vote. If you are not a member, or are not sure you are a member, please contact Member Services ( as described below. Anyone wishing to become a member must do so in time to be formally accepted by the Board at their March 26 meeting. A person must be a member for 30 days prior to the vote.
  • In accordance with FUUSN’s Bylaws, this special meeting will not be a hybrid meeting, and proxy voting will not be permitted. To participate in the vote, the member must be present in person. We will make every effort to arrange transportation for members with limited mobility so they can attend.
  • The vote is strictly an up or down (yes or no) vote on the candidate. We will have no second choice. Our Bylaws state that at least two-thirds of those voting must vote yes to call the minister; the UUA sets a higher bar at 90% of the vote in favor and goes on to say that some candidates will not accept the call if fewer than 95% of the voting members are in favor of their ministry.

Obviously, your participation is very important, and we want you to understand the process. Please feel free to contact the committee at if you have questions.

Can You Vote for Our Next Minister?

Did you know that you must be an official Member of FUUSN for at least 30 days prior to the vote to have your vote count?  Here are some steps to take to ensure that your vote is counted:

  • Confirm that you are actually a Member (You are not able to see your own status in Realm)
  • Members with current email addresses in Realm have received confirmation that they are a member via email. If you did not receive that email by February 7, 2024:
    • Check your status at the Realm table during Coffee hour
    • Send an email to Dan Stoll, and he will look it up for you
  • NOTE: Member Services has a team of people contacting Friends (non-members who pledge to FUUSN) to inform them of the membership requirement and that they are not Members.
  • Apply by March 15 so we can get your application to the Board in time for their monthly meeting on March 26 to ensure you can vote in the special meeting in the spring.

Questions? Contact

Our Ministerial Search Committee

FUUSN's Ministerial Search Committee, a group of seven adults, three seated and four standing behind them on a porch with trees in the background.

About the Ministerial Search: In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, ministers are selected and called by popular vote of the congregation. The ministerial search committee is a group of trusted lay leaders who collectively represent the congregation. They prepare the materials that candidates will see about the congregation’s history, practices, vision and hopes for the next minister. They solicit and evaluate candidates in a process that takes several months, on the timeline of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s settlement process.

If you are a member of FUUSN looking for updates on the process, you’re in the right place! For details about key benchmarks in the process, click here. Please keep checking back for further news and updates.

If you are considering applying to be FUUSN’s next settled minister, please look for us on the Ministry Search Jobs Board.

Email the Ministerial Search Committee.

Ministerial Search Committee

Barbara Bates (she/her)

Barbara Bates (she/her)

I am a born-again UU who left her parents’ very secular UU congregation as a teen. In 1986, I returned to UUism, and FUUSN became the home where I could find community with interesting and caring people as well as develop my spirituality and leadership skills. I love that FUUSN supports personal growth in so many ways – spiritual, personal, communal – and that it encourages work towards social justice.

I have served FUUSN in many capacities including Trustee, Board chair, member of a past ministerial search committee, member of committees (e.g., Adult RE, delegate to UUA General Assembly, delegate to the UU Urban Ministry, Nominating Committee), RE teacher, mentor in COA, and Youth Group Advisor. I have served the denomination as president of the Mass Bay District, faculty at UU University, faculty at the New England Leadership School (a weeklong UU lay leadership school), and organizational effectiveness & leadership consultant to UU congregations.

I have retired from “work” many times: from high tech in 1999, from consulting to UU congregations in 2009, teaching negotiation & dispute resolution at Northeastern University in 2012, and being a teacher naturalist at Mass Audubon in 2022. I currently serve as a board member of Newton Conservators, a land trust working to preserve open space for people and nature. I enjoy deep conversations, singing in the JourneySongs hospice choir, SCUBA diving on Cape Ann, walking/exploring in nature, reading, cooking, and afternoon naps.

I am drawn to this ministerial search effort as a personally meaningful way to serve FUUSN and assure its long-term vitality for future generations of seekers.

Eric Haas (he/him)

Eric Haas (he/him)

I first started coming to FUUSN around 2008, after reading an article in the Newton Tab a few years earlier about the current minister who was a practicing Buddhist. By the time I got around to wandering in to a service, that person had moved on, an Interim was in the pulpit, and a Minister Search was just getting under way.

At first I was disappointed, but I found I liked the music and the messages from the Interim Minister. So I kept coming. After a time I volunteered to help with the annual Christmas tree sale. I became involved more deeply, especially after attending my first retreat at Sandy Island. I ended up managing the Tree sale, led volunteer trips to the Greater Boston Food Bank, and taught RE. I have had the privilege of serving on both FUUSN’s Operations Council and its Board of Trustees. Joining the choir and singing regularly in worship has been my greatest joy, and the one other FUUSN activity that I’ve not stepped away from to be part of this present undertaking.

I am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee and am committed to listening to all of the varied voices in our congregation. When not volunteering for FUUSN, I work as a physician assistant and enjoy cycling, playing the banjo, and spending time with my son Will.

Julia Huston (she/her)

Julia Huston (she/her)

I joined FUUSN in 2013, when my daughter was in preschool. I have been an active member of the Nominating Committee, Annual Budget Drive Committee, Member Services Committee, Social Action Committee, FUUSN’s delegation to General Assembly, and the Care Crew. I have particularly enjoyed helping launch new projects at FUUSN, such as Alternative Coffee Hour and the UU Plant-Based Eating Club, and building relationships at our annual retreats to Sandy Island and Ferry Beach. I love FUUSN because it allows me to work on issues that are important to me, such as racial and environmental justice, through a spiritual lens in community with other strong-willed people. As a member of the Search Committee, I am committed to making sure that all of the voices in our community are heard and valued. When not working on FUUSN matters, I consult with non-profit organizations regarding governance issues, volunteer for a variety of social justice causes, and enjoy cooking, family time, and travel.
Melissa Kogut (she/her)

Melissa Kogut (she/her)

I came to FUUSN almost six years ago – initially to support my partner who is active in the music program.  I have fond memories of being part of a Unitarian Church as a child in southern California so it was a joy to find FUUSN! My involvement has included participation in a Chalice Circle, a White Fragility book group, and retreats at Ferry Beach and Sandy Island. In recent years, I have consciously stepped up my involvement – taking the Pledge Against Racism, serving as a mentor for Coming of Age, and serving on the Nominating Committee. What I value the most about FUUSN is the community of people I have found who think deeply about our relationship and responsibilities to one another and the greater community.  I am honored to serve on the Ministerial Search Committee and will work hard to engage and represent our congregation well. Outside of FUUSN, I serve as Vice President of Development at Riverside Community Care and enjoy cooking, hiking, and game nights with friends.

Eric Moore (he/him)

Eric Moore (he/him)

I joined FUUSN with my wife, Julia Wolfe, in the early 2010s because the Coming of Age (COA) program seemed like a great opportunity for our kids to learn about themselves and the world around them. I really enjoy working on Youth projects at FUUSN, and I have been a co-coordinator for the COA for the past 4 years. I’ve also volunteered with the Youth CoffeeHouse, and been a mentor for COA. I was happy to be selected for the Settled Minister Search committee because I want to help ensure that FUUSN continues to be the organization it needs to be to meet the needs of future FUUSN members. I work in the Biotech industry, and I enjoy playing music with my 80s rock band, and telling stories when I get a chance.

Erin O’Donnell (she/her)

Erin O’Donnell (she/her)

I am honored to serve on the FUUSN Settled Minister Search Committee.  My husband and I started attending FUUSN in 2010 as we were planning to start our family and sought a family-friendly community to provide a base of connection and spiritual practice.  I deepened my FUUSN experience by teaching various ages of religious education, volunteering with retreats, co-chairing the search committee for an Assistant Director of Religious Life Education, and serving for many years as a Lay Minister.  FUUSN holds a special place in our family where it widens our community, exposes each of us to different ideas and perspectives, and encourages service and involvement.  It’s been a joy watching my kids build friendships with children and adults within our FUUSN community.  I agreed to serve on this search committee to engage in the deep conversations needed to learn more about who FUUSN is now and who we hope to be AND how we see the Settled Minister’s role in serving those needs and aspirations.  When not at FUUSN, I’m a Clinical Psychologist, wife and mother of two boys. I enjoy camping, travel and gardening.

Cindy Orrell (she/her)

Cindy Orrell (she/her)

I first came to FUUSN in 2000. I was newly separated and looking for a community where I could rebuild my life with my young daughters. I stayed because I found a community that cares for one another and also pushes me to practice kindness, acceptance, and civic engagement. I so appreciate the opportunities–whether during worship services, small group meetings, or retreats at Sandy Island–to engage in deep conversations about topics that matter to me and to the larger world. I am serving on the Ministerial Search Committee because I recognize how important a minister can be in creating and sustaining this kind of community. Over the years, I have been an RE teacher, Coming of Age coordinator and mentor, Chalice Circle facilitator, lay minister, and most recently coordinator for the Artisan Crafts table of the Holiday Fair. I enjoy travel, any type of boating, cooking, movies, and hanging out with my wife, children, and granddaughter.