Ministerial Search Committee

On May 31, 2020, the congregation voted to approve the members of the Ministerial Search Committee tasked with identifying candidates for our next settled minister. This board-appointed committee will begin their work in June 2020. More information about the committee members and their work will be updated on this page.

Search Committee Update: September 2020

The congregational survey will go out on Thursday, September 10, to all members of our FUS community.  We hope you will take time to complete it as soon as you get it and share your thoughts, feelings, and hopes with us. We need it back by September 25.  A paper copy will be mailed to those without an email on file with FUS.

In October, we will hold focus group meetings (for various smaller groups within our community) and cottage group meetings (for interested individuals within our community). In November, the Search Team will take the information gathered from the survey and the meetings along with other documents describing FUS and create our Congregational Record.  This document provides a profile of our congregation that will be made available to ministerial candidates. This will get posted to the UUA’s Transitions website. On January 1, prospective ministerial candidates can begin looking at this congregational record. We can begin looking at their resumes. Preliminary interviews will take place in January and February. Your search team will invite three candidates for in-depth interviews in February and March. Then there will be a candidating week, probably in April. If all goes well, we will be ready to present a candidate to the congregation in late April or early May. These times are tentative as we don’t know how much, if any of this, can happen in person.

Your search team is excited and optimistic about this process. We hope you share our excitement. We hope you will take advantage of all opportunities available to engage with us and let us know how you feel, what you think, and your vision for our future.

Your Ministerial Search Team: Joy, Emily S., Jeanne, Emily P. Chuck, Sandy, and Dorit

Search Committee Update: June 2020

The Search Committee’s focus this month is reviewing background information about the search process and the UUA’s Settlement Handbook, getting ourselves organized as a committee, and reaching out to the UUA Transitions Office for information and guidance about how to best approach our search during these virtual times.

Meet Your Search Committee Members

Dorit Bergen

Dorit Bergen has been an active member of FUS since 1978. Though it was the choir that originally brought her to FUS, she’s since engaged with a wide array of FUS programming and teams. She was a member of Quest 3 and is one of the two coordinators for the Shawl Ministry. She is currently active in the Dane Sanctuary Coalition, Lay Ministry, “Knot Just For Knitters”, and the Salvation Army Volunteer Team. Dorit is a founding member of the Stewardship Ministry Team. She has also proudly served on the Board of Trustees for the last four years. Outside of FUS she’s serving on the MidAmerica Region Board and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of an area nonprofit. Prior to her retirement, Dorit had a long and rewarding career as a Madison teacher.

Emily Cusic Putnam

Emily Cusic Putnam has been a member of FUS for 15 years, during which she has served on the Board of Trustees, the Transition Team, as an active member of the Foodhaulers, and an elder and teacher for the CRE program. She holds an MSSW and 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. Emily’s days are filled volunteering at her son’s school and with the PTO in various projects; making glorious messes in the kitchen (which her husband dutifully cleans up with hardly any grumbling), and staying active with long walks, shorter bike rides and yoga. Her life is enriched by her connection with the engaging individuals of the FUS community and its many opportunities for spiritual exploration and deepening. She believes in the power of a team coming together in service to apply their unique talents for the purpose of strengthening community.

Sandy Eskrich

Sandy Eskrich has been a member of FUS since 1993 when her family moved from the Bloomington, IL Unitarian Church, in which they were active members. She’s taught multiple RE classes, served on the Board of Trustees for 7 years including serving as President of the Board during the governance revision process, the building of the Atrium Auditorium and the economic crash of 2008-9. She is retiring from Public Education (middle school principal) in June and has expressly said she will deny making any commitments for the first 6 months, with the exception of being useful to FUS in a role such as this.

Chuck Evenson

Chuck Evenson became an FUS member in 2013. He has served on the FUS Finance Committee the last three years. He was a member of the most recent Capital Campaign committee. He is chair of the Grounds subcommittee of the recently formed FUS Sustainability Committee and has been leader of the Guardians of the Grounds group since 2015. He feels involvement is the key to getting the most out of being an FUS member. He is honored to be nominated to the Ministerial Search Committee and sees being part of it as an opportunity to be involved in determining FUS’s future at what he considers a critical time in the congregation’s existence.

Jeanne Sears

Jeanne Sears has been active at FUS for over twenty years, as both a member and staff member, and has experienced the many ways we serve our spiritual community. Before joining FUS, Jeanne was a teacher, children’s librarian, and served for many years in a variety of roles as a professional Girl Scout executive. Her passion lies in working with others of different backgrounds and philosophies. She began as a family member involved in teaching her daughter’s RE class and later became the Membership Coordinator. Since her retirement, she has been involved as a Journey Circle facilitator and a Spiritual Development Ministry Team member. She’s found her involvement in Beloved Conversations, exploring racial bias and inclusivity, a growth experience full of insights. She believes FUS has an amazing opportunity ahead to continue our rich tradition of caring and compassion, developing our individual spirit, and looking ahead to the challenges and needs of the future.

Emily Smith

Emily Smith has been a member of FUS since 2017 and a UU since the age of two. She watched her childhood congregation go through two different searches for settled ministers. Around FUS, she’s been a member of the 20s/30s group for five years and co-facilitator of that group this last year. She’s also taught RE for three years and sung in the Meeting House Chorus for two years. Professionally, she’s worked as a project manager for more than four years. She is excited to have been nominated for the search committee and sees it as an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the FUS community while helping the congregation look forward towards who we want to become.

Joy Stieglitz Gottschalk

Joy Stieglitz Gottschalk has attended FUS for over twenty-five years, becoming a member in 2005. Joy’s FUS niche is the Children’s RE Program, teaching nearly every course–several favorites multiple times. She writes, “Teaching RE has enriched my life in innumerable ways: touching young peoples’ lives, developing lifelong friendships with co-teachers, and expanding my spiritual practice as we explored the material.” Joy is the Executive Director of Out Health, Inc. whose mission is to reduce health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community through health care services and educational outreach. Prior to Out Health, Joy’s 25+ year professional planning career at Vandewalle & Associates focused on redeveloping contaminated brownfields in challenged communities. Her volunteer service includes the Gathering Waters Conservancy and Madison Unicyclists boards, 15 years on a Governor-appointed policy think tank, and dozens of MMSD classrooms and advisory committees. Joy and her husband Rob are raising three inspiring kids. She enjoys hiking, yoga, and tackling new unexplored projects.