The Rev. Joel Miller served our congregation as interim minister from August 2011 through June 2013. He brought to us a rich array of gifts:
• As an administrator: management skills that improved staff relations and function and helped the church progress toward governing itself appropriately as a mid- to large-size congregation;
• As a leader of worship and ministry: a winged mind, an open heart, a rare degree of candor, a spirit of deep wisdom, and integrity like granite. He will be a blessing wherever he serves. Rev. Joel’s strong leadership during his time with us uplifted and transformed the life of our congregation in major ways. He competently and unapologetically made changes where he saw they were needed.
One task the Board of Trustees asked Rev. Joel to take on was management of staff. Because of a history of mismanagement related to personnel issues, there was serious mistrust of the Board of Trustees on the part of staff. After several months with Rev. Joel as head of staff, staff members were functioning more effectively, they were pleased to be serving the congregation, their relationship with the Board was much improved, and they were much clearer about the terms of their employment.
Board of Trustees
As secretary of the Board at the time, I observed an equally satisfying improvement in the functioning of the Board. With Rev. Joel’s guidance, we began to grow out of micromanagement, in which mode we used to spend many hours of valuable meeting time in rambling discussions of matters that should have been handled in committees or by staff. We made much progress toward understanding a board’s rightful role in congregational governance in a mid-size to large church. These changes were not easy, and Rev. Joel was admirably patient with us while we learned.
As a congregant, I had never experienced worship services so inspiring, so moving, so challenging, so full of laughter as those with Rev. Joel in the pulpit. Having learned much from Rev. Joel, I am humbly proud to be a Unitarian Universalist, and happy to tell everyone I know about this wonderful faith, one to which, at long last, I can say “yes!” And he showed us how much we love each other.
One alert: He will become enthusiastically and appropriately involved in every aspect of congregational life. You’ll have to watch him to see that he doesn’t overwork.
(Additional references available on request)
Rev. Joel Miller