Senior Minister Transition

Senior Minister Transition LOGO_final


During the 2014–2015 year, our Fellowship said goodbye to a much beloved, long time minister, the Reverend Roger Bertschausen. From fall 2015 – July 2016, the Fellowship asked a co-ministry team, the Reverends Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz, who were also serving the West Shore UU Church in Cleveland, Ohio to serve 2/3 time here in Appleton.

In June of 2016, Revs. Arnason and Rolenz completed their co-ministry in Cleveland after 16 years because of Rev. Wayne’s desire to retire. Reverend Kathleen will be serving as full-time Interim Senior Minister for the Fellowship this year, helping us prepare for our next Senior Settled Minister, who will work alongside Associate Minister, the Reverend Leah Hart-Landsberg.

Why not just call Rev. Kathleen Rolenz as our next minister?

Both the Fellowship and Rev. Kathleen decided in December 2015 that it was best for the Fellowship to have the full benefit of transitional ministry, which is different than when a person is vying for the position as an inside candidate.

There are five fundamental tasks of Transitional Ministry: (1) History (2) exploring identity and direction (3) making leadership and operational changes (4) renewing denominational connections (5) commit to new leadership and new direction. Those tasks are best done by a Transitional Minister who is not also hoping to become a candidate for settled ministry.

What about Rev. Leah Hart‑Landsberg? What is her role in this transition?

Leah continues to serve joyfully and is committed to her role as your Associate Minister. When Roger announced his departure, Leah was clear that she did not feel called to serve as the Senior Minister. She expects to remain at the Fellowship throughout the interim period—and, hopefully, beyond! Leah’s areas still include pastoral care, so she is the point person for anyone seeking counsel, comfort or a listening ear. She also continues to serve on the Executive Team so can also be approached with anything related to governance and leadership at the Fellowship.

How will the search be conducted?

Through a membership vote and board appointment the Fellowship selected seven members for the Senior Minister Search Committee. Members of the committee are:  Terry Dawson, chair; Marti Wheeler, Dave Wallace, Lauren Thompson, Tim Watson, Theresa Hannah and David Powling.

A summary of the committee tasks June, 2016 – May, 2017 is available here.

Part of the committee’s work included a survey of information about our congregation.  An explanation is here and results of that survey are available here.


Who do I talk to if I have questions or concerns?

  • Terry Dawson, Search Committee Chair,
  • Kathleen Rolenz,
  • Leah Hart-Landsberg,
  • Governing Board President Heather Urness, 920-809-7977
  • Congregational Life Coordinator Marie Luna,