Introducing our Candidate for Senior Minister:
The Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy
April 5, 2017
Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,
The Ministerial Search Committee is thrilled to introduce our candidate for Senior Minister: Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy! We have been talking and emailing with her for three months. We’ve spent a three-day weekend with her, watched her leading services, heard her preach, and spent hours interviewing her. Rev. Christina’s talents and responses to our concerns make us confident that she is a great fit for us.
The search process is long, deliberate, intentional and intense. With your input, we assembled a good description of our wants, needs, and what we have to offer. Seventeen ministers expressed interest after reading our materials. All looked wonderful, but we picked eight whom we thought best suited for video conference interviews. We invited three of these to Wisconsin, each on a separate weekend, with interviews, tours, meeting Leah, and preaching in a neutral pulpit with our committee in attendance. All three were terrific ministers with much to offer, but in our final discernment, Rev. Christina was our clear choice as the best fit for our Fellowship. We are fortunate to have been her choice as well. She shares our values and concerns, is a good fit theologically, and has skills we need.
Rev. Leah shares the following:
“Rev. Christina is a person of many gifts, ranging from deep and varied ministerial skills to an authentic and enthusiastic spirit! I look forward to learning from and with her on the ministry team as together we serve the Fellowship. Grateful thanks to the search committee for doing a fantastic job–and a hearty welcome to Rev. Christina!”
Rev. Christina has been the Faith Development Minister at the UU Church of Annapolis since 2011. She has her Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard and a Master’s in Psychology from the University of Memphis. She and her husband Brian have a one year old son and two dogs.
Please feel free to talk to any of the Search Committee members about Rev. Christina or our process. We will hold listening sessions after services on April 9, so drop in if you want to discuss more. Everyone will have opportunities to meet our candidate during Candidating Week, when she will preach on two consecutive weekends and attend a number of events.
Please take an opportunity to get to know her, because on May 7, we will vote on calling her at a congregational meeting. We’ll need a quorum of the Fellowship at that meeting, and a positive vote of 90% or better. You are all an important part of this decision, and our committee believes you will be excited by the possibilities Rev. Christina will bring as our new Senior Minister.
Yours in faith and peace,
Ministerial Search Committee
Terry Dawson Theresa Hannah David Powling Lauren Thompson
Dave Wallace Tim Watson Marti Wheeler
To the Good People of the Fox Valley UU Fellowship,
After what has been a long process for both your search committee, and me, I am so grateful to be finally writing this letter to you!
First, a little about me… I’m currently serving as the Faith Development Minister at the UU Church of Annapolis, Maryland. I regularly preach, offer pastoral care, perform rites of passage, and participate in the “business” and Administrative aspects of ministry. However, my primary portfolio is currently “faith development” for all ages– children, youth, adults, and elders. I have a passion for creating truly multi-generational communities where people in all ages and stages of life, from very young to very old and everyone in-between, are honored and actively integrated into the life of the community. I came to Unitarian Universalism by accident in college (a story I will surely share!) and I have been a proud and fervent UU Evangelist ever since. I will share my free-thinking, wonder-filled, radically welcoming, and justice-making faith with all who will listen! I hope to bring this energy and deep grounding in our faith to share with you at the Fellowship. I also believe that our faith is useless unless it helps us to transform ourselves and our world in ways that increase peace and justice. I’m particularly committed to racial justice, and was very attracted by the stance you have taken in proclaiming that Black Lives Matter. I know you have a history of working for racial justice, and I hope we can continue that work together. One of my justice commitments in Annapolis has been to help lead emotional-awareness programs at the state men’s prison. Prison reform and justice reform have become areas that I see as urgently in need of attention, and I love extending my hands and heart to those who society has dismissed.
I am married to my wonderful partner, Brian, who has ably “held down the fort” while I’ve been traveling through this search process. His large extended family is mostly centralized around Chicago, so we were aiming to get a reasonable driving distance from them. My family is scattered throughout the country, but my parents, brother, and his wife and kids live in Texas, where I grew up. Brian works as a nonprofit fundraising and development specialist, and he would love to talk with any of you with nonprofit connections when we visit. Brian and I have a son, Nevan, who we adopted when he was five days old. He is now 15 months old, walking, getting into everything, and on the verge of talking but clearly making his needs known without words! He is the light of our lives, and we hope to expand our family eventually to include a sibling or two for Nevan. Brian and I both identify as white, and Nevan is biracial (black and white) which makes my fight for racial justice *that much* more personal and urgent. We also have two dogs — Rudie, a big German Shepherd mutt, and Zoe, a tiny elderly chihuahua dachshund mutt. They’re pretty great, too.
When I read through the materials about the Fellowship that your Search Committee provided, I was struck by several things: 1) Your steady and relatively fast growth in membership, 2) Your commitment to growth and welcome while still retaining your identity as a Fellowship, 3) The strategic challenges you face with courage (such as your budget issues, staffing needs, and governance change), and 4) Your warmth and spirit of fun that shines through. These were all so attractive to me. When I visited and met for a weekend with your Search Committee, they continued to impress me with these truths about the Fellowship, and their organization, kindness, and fun spirit were such a joy. I look forward to the possibility of serving as your Senior Minister (pending the vote on May 7, please be there!) because I want to be a part of a vibrant, growing, radically welcoming community. I want to use my skills and gifts to continue the work you already do, of strengthening your foundations so that you might live more fully into your vision. And I want to be a part of a community, and have my family participate in a community, where our UU values are celebrated and we have fun together! I won’t presume to say that the future would be without any challenges. But, should we embark on this journey together, I believe we could be good partners in ministry to each other and to the wider Fox Valley. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your hopes for the future of the Fellowship.
Blessings, and see you soon!
A few of Rev. Christina’s past sermons
Candidating Week Calendar
Special Meeting Letter and Agenda