A Message from Your Search Committee
The UUCC Ministerial Search Committee is pleased and excited to report that we have unanimously and enthusiastically advanced the candidacy of Rev. Randy Partain to become UUCC’s first Called Minister by making him an offer to candidate for that position during the week of May 29-June 6th.
We met Rev. Partain in the second round of the UUA search process. He is most assuredly not a second-place candidate. Indeed, he was far and away the strongest candidate of the entire group we considered and interviewed. He quickly distinguished himself and emerged as our number one match. We believe he has the capacity to bring us together in a collaborative way and to lead us with candor, courage, and creativity.
Reverend Randy Partain graduated from Florida Southern College in 1995, where he met his wife, Joy. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University in 2005. From 2001-2007, Reverend Partain served as an adjunct professor of music at Sam Houston State University and he led music and performance programs in various Christian churches in Florida and Texas from 1990-2010.
Reverend Partain is a Member of Allies for Racial Equity, Humanists Association, Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and has served his community by taking on a number of service and leadership roles and responsibilities:
- Humanist Celebrant/Spiritual Director,
- Co-Creator,and leader of Sacred Vocations Retreats for VITAS Healthcare hospice nurses,
- Tutor, GED Program at AVANCE, Houston, TX (2012–2015)
- Speakers Bureau Volunteer, United Against Human Trafficking, Houston, TX, (2013–2015)
Reverend Partain’s spiritual beliefs and desires evolved over time. As he wrote in his ministerial record:
For many years, I was a music minister in various Christian churches, but my beliefs gradually evolved ….. I stepped away from that context with some grief at losing that sense of home. As I sought a place where I could be my full, authentic self in collaborative community with others who are committed to nurturing the world toward wholeness, I was introduced to Unitarian Universalism. Along the way, I explored a variety of spiritual paths to discover (and forge) an identity that makes sense to me. I became a Humanist Celebrant to offer meaningful ministry to people who have been wounded by previous religious experiences. And I became a spiritual director for people who are non-religious or spiritually eclectic to help others build a personal spiritual identity that they find meaningful. Serving a Unitarian Universalist congregation full-time has been a goal, but I have also honored the call to ministry in the ways that have been available to me along the path.
I would say my calling to ministry comes from within myself, and I would describe it as a restlessness and a passion for empowering and equipping others to offer their best to humanity. Creating wholeness is not a solo endeavor, and I embrace the work of fostering resilient community with people intent on building a better world.Randy PArtain
Rev. Partain is the founding ministerial leader of Tapestry Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Houston, Texas. His commitment to helping others in their quest to grow spiritually and to engage in the work of building a spiritually safe and active community impressed and inspired every one of us serving on the search committee.
The references we spoke to who have known Rev. Partain and experienced his ministry, describe him as an authentic, loving person who is quick on his feet, and an excellent collaborative partner who makes room for everyone.
Those who are bidding farewell to Rev. Partain told us they will miss his gift for pastoral care, his worship services, and creative approach to “Time for all Ages,” as well as his ability to unify the congregation despite differences.
Rev. Partain has experience forming and leading a new congregation which was one of many qualities that, in our view, makes him a “fit” and a great match for UUCC. Rev. Partain was described as a courageous leader – one who is unafraid of thoughtfully and sensitively engaging in any topic and who is possessed of a “gift for diagnosing and naming the issues that needed to be engaged in the congregation.”
In addition, we believe Rev. Partain can be a forward-facing representative for UUCC in the northeast Ohio community of congregations as well as in the various social justice initiatives with which members of our congregation are aligned and to which we have been recently committed.
Rev. Partain will conduct two Sunday Worship services, one on May 30th and one on June 6th. Opportunities are being planned and scheduled for Rev. Partain to meet the UUCC staff, as well as members of the congregation. They will also have time to explore the residential communities surrounding UUCC. Rev. Partain’s schedule for the Candidating Week is being finalized, but the events open to all members have been confirmed. You will find a summary of those dates and times at the bottom of this letter. You can access the calendar and links to virtual meetings on the Search page of our website at https://uucleveland.org/category/ministerial-search/.
After the June 6th worship service, the congregation will be asked to vote on the question of calling Rev. Partain. The process requires a quorum (25% of membership) of members. If members vote “yes” the Congregation will call Rev. Partain to lead UUCC into the future.
Members of the search committee have been deeply impressed by the strength of the UUCC congregation during this challenging year. We are grateful for the courage of the congregation in initiating brave and beloved conversations about racial justice and in articulating such a potent and clear mission statement: “to strengthen community within and without; to search for and grow spiritually, and to promote justice in action.”
We are grateful for the banners on the front of our church that announce our aspirations for this community, for our vision to be a “large vibrant spiritual community, known for our warm welcome and fierce, compassionate commitment to justice” and for the strategic goals of “Visibility, Community Building, and Intersectional Justice.”
We believe Rev. Partain to be a pastor who will bring passionate, courageous commitment to our congregational aspirations, and will answer our call (should we so decide) with a warm heart, an agile intellect, a generous spirit, and a willingness to work collaboratively with all. We look forward to having all of the greater UUCC community come to know and appreciate the gifts that Rev. Partain brings to our congregation, and invite and encourage you to fully participate in the coming week’s activities and opportunities to meet and welcome him during some of the in-person and virtual gatherings. We want him to meet the community we have been bragging about!
The UUCC Search Committee
Amy Collins, Dawn Arrington, Laurie Albright, Lou Salza, Mark Weber, Meg Pauken, and Mike Miller