UUA President Peter Morales announced Wednesday, September 9, that the Rev. Harlan Limpert, currently the UUA’s director of Congregational Life had been named vice president of Ministries and Congregational Support. The announcement, made at an all-staff meeting, accompanied the presentation of a new organizational structure in which staff will be divided into two main groups: Ministries and Congregational Support, and Administration. Limpert is to head the Ministries and Congregational Support staff while Kay Montgomery, UUA executive vice president, and Tim Brennan, UUA treasurer and vice president of Finance, will head the Administration group.
The Ministries and Congregational Support group comprises the Congregational Life, Ministry and Professional Leadership, Lifespan Faith Development, Identity Based Ministries, and Advocacy and Witness staff groups.
In the Administration group, Montgomery will be responsible for overseeing Beacon Press, Communications, Human Resources, Stewardship and Development, and the UU Funding Panel, and Brennan will retain oversight of General Assembly and Conference Services, Information Technology Services, and Internal Services.
Morales noted that in the previous system most departments were reporting to the executive vice president. “It was a level of oversight that no one person could do,” he said. The addition of Limpert as vice president of Ministries and Congregational Support, he said, will enable the association to focus more on developing communication across staff groups. “One of the things we’ll be working on is how well we collaborate.”
The new executive position will also make it easier for the association to monitor development in the key areas of ministry and electronic communication. Morales said that 40 percent of all current UU ministers are 58 or older and can be expected to retire in the next ten years, necessitating a thorough review of the ministerial process from recruitment to settlement. He also emphasized the importance of electronic communications. “We now know that when people come to our churches, they’ve visited beforehand,” he said, referring to the fact that most visitors look at a church’s website before actually attending.
Limpert said that in his new role he had three goals. “The first is to help the UUA move in the direction that its members have made clear they want us to move in,” he said referring to Morales’ recent UUA presidential victory in which he ran on a platform advocating growth. Limpert said his second goal was to make sure that staff groups under his leadership umbrella worked together effectively and efficiently, and his third, to help all staff groups effectively partner with congregations in carrying out the UUA’s mission.
Montgomery, who facilitated the meeting, which included off-site staff who participated via teleconferencing, said that she was pleased about the changes. “It will serve us well,” she said. “I think it’s good to shake things up every now and then.” She said that she had worked very closely with Brennan for the past three years and that she would use this as a model for the way she would be working with Limpert.
The changes are effective immediately. For the time being, Limpert’s position as head of the Congregational Life staff group will remain unfilled. Limpert, who is based in Minnesota, said that he would be spending more time at the Boston headquarters.
- UUA Organization Changes Announced Letter from UUA President Peter Morales explaining staff restructuring. (UUA.org)
Correction 09.14.09: We originally wrote that the meeting was held September 16. It took place on September 9.