Dear Prospective Applicant,
First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio is searching for an Assistant Minister, the first in its 76 year history. Our vision is expressed in our current Ends Statement, which is:
• We stretch ourselves and encourage each other to new intellectual and spiritual heights. We care for each other in times of joy and sorrow.
• We love and accept children and youth for who they are. We nurture and stimulate them to grow into their fullest potential.
• We welcome visitors and seekers with radical hospitality. We connect with them to create relationships of caring, transformation and spiritual growth.
• We are a force for love and justice in the greater San Antonio community. We proactively engage others to work for the common good.
• We support and challenge fellow congregations in the UUA. We strive to live our UU principles and values with excellence.
First UU San Antonio is a growing, dynamic church community with a rich history. Founded by a few dozen religious liberals in 1945, First UU’s 400-member congregation recently celebrated its 75-year anniversary in 2020. First UU sits on about 5 acres on a hill in north central San Antonio overlooking the city’s historic downtown area. The church complex’s six main buildings and grounds support administrative offices, meeting rooms, child care spaces, a library, lounge and kitchen, and a fellowship hall for larger events and activities. A separate educational building with a playground and labyrinth provide spaces for our thriving religious education program serving 100 children and youth from pre-school to high school ages. The crown jewel of our physical plant is the 500-seat sanctuary, which opened in 1997 and has been featured in UU World magazine for its innovative and inspiring design elements. For an overview of our church’s history and bios of our Staff members, I invite you to peruse our new website at https://uusat.org/, which is scheduled to roll out in early October.
While facilities are important, in truth it is the people of our congregation who are the heart and soul of First UU San Antonio. Our members come from every imaginable walk of life: active-duty and retired military, reflecting San Antonio’s five military installations; educators from primary, secondary, and collegiate ranks; creatives who work actively in the city’s visual art, music, and theatre communities; and, professionals in the medical, life science, information technology, and financial sectors. Sunday services come alive with the contributions of our diverse and talented congregation. Our members are committed to social justice, making First UU a critical hub for local Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA+ rights, immigration justice, women’s reproductive rights and environmental justice campaigns. First UU has played a leading role in interfaith campaigns for a living wage, job training, housing fairness, immigration justice and equity-based policies, helping to found the local affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation COPS/Metro Alliance and the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry (TXUUJM).
As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, this church is poised to grow in its size and its impact on the San Antonio region, making it a unique opportunity for an energetic and thoughtful Assistant Minister. San Antonio is growing modern city with a long and diverse history in its own right. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, San Antonio is the nation’s seventh largest city and second largest in Texas. It regularly ranks near the top on quality-of-life lists, and boasts a cost of living that is roughly 35% lower than that of New York. Although it has a laid-back character, San Antonio offers a thriving job market with opportunities in biosciences, cybersecurity, renewable energy, cloud-based computing services, manufacturing, finance, and real estate. More than 100,000 students attend the city’s 31 higher education institutions including regional campuses for both of the state’s major public university systems, the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.
Both First UU and the city of San Antonio are situated on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, a scenic and ecologically diverse region of parks, rivers, lakes, and campgrounds of unparalleled beauty. Here, First UU helps maintain UBarU, a 142 acre ranch property used by churches throughout the UU Southern Region for retreats, meetings, and youth camps. Our church has hosted and worked collaboratively with other UU churches in the region, convening at UBarU or one another’s campuses for conferences for DRUUMM, meetings of the UUA Trustees, UUMA Executive Council and other gatherings which point our Faith Forward.
The Assistant Minister will have a unique opportunity to contribute to our growing church community as well as to the San Antonio region. First UU Church needs an Assistant Minister to join with our Lead Minister in building a strong and broad base of professional leadership to accomplish our mission and vision. Together these ministers working with staff and volunteer leadership will accelerate growth and necessary change exponentially. For example, imagine the design and implementation of new ministries and programs, and the renewal of existing ones that will keep the congregation growing and innovating. In our large city, it’s possible that a satellite congregation could be planted and nourished, thus spreading the influence of our Living Tradition.
The Assistant Minister will serve as a part of the Team Ministry already in place, with as ample a pulpit presence as desired, and a shared leadership as needed. The Assistant Minister will have a primary focus on Membership Development and Care, as well as co-creating and expanding our already profound ministries of Social Justice both within our Congregation and as an outreach to and influence on our greater Community. Every week we receive a handful of Visitor Cards. What might happen if each of these persons were followed up with and cultivated into Membership? Our solo Minister is kept very busy with invitations to serve in leadership on local and statewide projects pertaining to Social, Racial, Women’s Reproductive and Environmental Justice. What might happen if this leadership was expanded into a wider and more diverse Team Ministry of ordained and lay ministers?
Are you interested in serving to your full capacity as a Minister? Do you have qualities that will enhance the development of this Congregation by participating in areas of responsibility like Membership, Social Justice, Worship and Religious Education? Do you have skills that can clarify, reinforce and amplify our Congregation’s work? Will you contribute your energies to the widening of our leadership base by identifying, recruiting and mentoring others? Are you flexible and skilled enough to fill critical ministerial roles, as needed? Then we invite you to join with us and fulfill your calling as a minister with First UU Church of San Antonio.
Gratefully in service,
Rev. Mark Skrabacz