Rev. Kathy to step down as 1U Minister
Rev. Kathy Schmitz will be stepping down from her position as minister of 1U at the end of January due to health concerns. Much more information will follow in the weeks ahead but for now, read her letter of departure and the Board’s acceptance.
Note: After worship on Sunday, December 9th, there will be an information meeting with the Board of Trustees and Rev. Kathy (health permitting) in the Sanctuary to address questions that have come up as people hear about the upcoming transition. All are welcome to attend and bring their questions.
December 3, 2018
Dear Members and Friends of 1U,
It is with a great many emotions that I let you know of my intention to complete my ministry at First Unitarian Church at the end of January 2019. My current health challenges make it impossible for me to be the minister I want to be and the time for reflection afforded by my leave over the last month makes it clear that the time for transition is here.
Because of my lack of diagnosis, the possibility exists that my health will return at any point. If that happens, I will explore new ways to use my gifts and talents. However, I am also aware that this may be the way things are going to be for me for some time, possibly years. So, the current plan is to take advantage of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Long-Term Disability coverage once the 90-day waiting period is over on January 22.
Since I was called to First Unitarian in 2010, we have been through remarkable adventures and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. Going into this year, we knew it was a time of taking stock and discovering what is next for the congregation. It had been my plan to be part of that process and spend another two to six years as your minister. Now I see that instead this work of discernment can be part of your transition to a new settled minister.
Interim ministers are trained in the processes that help congregations take a good look at where they are and where they want to go as they prepare for a new called minister. My heart is content knowing that you will be in good hands with one of my colleagues as you consider how you will build on the work we have done together. My hope is that each of you will actively engage in the processes ahead ensuring that 1U continues to be a beacon of liberal religion for Central Florida.
I shared my decision with the Board of Trustees at a special meeting called on November 29. Together we will work out the details of my departure. In addition, the Board is in touch with the people in the Southern Region and at the Unitarian Universalist Association who will act as resources as you move forward to find new professional leadership. Together they will work through the well-known steps congregations take at this time.
I am a big believer in intentional transitions and this is not how I would have most liked to take my leave from you. I am finding many opportunities for the spiritual practice of acceptance in this part of my journey. It is my hope that we will be able to find opportunities for proper goodbyes as we move through the next two months. It has truly been an honor to serve as your minister for these last eight years. Thank you!
As a congregation, you can feel very pleased with the hard work that you have done to become the inclusive and vibrant community that you are today. You are a blessing to so many. I am confident that the light you shine will welcome many more and serve you well in the upcoming transition and years to come.
Dear Members and Friends of 1U,
It is with great sadness that we accept the resignation of Reverend Kathy Schmitz for health reasons. Words cannot express our deep love and gratitude for who she is and all she has done for us, both as individuals and as a community. Please join us in sending love and warm, healing thoughts her way.
Knowing we must continue on our journey, the Board is working with the Unitarian-Universalist Association to find a temporary solution for the rest of this program year and to have an interim minister starting summer of 2019.
We look forward to your help, input, and support as we go through this process.
President, First Unitarian Church of Orlando