Dear members and friends of Trinity,
As always, we are blessed to serve you as your Transition Team. We were called together by the Leadership Council last fall to help guide the congregation through saying farewell to our beloved lead minister, the Rev. Dr. Sid Hall, when he retires on July 1; selecting an interim lead minister using the United Church of Christ’s Search and Call process; doing the work of the interim period, a 12- to 18-month time of grieving, visioning, and planning; and finally, supporting a Pastoral Search Team that will call a new, permanent lead minister.
Trinity’s Interim Lead Minister
We are thrilled to announce that the Rev. Dr. M. Christine Tata will be joining us as our interim lead minister. The Transition Team and the additional Trinity members who took part in the candidate interview process were unanimous in recommending Christine for this important role. Now that our Leadership Council has confirmed her call, Christine is set to join us as of July 1. She will give her first sermon on Sunday, July 11.
Christine Tāta (her name rhymes with ‘later’) brings a variety of deep experience gained working in worlds ranging from parish ministry, through the ministry-adjacent helping vocations of teaching and administering employee relations, and the original transcendent space of professional drama. Ordained in the United Church of Christ, she has served UCC, Unitarian Universalist, and yoked (ecumenical) congregations in Colorado, California, and Texas, in between forays into college teaching and policy administration. She is co-author with UU minister Kathleen Rolenz of Renegotiating the Bible: A Spiritual Practice, a book for seekers, believers, and skeptics tentatively scheduled for publication this fall by Skinner House.
Most recently, Christine has been an itinerant online preacher for progressive congregations across Texas and is completing a brief interim sojourn as Acting Senior Minister for Friends Congregational UCC in College Station. She believes in the calling to transitional ministry, as she believes the church itself may be poised for the most profound transition it has seen in a thousand years. She is delighted to be joining Trinity in this period of reflection and reimagining.
For more about how Christine hopes we can all change the world, find her on YouTube, or follow her alter ego, Rev Dr Sparky on Medium.com. Her latest blog entry is entitled “God Called Me… and Then Put Me On Hold for a Year”!
We loved getting to know Christine during the interview process, and we are excited and eager for Trinity to experience her leadership. Our congregation will be in good hands as we explore the valuable opportunities that this pastoral transition—and the painful disruptions of the pandemic—present to Trinity. These times demand that we evolve new ways of being a church together, and we know that Trinity will rise to the challenge.
Sid Hall’s Last Sunday, June 13
Sid Hall will give his last sermon for Trinity during our Sunday celebration on June 13 at 11:00am Central Time. The sermon will be a special revision of the first sermon Sid ever gave at Trinity, 33 years to the exact weekend! Please join us on our YouTube channel for this very special celebration.
After the Sunday service, Sid will be available for an informal Meet and Greet outside of the Trinity building from 1:00-3:00pm. The pandemic isn’t over yet, so for everyone’s safety and comfort, please wear a mask and come prepared to practice social distancing. You are welcome to bring cards to give Sid at this time, but please refrain from bringing gifts, as Sid will be driving to his new home in Colorado immediately afterward. Children are welcome to play on the playground while adults sit on the outdoor picnic tables and catch up with their Trinity friends!
Sid’s Retirement Party, November 7
We have also confirmed a date for Sid’s retirement party! This celebration and fundraiser will be held at an outdoor venue and feature live music from well-known Austin musicians, as well as from our talented Trinity members. Please mark your calendars for Sunday, November 7, starting in the late afternoon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the ongoing ministries of Trinity.
Advisory Team on Reopening
Finally, on behalf of our Leadership Council, we are pleased to announce that with the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines for adults and teens, Trinity has invited our small group renters (groups of 10 or less) to return to in-person meetings. We are waiting for the City of Austin to reach COVID-19 Community Risk Stage 2 to allow groups of up to 25. Our Advisory Team on Reopening is currently studying what our timing and procedures will be when Trinity returns to in-person worship.
Keeping In Touch
As always, if you have questions or concerns about the transition process, you can reach the entire Transition Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you missed some of our communications over the last nine months, you can catch up on our process here.
Look for up-to-date news in our weekly email newsletter, and please continue to hold Sid Hall, Christine Tata, and all the staff and volunteers at Trinity in your prayers as we make these complex transitions together.
Warmly, your Transition Team,
Jessica Rush Dugan, co-leader
Brandon Wollerson, co-leader