Our Mission Statement
By building a loving religious community that
nourishes the spirit, celebrates life, and
cherishes the connectedness of all things,
we will transform ourselves and our world.
Hello! We are glad that you are here.
On behalf of the congregation of UUCNH, our search team extends a warm welcome to all who are interested in exploring the possibility of entering into a contract ministry with our beloved community. We are proud to share all that our congregation has to offer, eager to get to know you, and excited to discuss the possibility of a successful future collaboration between us!
Who we are
UUCNH comprises a vibrant community of all ages and walks of life hailing primarily from the rolling suburbs north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our facility itself is a lovingly restored and reimagined version of the barn of a once-working dairy farm, now skirted by trees and nestled in the middle of a relatively affluent residential neighborhood. While the demographics of our membership naturally reflect that of the community in which we live, we strive always to be a welcoming oasis for those who may look, live, and express themselves in ways different from the current majority. Whether we are lifelong agnostics, former Christians, humanists, or something else entirely, we strive to live out our UU principles every day, wherever we are, respecting all our sources of inspiration, including each other.
At its heart, our community has proven to have a powerful inner strength, meeting recent challenges with resiliency and a genuine willingness to collaborate and compromise. Throughout the pandemic, we have adapted and persevered with energy and good humor; in the absence of a minister, our lay leaders have increased attendance and – amazingly – pulled off a successful capital campaign! Drawing on this strength through both self-examination and community outreach, we are committed to transforming ourselves and our world.
What we do
Stroll into our dome-ceilinged, wood-paneled sanctuary on a Sunday morning, and you will find a gathering place filled with natural light, brimming with the smiles and laughter of friends greeting friends. Once the gong sounds and the chalice is lit, a wide variety of lay-led services may unfold, all crafted by an enthusiastic and committed Sunday Services team. A skillful pianist plays on the baby grand, while a (remarkably large!) choir sings from the soul. Behind the proverbial curtain, a crack tech team keeps the microphones working, the screens on cue, and the livestream rolling. After a Time for All Ages, we sing the children out to their classes, shepherded by our energetic Director of Lifespan Faith Development and her devoted volunteers.
After the service, congregants gather for a lively coffee hour, while ushers and greeters make sure visitors feel at home. As children grab cookies and disperse crumbs, the bell rings again, announcing the beginning of any number of meetings and adult faith development classes. What will you see as you wander through the barn, peeking into classrooms after church or throughout the week? You may see our Systemic Change team planning their next petition, postcard campaign, presentation, march, or lobbying event. You may find the Capital Campaign Team, fresh on the heels of a spectacularly successful fundraising effort, eagerly acting on our priorities for the best possible stewardship of our red barn home.
Stroll out onto the lawn in nice weather, and you may see the youth preparing for a s’more feast at the fire circle or the bocce group laughing at another truly terrible pitch. You might notice a lay pastoral care team member sitting on a bench in the memorial garden, talking quietly with someone in need. Walk down the hill, and you may spook a whole herd of deer trying to break into the vegetable patch – in broad daylight. Peek through the church’s front windows on a weekday morning, and you may catch our indefatigable craft group cooking up yet another lucrative sale, or our sexton replacing another light bulb. Climb the far hill, and you will be greeted with the squeals of preschool children enjoying their extra-large playground – complete with resident bunnies.
Transforming ourselves and our world takes a lot of work. Our campus may be wonderfully unique, but at UUCNH, our true strength is in our spirit. Wherever and however a visitor arrives, we at UUCNH strive to make all those who share our values feel welcome, safe, included, and valued. We are active, independent, ever-changing, and excited about our future. We can also use a little help.
What we need
Throughout our search team’s interviews with church leaders and open discussions with congregants, we found a surprising consensus on what our community wants and needs in our next minister.
An excellent preacher,
A capable head of staff, and
An enthusiastic promoter of congregational life.
As you read through our responses to the questionnaire, you will see how we define good preaching and exactly what we are looking for in terms of administrative leadership. But what, you may ask, does the last phrase mean?
If one desirable quality was heard most often in our discussions, it was enthusiasm. We need a minister with a passion for the cause and the energy to make things happen. But we do not expect a minister to move mountains on their own. We understand that everyone is human, and we are eager to forge an innovative collaboration that encourages compromise and minimizes the risk of burnout.
Our administrative committees need their minister’s support and cooperation but recognize that attendance at every meeting is unsustainable.
Our Sunday services team needs a talented pulpit preacher willing to engage in long-term planning with the team and musical director. But we don’t need our minister to figure out why the screen isn’t working, to organize the entirety of every service, or to ensure the coffee’s brewing!
Our children and youth need an advocate and a friend, a minister who sees and hears them, who eagerly welcomes them into our services and our church life, and who might even – in the words of one of our littlest ones – “crawl under the table and eat cookies with us!” But while we expect our minister to support and coordinate with our excellent DLSFD and her team, you can rest assured that this competent crew will have our programming well in hand.
Our systemic change team needs a minister with a passion and drive for justice, who supports their efforts, enlightens and challenges the congregation to action, and works with both to set goals for effective transformation. Yet while personal participation from our minister would be eagerly welcome, this group’s sterling reputation for independent initiative and seemingly inexhaustible dedication to their cause is well deserved!
Our lay pastoral care team needs a formally trained minister to fully support congregants who are going through especially challenging times. But this dedicated and caring group can be counted on to handle the bulk of the check-ins and visitation necessary to support our community’s day to day needs.
Our congregation needs a minister with vision, insight, and humor who can inspire, elevate, and energize us all. We want a minister who desires to be a full part of our community, to be curious about us, and genuinely excited to get to know us. Someone who wants to learn, teach, follow, and lead. Someone who knows how to supervise without micro-managing. Someone bold enough to challenge, but willing to collaborate, compromise, and sometimes to concede. Someone who respects our unique history and traditions. Someone who can distinguish “change for the sake of change” from those changes which are sorely needed, and can skillfully shepherd us through the latter. Someone who is present, not just before us, but among us.
We need a lot of things. But we also know that none of us are superhuman, and that burnout is real. This is why our search team wishes to fully collaborate with the right candidate — to define a contract for ministry that suits us both.
Please read through the entirety of our congregational record and questionnaire, explore our website, and contact us to learn more. We are open to negotiation on almost anything… except, of course, enthusiasm!