Fellow members of the Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists,
The Ministerial Search Team is beyond excited to have the opportunity to share with you our choice for our candidate to be CVUU’s next settled minister, Viola Abbitt.
Throughout our process, Viola stood out to us from the beginning. Despite reviewing nine applications in total, all of whom were fine representations of our UU faith and would be great ministers, Viola was the only one who brought us to a consensus, and stood out among her peers as the best fit for us here at CVUU. We were struck by her immediate role in ministering to us, even during the interview process. Viola emphasized relationships and the importance of relational ministry, and she has brought eloquent authenticity to every conversation from her initial phone interview to her work with us through the pre-candidating weekend to our work to create candidating schedules. Her vast and varied experience informs her ministry and makes her as excellent a leader in day-to-day operations as she is in the pulpit.
Seeing her service on our pre-candidating weekend was eye opening. She instantly took to children she had never met, sitting and ministering to them with the same grace and kindness she shared in her sermon. Afterwards, that congregation had as part of their service an open section for anyone to comment (a surprise to us!), and her quick thinking on her feet as well as her warmth and thoughtfulness were apparent for a group she had never met.
Her bio is attached along with this mailing, and we hope you have a chance to review it in advance of her virtual candidating week. Her professional experience prior to ministry also stood out to us on the MST, particularly her work for the NY State Office of Child and Family Services and many volunteer and paid positions within the UUA. Be on the lookout for information on scheduling for events, all of which will be managed virtually in some form, on our website, in the CVUU Weekly Courier, and on our social media platforms.
The Ministerial Search Team understands that many congregants have questions about how we will proceed with a candidating week and with a vote, and we have been working through a number of complex questions with the help of our CVUU Board of Trustees, executives at the Unitarian Universalist Association, and, above all, Viola Abbitt herself to come up with a really thoughtful and responsible plan. We have had many Zoom meetings, email, phone calls and texts, and our Board president has more details on that process in this mailing.
In the meantime, we hope you will share in our excitement about Viola Abbitt and take some time to view her and her work on the web. Here are a couple of links about her to get you started:
Rev. Viola’s Easter video greeting to CVUU: https://youtu.be/zbTiG-BsbUk
Rev. Viola Abbitt’s website: https://www.uuministry.com/violaabbitt/
In peace and good health,
Tasha Dockery, Dave Hutcheson, David Kidd, Tracy Navarra-Davis, Lindsay Pryor, Kevin St. George, and co-chairs Martha Shore and Brian Schiller