Your Ministerial Search Committee is very excited to announce the name of our candidate for minister of First Universalist Unitarian Church. We began this process in January of last year, and over the past 16 months we have spent countless hours conversing with members of our church, putting together a package for prospective ministers, conducting meetings, holding extensive phone interviews with eight interested ministers, performing extensive reference checks, and eventually inviting three very well-qualified and talented candidates to Wausau for a pre-candidating weekends. We had the privilege to spend those three weekends hearing about each minister’s unique experiences, as well as their particular hopes and vision for our, beloved church. After this long and careful process, we are happy to report that the committee was unanimous in our decision to select Rev. Brian J. Mason as our candidate for ministry.
Brian is currently serving as the Resident Chaplain at St. Louis University Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, where he lives with his wife Sarah and their 5 year old daughter, Ellie. He went to seminary at Eden Theological Seminary in St Louis, and was the Lewis Ministerial Intern at First Unitarian Church of St. Louis from 2015-2016. He will be ordained by that church on Sunday, April 23rd.
Over the past three months we have gotten to know Brian, the committee was most impressed with his his obvious excitement about ministry and in conducting worship services, his collaborative nature, his curiosity and intelligence, his listening skills, as well as his healthy sense of humor. We all feel that Brian has a genuineness that shone brightly from our very first conversation with him, and we know this will serve our congregation well. One member of our search team shared these words: “If I had to describe Brian, I would say that he is smart, genuine, professional and compassionate. He sometimes appears serious, because he always tries to be the best minister, father, husband and teacher that he can be. But, in the best sense Brian is the kind of guy that you could cry to, learn from, and have a drink with. He is our future.”
During candidating week, from April 30th – May 7th, you will have the opportunity to get to know Brian better. And then on May 7th, You — the members of the congregation — will take a vote to ratify or reject him as our new minister. This important week is a time for him to get to know you, and for the congregation to get to know him better as well. Please make time to come to services and events that are being held, encourage your friends to come, and join us in this exciting time in our church’s history.
When describing his “call to ministry,” Brian wrote the following in his biographical sketch:
“It’s a mysterious circumstance to describe in many ways, but back in 2008, while visiting St. Simons Island, Georgia, I felt something stir in my heart. I realized that I would live out the rest of my life serving and working alongside people who, just like me, dream of an equitable world, a world of justice, righteousness, and peace; a world of joy and appreciation.( …) I am so eager to start my ministry and look forward to one day meeting you. After all, to me, you are a dream come true.”
We all look forward to you meeting him and his family, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the candidate, and the process. In the days to come we will also provide a link to his website on our church web page so you can learn a little more about him before their arrival in a few weeks.
We are excited for the weeks to come, and thank you for your belief in us, and support during this process.
Your First UU Wausau Ministerial Search Committee
Ingrid Clark Zavadoski
Holly Briquelet Miller
A letter from our Candidate:
Dear First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau Members,
I am thrilled beyond measure to be your Candidate for Settled Ministry! The weekend I spent with your Search Committee was, by far, the most enjoyable time I had during this long search process. I was so touched by their vulnerability, honesty, and humor. (They’re also topnotch hosts!) Believe it or not, my wife asked me, on our flight back to St. Louis, “Why do I have a feeling that I’ll be seeing those people again?”
My wife and I had such a lovely time exploring Wausau. We were charmed by the downtown, and fell in love with your beautiful church instantly. I cannot wait to see the town out from under all that snow. (I’d never seen so much snow in my life!) Thankfully the Search Committee mailed us some warm socks before my pre-candidate weekend.
I feel so fortunate to have found such a good fit with UU Wausau, and for the ministry each of us will share in together. I can’t wait to meet you!