After being recommended by the Music Director Search Committee and affirmed by the Worship and Music Committee, Benjamin Rogers was approved as permanent Music Director for University UCC by the Church Council at a special Council meeting on December 5.
A search committee to identify and recommend a candidate for position of UCUCC Music Director was formed in November. The committee was made up of: Betty Spieth-Croll (Worship and Music), Rose Morrison (Choir), Joyce Jackson (Personnel), Pastor Steve Jerbi (Music Director supervisor), and John Worthington (Worship and Music). The team agreed to consider Interim Music Director Benjamin Rogers before expanding the search. Benjamin has served as Interim Music Director since September 2020.
The Search Committee talked with each of the 2020 Interim Music Director Search Committee members and sent an online survey to choir members about their experience in the music program since autumn 2020. Thirty choir members responded. They talked with Benjamin’s supervisor, Pastor Steve, and with members of the tech team that the Music Director works with to create virtual music. And they held an hour-long conversation with Benjamin to hear about his past 15 months at UCUCC and his vision for our music program under his leadership as Music Director. According to committee chair Betty Spieth-Croll, “From the input we gathered, it is clear Benjamin is well-liked, highly capable and skilled in both music and technology, deeply spiritual and attached to our faith community, and is committed to continuing the vision of an inclusive UCUCC music program.”
In announcing Benjamin’s hiring into the permanent position, Pastor Steve Jerbi affirmed the Council’s decision, “We are moving into a pivotal time for the life of our congregation and our music ministry is essential to shaping our life together. I feel blessed that Benjamin will be directing us as we navigate choir returning, new formats for online worship, the eventual return to congregational singing and all the hills and valleys we’ll cross along the way. His vision, affirmed by the Worship and Music committee, is to create an inclusive space for people to participate in making beautiful music in service to God.
In mid-December, Kiran Frank began work as Office Assistant and Communications Coordinator.
Kiran was involved with the University UCC community as an undergrad at the University of Washington. They have most recently been living in Vancouver, BC, and have been involved with disability justice organizing. Kiran returned to the US this fall, with new pronouns (they/them) and a slightly different name. Kiran says, “I look forward to reconnecting with the University UCC community and supporting the great work you do.” Director of Finance and Administration Kyna Shilling, notes, “We’re excited to welcome them to the team.”