Ministerial Search Team Testimonials
Below you will find testimonials from the Ministerial Search Team about why we chose Hank as our final candidate and some of what we love about him.
Lorraine Dennis – Go Ahead and Ask
For me, one of Rev. Hank’s outstanding qualities is his honesty and transparency. He tells it like it is, with warmth, sensitivity and humor. He genuinely enjoys the conversation – no matter who you are and what you’re talking about.
An example: the MST had questions about Rev. Hank’s theology since many of the sermons and worship services that are on his website have a decidedly theist/Christian tone. In this congregation, we care deeply about theological diversity – just look up at the chancel on Sunday mornings. We were concerned that he might not bring us the full breadth of the theological spectrum.
Hank spent the last four years as interim minister in two congregations. The First Parish Church United of Westford is affiliated with both the UUA & the United Church of Christ. Prior to Hank’s Interim Ministry, they hadn’t been served by a UU minister in over 40 years. The First Parish Milton has historically been a Christian UU church. Hank explained that these congregations have a more focused theology that is quite different than what you will find most Sundays at UUCR.
He told me that he grew up as a Unitarian Universalist humanist. For him, the Principles are “the air that I breathe” and god is not a supernatural being. His hope in creating worship is that we will look critically, but not criticize other religions; that we honor our history and the sources of Unitarian Universalism. In worship, he will give us tools to take away that will inform and challenge us as we live our lives. That made complete sense to me and the MST.
If you have questions about theology or anything else in the next couple of weeks, please ask Rev. Hank. You will find him open, willing to listen and give you an honest answer. You can trust him. Honest.
From the beginning, it was clear to me that Rev. Hank encourages a strong sense of community and really cares for people. He is at ease with congregants of all ages and genuinely wants to welcome and meet you wherever you are in your life and on your faith journey.
Hank has extensive experience in settled ministry and a deep understanding of our UU faith tradition. For quite some time, he has been active in the greater UU movement, with a pulse on the issues and strong relationships among colleagues. I believe that he will help us be a clear voice called to action on UU values and justice issues that we are passionate about.
Hank has a sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously – he has humility and understands that we all, as human beings, have our imperfections. Having grown up UU and been greatly involved in youth activities, Hank has a special place in his heart for UU children and youth. He is deeply committed to creating space for them to grow and lead, to be valued for who they are and the unique gifts they bring.
Throughout the extensive interview process, I found Hank to be a thoughtful, creative thinker who asks perceptive questions and engages in conversation to bring viewpoints to light. Hank is willing to respectfully shine light on a broader perspective or offer a supportive challenge to our way of thinking. Together, we will take risks that can be transformative and challenge ourselves to live our values at home, in church, in our communities and for the sake of our world. I am excited and hopeful to present Rev. Hank Peirce as our candidate for settled ministry!
Our MST was serious about reference checking. We spoke with lay leadership, staff, and ministerial colleagues with knowledge and differing perspectives of each pre-candidate. All of Rev. Hank’s references were very positive – speaking, among other things, to his strengths in outreach and community building, his inspirational worship services, his bold personality in combination with “an old soul”. For me, what stands out is a conversation I had with a highly respected senior colleague who knows Rev. Hank and our local UU congregations very well. His words: “If Hank comes to the Reading church, he will be empowered and empowering.”
The words, “empowered and empowering” ring in my head when I imagine the possibility of Rev. Hank coming to UUCR, because of how I experience his energetic presence. To use these concepts together speaks to a dynamic of mutuality in relationship and shared empowerment. In a church, it means creative, collaborative ministry. My knowledge of UUCR tells me that this is what we want. My knowledge of Rev. Hank tells me that he is grounded in his spiritual leadership, capable of using his gifts to inspire, to challenge, to comfort, and to embody with us and our staff an empowering, shared ministry in community. He will ask what breaks our hearts and what we want to do about it. He will help us, our children, and youth to be better people and even better UU’s. He will walk with us to more fully live our values, our faith, and our common mission.
The members of the MST share the belief that of all of our pre-candidates, Rev. Hank demonstrates the most keen and compassionate insights about UUCR, our past, our present, and the future we may imagine. I feel honored and enthusiastic to present Rev. Hank Peirce as candidate for our settled ministry.
I have had a wonderful experience getting to know Reverend Hank. Interpersonally, he is an engaging and extremely likable individual. He exudes a combination of warmth, genuineness and great sense of humor. As an experienced minister, Hank brings a thoughtful and dynamic presence to worship. During pre-candidating week, I remember fondly his big smile and welcoming presence as he shook hands and greeted congregants prior to the service. He brings his strong presence and extensive experience into all aspects of the worship service. His sermons are memorable, demonstrating a depth of knowledge and an ability to stimulate thinking about our UU values and commitments to the world.
Born and raised a UU, Hank knows deeply and personally how important it is for children to be genuinely included in all aspects of congregational life. He talks positively about his personal experiences growing up a UU and his commitment to the growth of our children and their ability to live and learn our values and traditions. I am excited for our children of all ages, as I feel confident they will grow to love Hank and will all come to see him as their minister.
In short, I believe Hank has the skills and experiences that match extremely well with who we are and where we are going as a congregation. As you get to know Hank, I believe you will find as I do that he will nurture us as a congregation and help us grow spiritually and move forward in our mission.
“A gifted pastoral leader that shows up for his people.”
“100% genuine, a gem, a treasure with enormous strengths and a wonderful sense of humor.”
These are words from Rev. Hank Peirce’s references that I believe sum up the unique qualities of our Ministerial Candidate.
With our collective knowledge of the UUCR, supported by the congregational survey we undertook last fall, the Ministerial Search Team (MST) developed our Ministerial Profile: a summary of the characteristics and qualities we, the UUCR, seek in our next settled minister. We seek: “a spiritual guide, a dynamic, empathic leader. A minister that will project a warm, welcoming presence on Sunday mornings while bringing intellect, passion and a sense of humor to worship”. In addition we seek a compassionate counselor, a minister that can help us forge intergenerational bonds while also helping us expand our social justice efforts. We recognized that this is a tall order! I am so happy to tell you that I believe Hank possesses these qualities, demonstrated through 18 years of parish ministry.
We were blessed to have three strong pre-candidates that we, the MST felt were qualified to serve as our next settled minister. Our job was then to discern the best fit among these qualified pre-candidates to our Ministerial Profile: to identify the candidate that would best help us achieve the ideals of our mission. Hank was the clear, unanimous choice of the MST. Hank values connections to the community and the wider UU movement. Under Hank’s leadership, I believe the UUCR will be a beacon of our UU principles in our community and region. I can’t wait until you have the opportunity to meet Hank and to begin to get to know him during Candidating week.
Hank Peirce is the real deal!!! He is spiritual, kind, funny, compassionate, a leader and a seasoned minister.
I appreciate Hank’s administrative style. He is excited to meet with our fantastic staff; he will spend much time and energy getting to know them, how they work and what they need. He will listen and lead our staff without micromanaging and have his finger on the pulse of the church.
Hank is genuinely at ease with people, he warmly greets everyone and welcomes them into his space. His relaxed, kind and loving way brings people closer together. With an open heart, Hank will work together with us and encourage involvement from our children to our sages, bringing our entire community closer.
I look forward to Sunday services with Hank. He will bring his warmth, depth and quick sense of humor to interesting, thought provoking services. Many of us are looking for the personal touch and a thought or idea that resonates with us. Our survey indicated we want something to take home, to tide us over for the week, a reminder of who we are and who we want to be. Hank will call us to our better selves.
One of the most exciting aspects of Hank’s Ministry is his idea for growing our church. How do we show the community and beyond how wonderful Unitarian Universalism is? Hank will take his energy, love of people and concerns about social justice outside of UUCR. His inspiring presence working to make a difference in the community and beyond will draw new people to UUCR.
Mary Wahlman-Krogh – 5 reasons I love Rev. Hank
The first thing I love about Rev. Hank is his extensive ministerial experience. From the moment we read his ministerial record his voice was clear and strong. He is not afraid to speak his mind, and his honesty is a cornerstone of his leadership. He was born and raised UU and his commitment to our faith and his involvement with our larger faith community is unparalleled.
The second thing I love about Hank is his warmth and energy. He was the only candidate who on pre-candidate Sunday was in the sanctuary greeting everyone with his infectious smile, introducing himself, and making everyone feel at home. He is quick to laugh and curious about each person he meets.
The third thing I adore about Rev. Hank is his authenticity. He is down to earth and real. He knows he is an imperfect human just like you and I, and he is not afraid to let his imperfections show; what you see is what you get with Hank.
The fourth reason my heart was completely behind Hank from the beginning is how he connects with our youth and children. He knows first hand what it is to be a UU kid and to raise UU kids. I deeply love all our UUCR children and youth and there was no other candidate I could see as their minister.
And lastly, I love how memorable and unique Hank is. I want a minister who will be a strong presence in our community and take our vision and mission out into the world and bring new people in the doors. I want a minister who holds my attention on Sunday mornings, and creates meaningful worship, and I can assure you he does!
For all these reasons and so many more, I can’t wait for you to meet him!