Archive for April, 2018

Apr 27 2018

May Journal: Introducing Susie Idzik, FUCSJ’s Interim Director of Religious Education

Published by under Minister's Musings

Introducing Susie Idzik:

First Unitarian’s Interim Director of Religious Education/“Visionary Change Agent”

for 2018-20

With great joy, the Religious Education Transition Planning Team introduces you to Susie Idzik, who will serve as FUCSJ’s Interim Director of Religious Education (aka “visionary change agent”) as we maintain, assess, and experiment with our Religious Education programs after Rev. Geoff Rimositis retires this summer. True to the real purpose of an interim period, Susie will help guide us in taking a deep look at the structure of our whole congregation. As a result, we will be able to make ever wiser decisions about our staffing, programs, and infrastructure in support of our mission and vision. Religious Education is just one piece of the puzzle!

The Transition Planning Team arrived at Susie as our top choice after a months-long process of educating ourselves about the work of Interim Religious Educators, conferring with Pacific Western Region staff, posting our job description nationally, and reviewing five candidates’ applications. Susie’s application, interviews, and references were outstanding. Her particular gifts, experience, and style made her the clear match for our Beloved Community.

Susie is a long-time Unitarian Universalist with a private practice as a life coach and spiritual director. She brings vast experience in administration on the congregational and district levels, and she specializes in helping institutions in transition look at their needs and desires so that they can streamline their operations and meet their goals. Her many years of experience as a Religious Education teacher—and as a mom whose three children have grown up in UU RE programs—have given her a sense of call to the work of Religious Education. Currently, she is helping design and implement a five-year plan for a new Adult Religious Education program at the UU church in Redwood City, where she is a member. She lives in Palo Alto with her spouse, 16-year-old son, and their dog; her two older children are in college. With other members of our staff, she is already participating in a webinar about 21st-century Family Ministry in Unitarian Universalism. Susie brings great spiritual depth to everything she does. Rev. Nancy feels she has a terrific partner in Susie for the work of these next two years.

Susie’s start date is June 1, overlapping with Rev. Geoff for a month. During that month, she will be striving to absorb some of Rev. Geoff’s 24 years of experience with FUCSJ, as well as assisting with our fifth annual weeklong Peace Camp.

We look forward to introducing you to Susie in person on Bridging Sunday, June 3, when we will also celebrate our dynamic youth.

But you don’t have to wait until June 3 to catch a sense of Susie’s spirit! Please do read the beautiful email she sent in response to our offer of the job. After FUCSJ’s Board and Program and Operations Council had approved the Transition Planning Team’s choice, the team’s co-chairs, Kristin Rivers and Robert Strong, our Personnel Officer Mary Mary Feldman, and our Senior Minister the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones hosted a Zoom call with Susie on Thursday, April 12. Just as in our earlier interview, we had a lively conversation. Susie had some great questions for us; then she asked for some time to consult with her family. We had talked for an hour when she needed to get off the call to teach a class. A few hours later, she sent us this message:

Subject: Thank you!!

Hello Nancy, Mary Mary, Robert and Kristin!

My apologies for having to end our conversation so abruptly!

I jumped off our Zoom call and then onto another and taught my class, and then “zoomed” off to Redwood City for an adult RE meeting and finally made it home just minutes ago. I squeezed in confirming calls with my people and was bubbling over with excitement throughout it all. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get home to say YES YES YES!

I am SO delighted to be joining you all.

I cannot say enough about what an experience this has been already — I have been dazzled by your professionalism in the search and truly touched by your honesty and your open, generous hearts. (You know you’re heading someplace great when you’re gushing to folks about the interview process.) I feel like I hit some sort of lottery in all of this.

Let me know what next steps might be.



Please join us on Sunday, June 3, in worship to welcome Susie Idzik into FUCSJ’s Beloved Community! Then join us again on Sunday, June 10, as we celebrate Rev. Geoff’s extraordinary ministry!


FUCSJ’s Transition Planning Team: Kristin Rivers and Robert Strong, co-chairs; Gautam Biswas, Mary Mary Feldman, Dee Howard, Mary Idso, Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, Bill Shepard; early consulting: Rev. Geoff Rimositis.

With love and devotion to our journey together,

Rev. Nancy

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