Rev. Bob and His Advisory Committee

by the Rev. Bob LaVallee
July 14, 2020

I may be a middle-aged person, but I’m a baby minister. I graduated from seminary in 2016, I was ordained in 2018, and this church year is only my second as a parish minister. Baby ministers need support, and it comes to me in a variety of ways. Rev. Angela is a constant fount of feedback and excellent advice. I have a ministerial mentor, Rev. Joel Miller, who serves our UU church in Indianapolis. And I have an advisory committee made up of members of this congregation.

Since last fall, Larry Alei, Kelsey Atherton, Elizabeth Berrey, Judy Goering, Gilbert Gutierriez, and Carla Williams have met with me every month. Our meetings are wonderful. I talk about the joys and learning opportunities that came up in the last month. I’m asked hard questions about the decisions I make in the pulpit and in daily ministry. And I receive affirmation. I’m so grateful to these thoughtful people for sharing their time and wisdom all this year.

This advisory committee is entering a new phase in their work. They are preparing to write an evaluation of my progress in the last year. This evaluation will be submitted along with other evaluations to the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee, who will determine if I will receive what they call a “renewal.” This is a statement that the UUA approves of my work and that I’m one step closer to receiving Full Fellowship as a UU minister.

As part of the advisory committee’s evaluation work, it’s important that they understand the quality of my relationships with individual congregants and the congregation as a whole. The committee welcomes your thoughts and feelings on how I’m doing. I welcome it, too!

One note about giving feedback: Because we are all in covenant, we ask that anyone offering feedback tell us who they are.This allows the committee and I to respond – perhaps to offer context or make amends –  or simply to say thank you. Anonymous feedback doesn’t allow for any of those important relationship-building practices.

If you’d like to reach out to them, please click on their names below. Your feedback helps me become a better minister, so please reach out!

The Advisory Committee

Larry Alei
Kelsey Atherton
Elizabeth Berrey
Judy Goering
Gilbert Gutierriez
Carla Williams


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