On Sunday, April 29, the UUFR congregation voted to call Rev. John L. Saxon as our new Lead Minister, and John accepted the congregation's call. See below for a video of the recent congregational meeting where we elected Rev. John.
John is currently serving as UUFR's assistant minister, and he will continue to serve as assistant minister until July 2012.
The Ministerial Search Committee is excited ad confident in our belief that John Saxon is the right person to serve our congregation as Lead Minister, to take UUFR into its future.
John epitomizes a warm, welcoming pastoral presence. The sense of trust he has engendered in his relationships will be a positive force for increasing membership, building community, and making deep connections with people at vulnerable times in their lives. John's active interest in fund raising and stewardship is probably a rarity among potential candidates. His many skills and talents are a great match for UUFR.
John has an impressive and rich background. Looking back on John's life to date, we can see that it consisted of stepping stones that have led him to this position and prepared him for it. John's entire career prior to his becoming a UU minister demonstrates a powerful personal commitment to social service and justice. In his college years he was actively involved in the anti-war and the women's rights movements. Later he was a pre-school teacher with underprivileged children in rural Alabama and Florida. As a lawyer, John practiced on the side of the marginalized with the US Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, and as a legal aid attorney in three states. He has been a campus ministry coordinator and a hospital chaplain. At UNC Chapel Hill, John was a Professor of Public Law and Government.
As a UU lay leader, John taught children’s religious education, chaired stewardship campaigns, served as secretary, vice-president and board president of Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and he helped to found the UU Congregation of Hillsborough. John's wife, Miriam, is an Episcopal priest. They have two children and two grandchildren.
John is aware of and accepts the charge that our Lead Minister should more actively challenge the congregation to speak and live our values in the community. John has already begun playing a crucial direct role in making UUFR's presence and our message better recognized in the Raleigh community by engaging with other ministers and lay groups who share our vision and commitment to social service and action.
We seven of the Ministerial Search Committee strongly and unanimously recommended Rev. John Saxon to be the next Lead Minister of UUFR. We put a strenuous effort into making this recommendation. It was not a simple task. Because John was already our Assistant Minister, the Committee was required by UUA rules to make a decision on him before considering any other candidates. So, we had to be convinced that he would have been our choice even if we had interviewed other candidates. And we are indeed convinced. We explain this further in the transcript of our April 1 Sunday announcement.
The Ministerial Search Committee:
Wendy Gates Corbett
Art Lieberman Lynne Myers