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Senior Minister Search Update

The Search Committee is committed to providing you with all the latest information. We will post an update frequently in the bulletin, and that update will be shared here.  

Currently, there are two important updates with information on the Search. Click on either link to be taken to that letter or scroll down the page. We encourage you to read both to understand where we are and where we plan to go.

  1. An update from Search Committee Chairman, David Sams dated October 28, 2021
  2. A letter from our Moderator, Steve Higgins, on the process moving forward dated October 29, 2021

October 28, 2021

Dear Members and Friends of Community Church,

This is an exciting day in the nearly 100 year history of the Community Church of Vero Beach. Our entire committee is extremely pleased to nominate the Reverend Dr. Anna V. Copeland to be the next Senior Minster of Community Church. We unanimously and enthusiastically believe that she has the Christ-centered leadership, the experience, and the wisdom to be the next leader of this exceptional church.

As we have often heard Dr. Copeland say from the pulpit, God always does the unexpected, in God’s own time. For both Anna and our committee, nominating her was not anticipated, but God is doing a new thing, and we are all overjoyed to be a part of it.

As you know, our search has lasted nearly three years and we have all faced the challenges of the COVID pandemic and the major changes in our country and world. Nevertheless, our committee persevered with a search that was national in scope, reviewing nearly 200 potential candidates in addition to many more researched by our consultants. We met faithfully via Zoom and engaged clergy across the breadth of the UCC as well as other denominations. If there was one refrain we heard repeatedly during this time it was the assurance “you will know when you have found the right person.” And we came to know that Dr. Copeland is that person.

We also know that God has been with us throughout this process, as you, the members of the congregation, have faithfully prayed for us and supported us and waited for God’s timing. It is only with the upcoming expiration of Dr. Copeland’s interim commitment to our church that we have been able to consider her as a candidate for the permanent Senior Minister position.

It’s important to state here that at no time did Dr. Copeland pursue this position. Indeed, when we first spoke to her about it a few weeks ago, she waited to consider her response through conversations with her husband Ellis, trusted colleagues, and the leadership of the Florida Conference of the United Church of Christ. She accepted our invitation with their blessing and a conviction that she, like us, was responding to God’s call.

We believe Dr. Copeland is uniquely qualified for this position. Her credentials, beyond education and standing in the United Church of Christ, include experience ministering to large, multi-staff churches in Chicago, Colorado and Maine. She meets the criteria we outlined at the beginning of our search in myriad ways:

  • Inspired preaching and teaching
  • Integrity and sound ethical principles
  • An infectious love for people
  • Strong biblical foundation
  • A team player and team builder throughout the church staff and family, inspiring others to work together for organizational excellence
  • A strong communicator and good listener
  • Compassionate leader both within and outside the congregation
  • Embodies flexibility and adaptability to lead in the face of unexpected challenges
  • Visionary leadership for creative ministry, especially in these challenging times

It is rare when a congregation is able to observe a candidate up close and in the midst of such a challenging time. But that has been our opportunity and God’s blessing.

Thus, it is with joy, the unanimous support of the Search Committee and the affirmation of Church Council that we recommend Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland for Senior Minister of Community Church of Vero Beach.

In the coming weeks you will receive details of a congregational meeting, to vote on our recommendation following worship on Sunday, December 5, 2021.

In Christ,

SENIOR MINISTER SEARCH COMMITTEE
David Sams, Chair

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11-14


October 29, 2021

Dear Members of Community Church,

This is indeed an exciting time for The Community Church of Vero Beach! I would like to express my gratitude to Dave Sams, our senior minster search chair, and the entire senior minister search committee for their tireless efforts. I would also like to congratulate the Reverend Dr. Anna V. Copeland for receiving the unanimous support of the search committee and church council to be called as our next senior minister.

The church council did unanimously recommend on October 28, 2021 that we present Anna to the congregation as our next senior minister. Dave Sams will be providing a report on behalf of the search committee during this Sunday’s worship services. On December 5, 2021, Anna will be preaching her candidate sermon, which will then be followed by a congregational meeting to vote on Anna’s call. Per our bylaws, the vote will occur by written ballot. In order to vote, you must be in person, which is also stated in our bylaws. Assuming we have congregational approval, Anna will become our new senior minister, effective January 1, 2022.

Please join me once again in commending the senior minster search team for their efforts. On a personal note, I have had the extraordinary opportunity to work closely with Anna for nearly two years. I couldn’t be more excited about our church’s future under Anna’s leadership. She has an amazing vision for our future and the complete support from our lay leadership and church staff.

Thank you all for your unwavering support of The Community Church of Vero Beach. We have an amazing amount of momentum under Anna’s leadership!

In Christ,

Stephen M. Higgins
Church Moderator

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11-14