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Canton Unitarian Universalist minister resigns

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CANTON — After serving less than three years as minister, the Rev. David S. Blanchard has resigned from the Unitarian Universalist Church.

The resignation was effective April 6.

“It was his decision to resign,” Church Council President Charlotte C. Ramsay said. “He felt his vision for the church and his understanding of ministry did not mesh with the congregation. There’s a lot of sadness and regret that we didn’t match up better.”

The Rev. Mr. Blanchard had served as minister since Aug. 1, 2010, following predecessors K. Anne Marsh and Wade T. Wheelock, who retired in 2009 after 16 years. They had followed the Rev. Max A. Coots, who was the church’s minister for 34 years.

As a graduate of St. Lawrence University, the Rev. Mr. Blanchard was familiar with the Canton community before beginning his role.

With the assistance of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Ms. Ramsay said, her Church Council is seeking an accredited interim minister who would serve for two years.

A list of eight candidates was identified and one of those will be offered the interim job at noon Friday, Ms. Ramsay said.

Accredited interim ministers have experience helping congregations as they search for a permanent minister, she said.

The interim also will help identify issues within the congregation that need to be addressed to make the church healthier and stronger, Ms. Ramsay said.

The 200-member congregation has two ordained ministers, but neither has the interim accreditation that the Church Council is seeking, she said.

In the meantime, various guest speakers have addressed the congregation at Sunday services, which is a common tradition at the Unitarian Church.

Despite the situation, Ms. Ramsay said, positive things are in store for the church.

“At the same time we feel sadness, we foresee some very good things in store for the church,” she said.

“We feel we have a very strong and vibrant congregation.”

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