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Messiah’s pastoral transition process begins - a report from the CLT about its first meeting with the Bishop’s office

The Church Leadership Team met with Pastor Rebecca Shjerven from the SWWA Synod on January 9 to discuss the transition process for Messiah's next pastors. We wanted to share this information with you. As Pastor Shjerven explained, the process consists of four phases, some of which will overlap.

A Fulfilling Farewell
The first phase is "A Fulfilling Farewell." During this phase, the Leadership Team and the Congregation will determine how we want to use this time between now and August 31, when the Pastors will retire. Included in this is identifying what information the Pastors have that will be needed to be passed on. We will want to decide what events we want to host to celebrate and give thanks for these past years together. This period should be an opportunity for the congregation to celebrate and thank the pastors for their service and help them transition into retirement. We will need to select a person or group of people for this phase to plan and coordinate these celebrations.

Congregation Self-Study
The second phase, which can start during the first phase, is clarifying Messiah's Mission and Ministry (congregational self-study). This phase will require several volunteer members to be part of a "Transition Team." During this phase, the Transition Team will meet with and get input from members of the congregation to identify the characteristics of our congregation, our programs, and which are most important to us. They will also identify our goals for our congregation. The process will also identify the congregation's priorities in worship, ministry, and partnering with others. During this process, the Transition Team will consider the need for one pastor with or without an associate pastor or the need for co-pastors. This phase will help us identify our needs for an Interim Pastor/Team and prepare us for completing our Ministry Site Profile used to make our next call. This phase will probably take two to four months.

The Call Process
The third phase is the Pastoral Search (Call Process). Under our Constitution, a call committee of at least six members will be appointed by the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team leadership will consider broad representation on the committee, including members from different campuses, longer-term and newer members, and members of varying age groups. This committee working with the Synod, will review candidates and conduct interviews to make a recommendation to the congregation to issue a new call. Finally, the Congregation at a special meeting will vote on the call, requiring two-thirds majority approval to call the new Pastor(s). This phase will likely take about six months.

Welcoming New Pastoral Leaders
The final phase is the Welcoming of the New Leader(s). In this phase, we will consider how we will introduce the new pastor (and possibly family) to the congregation. How will we help him/her/them get settled and oriented in the community? What will the "onboarding" process look like? Who will be the point people for coordination of our Welcoming?

Volunteering to Participate
If you would like to volunteer for roles in any of the phases above, the CLT would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Sally (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), and she will forward your name to the appropriate CLT member.

A final item to note is that this process will likely take more than eight months, and therefore, we will need an interim Pastor(s)/Team for some length of time. However, this time will help us as a congregation adjust to the loss of our pastors and better prepare us to accept a new pastor and the blessing they will bring, which will be different from our current pastors.

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