Our Pastor Transition Process
The Westhampton Congregational United Church of Christ is in a period of transition as we seek a new pastor. This will not be a quick process, so we want to give you an idea of how the process will unfold and what to expect.
The tradition practiced in the United Church of Christ of “calling” a pastor affirms the active presence of God’s Spirit in the search process. The entire congregation will be invited to be part of a self-study and community learning process to help discern together our church’s future vision and pastoral needs for ministry. Only then will we prayerfully seek a pastor with the particular gifts and skills we identify needing to help further our mission, while recognizing that candidates are also engaged in a Spirit-led discernment process. Because of this need for self-reflection, the timeline for seeking and calling a new settled pastor is fluid, and generally takes from 1 to 3 years.
We will keep you informed on a regular basis as we move forward through this process.
What follows is a brief overview of what to expect:
1. Our church profile has been completed and posted on the UCC Ministry Opportunities website for our
conference. At this time we are seeking an intentional Interim Pastor. The role of the interim pastor is not to be a candidate for the position as our “settled” pastor, but to help facilitate a successful transitional season, with specific tasks that prepare the congregation to call its next settled pastor. The interim will also provide continuity in worship, pastoral care, and program oversight over the next year or so. Our hope is to identify an interim pastor by summertime.
2. After the interim pastor is in place, the Church Council will commission an official Pastoral Search Committee. The Interim Pastor will work with the Search Committee and the entire congregation to do the hard work of self-assessment and visioning to discern our church’s future direction and needs. Based on this important interim work, the search committee will complete a new church profile to seek a settled pastor.
3. At that point, our profile and open position will be shared with UCC clergy across the country. Our search committee will read ministerial profiles, screen candidates, conduct interviews, check references, and eventually select a candidate who will be recommended to the entire congregation. The goal is for the congregation to elect, in a unified way, a new pastor whose gifts God can use with us and among us to further the Gospel.
We are embarking on an exciting and important time in the life of our congregation. It is important that everyone who loves and cares for this church and sees its value in our community get involved and constructively engaged in this Spirit-led process.
We are looking forward to taking this daunting, yet enriching, journey together!
~ The Worship and Spirituality Committee (aka...Deacons)