The Interim Period
Skyland Church is currently in an “interim period,” the transition time between a settled pastor’s leaving, and a new settled pastor’s arrival. This is an important time for rediscovery of a church’s identity, their calling and the role that they want to play in their community.
The first step is to find an interim minister.
Reverend Kevin Omi began serving as our intentional interim minister on September 24.
The second step is a process of discernment and revitalization.
With the guidance of Reverend Omi, Skyland Church will review the five focus areas defined for transitional ministry: heritage, leadership, mission, connections, and future.
Much of the early part of this work will take place via the reVision program with Daniel Ross-Jones, our Associate Conference Minister beginning on January 6, 2019 with the 90 day small group journey.
The third step is to search for and “call” a settled minister.
Skyland Church will follow the UCC protocols to form and commission a search committee for a settled minister.
We have an exciting year ahead of us in 2019, including regular Sunday services, reVision, and Interim Time activities. Rev. Kevin has created a consolidated roadmap that sequences our activities so we don’t have too much going on in a given month.
With the reVision process beginning soon, we wanted to provide an update of the coming months. We have identified the core leadership for the reVision program: Rev. Kevin Omi, Deana Arnold, Jackie Seymour and Anne Evans. Rev. Daniel Ross-Jones is our official coach from the NCNC UCC, and Rev. Kevin will act as our on-site coach. Our small-group leaders are Marcia Rollins, Jan Swayne and Jeremy Cole in addition to the core leaders, Deana Arnold, Jackie Seymour and Anne Evans.
On November 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be training for all of these leaders, developed and conducted by Rev. Daniel and Rev. Kevin using the reVision program. This training will encompass small group processes and theology, and preparations for the 90-day journey.
Following the Nov. 3 training, the small-group leaders will receive emails to help them further prepare for the 90-day journey. The core leaders, along with Rev. Kevin and Rev. Daniel, will also continue to plan for the 90-day small-group meetings, which will begin on Epiphany, January 6, 2019. Worship services tied to the themes and scripture of reVision will also be planned for the 90-day journey. Every church member and regular participant in our activities will be asked to sign up for a small group so everyone can feel that they are part of this important process.
Beginning on Jan. 6, there will be one meeting per small group every two weeks for 90 days. Hopefully we will have 4-5 small groups with two co-leaders per group. Because the small groups will meet during the wintertime and some of the leaders work full-time, the small groups will likely meet on the weekends, but each group can decide the best time for them.
Rev. Kevin is excited to begin this journey with Skyland Church, and has been encouraging and supportive to all the lay leaders who are willing to volunteer their personal time to help our church grow and listen for where God is calling us to go, as we begin reVision and move through this Interim Time.
Discernment and Openness: 90-Day Journey
90-Day Journey – “Be Open”
The small-group work will encompass discernment, spiritual practices, and time for generating ideas.
Discernment: Discernment is rooted in our relationship with God. It calls us to be open to the God of surprises and possibilities. In discerning, we seek to distinguish the voice of the Divine Caller from the many other voices in our environment and culture. It requires that we pray and reflect on the real question before seeking answers; it asks us to generate a wider range of options instead of settling for the familiar. Discernment involves opening our entire selves to the work of the Holy Spirit. It bids us to let go of preconceived ideas so that we can be open to new possibilities with a readiness to view things from new perspectives. (Suzanne Farnham: Grounded in God)
Spiritual Practices will include individual and group practice, i.e., prayer, meditation, reading and discussing scripture, fasting, tithing money or time, and journaling.
Idea generation: Ideas arise out of interviews of each other and of neighbors in the community, as well as out of the talents, gifts and passions of our whole congregation.
The ideas generated in the small groups are presented and discussed at the Convergence Summit in April in front of the whole congregation and any interested community members. New groups form around their chosen ideas and proposals are developed for the Action Summit in June.
The reVision Program
In March 2018, the congregation voted unanimously to participate in the reVision program. In this program, churches work with curriculum and a coach to deepen their connection to God, to each other and to the wider community and world.
ReVision gives us fresh insights and energy as we look to the future. The program is designed to go deeply into our spiritual lives, both individually and together, and help us attune ourselves more fully to what we feel God is calling us to do in our community and in the world. Our associate conference minister, Daniel Ross-Jones, is also excited about what this program could do for our church. He would be our coach throughout the process.
The currently planned timeline includes training for small-group leaders and our Interim Minister in the Fall of 2018, and a series of seven small-group meetings beginning in January 2019. This phase is spread out over about 90 days and includes devotions, reading, discussing Christianity for the Rest of Us by Diana Butler Bass, and beginning to listen for inspirations from God together.
A “Convergence Summit” would be held in April where everyone in our congregation could meet to discuss the inspirations conceived in the small groups and decide together which ones to pursue. “Proposal Teams” would then work with the coach to develop projects based on the inspirations. Later in the year at an “Action Summit,” each team would present a plan to implement their project to the congregation. The church would then decide which projects to implement.
By participating in the reVision process together, we will strengthen our connections to God and to each other and jump start some new ministries in our community.