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.

The second step is a renewal process during the Interim period. Skyland Church will use the reVision program.

The third step is to search for and “call” a settled minister.

Search for the new Interim Minister

After Stephen leaves we will choose a temporary pastor known in the UCC system as an Interim Minister. This is a specialized position in ministry that does more than fill the gap between the old and the new (settled) pastor. For most churches this is an important time of rediscovery of their identity, their calling, and the role they want to play in their community. The Interim Minister is generally skilled in working with congregations in these processes of rediscovery as well as the search for a new pastor. They do not nor can they become the final or settled pastor.

To find an Interim Minister, a committee of interested church members, the Interim Search Committee or ISC, is formed to work with the UCC conference pastor, Daniel Ross-Jones in our case. The ISC puts together a church and job description along with a few other details about the church and gives it to Daniel who posts the position on the UCC employment opportunities board. Daniel will then work with those interested in the job to match up applicants with our situation and needs. Once he identifies 4 – 6 applicants likely to be a good fit, their information is given to the ISC. They use a uniform set of questions to interview each applicant and choose one to present to the council. Once approved by the council the moderator and treasurer meet for final negotiations. The chosen person is then presented to the church as our Interim Minister.

The entire process can easily take two or more months. It is possible that an Interim Pastor can be in place as early as August 1, but it is more likely that it will be 2 – 4 weeks later.

The members of the Interim Search Committee are: John Heyes, Glenda McCalla, Gerald Alonzo, Nancy Jo Lopp and Chair, Jackie Seymour.

The search for and hiring of an Interim Minister is the first step of our path toward a final, settled minister. The subsequent journey on that path is the rediscovery/revisioning process after which we begin our search for our settled minister. The full process, which includes the Interim Period, can take from 1 – 3 years. We expect that for us it may take at least 1 ½ years, perhaps longer.

To view the progress of the search for an Interim Minister in a larger poster please click here. 

reVision Program

In March, 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 March 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.