The resource A Pilgrimage Through Transitions and New Beginnings** supports a congregation from an ending to a beginning – from the time of saying "goodbye" to your current pastor, through the season of transition and interim leadership, and finally to the welcome and installation of your new pastoral leader. Pilgrimage is a long-time resource of Parish Life and Leadership (now the MESA Ministry Team); please note that some of its sample resources and referenced websites are outdated. It is expected that both authorized ministers and local churches will work closely with Conferences and Associations while engaged in searching for, calling, and covenanting together for ministry; Conferences and Associations may also provide more current materials for the interim and search-andcall processes.
In Pilgrimage, opportunities for biblical reflection and intentional discernment are incorporated alongside narrative material and relevant resources in six distinct sections:
Section 1: A Pastoral Vacancy - for the Departing Pastor and Governing Board. Resources from Section 1 available for editing in RTF: Sample Letter to Congregation, Liturgy of Farewell, Service of Recognition for Pastor Emeritus/a.
Section 2: Transition Time - for the Governing Board and the Interim/Transition Selection Committee. Resources from Section 2 available for editing in RTF include: Sample Interim Ministry Covenant and Liturgy for Blessing of the Interim.
Section 3: The Search and Call Process - for the Governing Board and the Search Committee. Resources from Section 3 available for editing in RTF: Liturgy for Commissioning a Search Committee, Sample Letter to Congregation, Sample Letters to Candidates, Interim Pastor Departure Liturgy.
Section 4: The UCC Local Church Profile - for the Search Committee, the Governing Board, and other groups/boards involved in the development of a Local Church Profile); the Local Church Profile is available in PDF, in Word, and from your local Conference or Association. Additional resources from Section 4 available for editing in RTF: Family Questionnaire, All Church Survey.
Section 5: Assessing Finances - for the Search Committee, the Governing Board, and financial boards involved in the process of developing a call agreement and compensation package. The call agreement, by its nature, should be prayerfully shaped according to the context of the call; the updated sample call agreement is not a boiler plate for call agreements, but it models the terms of a pastor-parish covenant, provides improved language on insurance and termination, addresses intellectual property, and outlines salary & benefits for full-time, part-time and interim ministers alike.
Section 6: The UCC Ministerial Profile - for the Search Committee; the UCC Ministerial Profile has a new format that Search Committees will begin to see in 2014. Resources from Section 6 available for editing in RTF: Sample Letters to Candidates.
Additional resources for congregations on the journey through Search and Call:
Clergy Compensation Guidelines. While each congregation creates its own compensation package based on the realities of its situation and setting, this resource is designed to support churches' understanding of the compensation categories (e.g. salary, housing, benefits, professional expenses). Conferences create financial guidelines based on regional costs of living, which can be found on Conferences' websites. The Clergy Compensation Guidelines and the Conference financial guidelines are companion resources for your church's development of a compensation package.
A Note to Small Churches: If you employ a part-time pastor, a seminary student or a licensed minister, you may find that some of the financial and organizational material in these resources do not apply to your situation. Even so, the Search and Call process described in A Pilgrimage Through Transitions and New Beginnings is intentionally designed to assist churches of all sizes, historic backgrounds, and geographic locations.
Sailing on Faith: Look Who God Sent. The person God sends may not be the person we thought we wanted! This video is an effective tool to help search committees ground the work of their search in discernment. Available on DVD and VHS, with study guide.
** For A Pilgrimage, we offer recognition and sincere gratitude to the Rev. Carole Carlson. Her experience as a local church pastor, Conference Minister, and resource person to Search Committees and Committees on Ministry, has informed the extensive and comprehensive information contained in this resource. Carole invested many months authoring A Pilgrimage Through Transitions and New Beginningsand an equally tireless effort in making this resource helpful to local church leaders and pastors.
As you embark on the journey of transitioning to new pastoral leadership, you are in our prayers. We value the partnership we share with local churches, Conferences and Associations in the ministry of Jesus Christ through the Search and Call process of the United Church of Christ.Blessings in your search and in your discernment.