The departure of a pastor sets in motion a long-established process of discernment and selection of the church’s next pastor. At this point (November, 2022), the church is patiently awaiting word on a selection from the Pastor Nominating Committee.
Transition Team Update: November 16, 2022
Throughout the spring and summer, the PNC received names of candidates from the Center for Healthy Churches. They were pre-screened by CHC for emotional maturity, excellent preaching, and administrative skills.
Reviewed sermons and other online materials.
Conducted approximately 15 half-hour interviews and followed by 2-hour interviews.
Met with some candidates in person in West Chester, sharing information about and showing the area.
Carried out numerous reference calls and continued with web searches.
As of today the PNC is focused on several highly qualified candidates who are interested in the role of Head of Staff at FPC. We are excited about the prospects and the continuing journey of discernment. Our goal is to do God’s will and each step involves waiting not only for the Holy Spirit, the combined schedules of candidates, the PNC, and Presbytery. We are so grateful for your trust and patience during this long process, and are looking forward to all that lies ahead.
Transition Team Update: January 20, 2022
The PNC has completed our church profile, a time-consuming and critical task to begin our search. Thank you to the many people who have contributed to this task, including Pastor Caroline, church staff, many church committee members, and fellow congregants. We appreciate all your contributions and insight! A special thanks to committee members Brooke Gamble and Ellen Endslow who put in many hours to compile the information we gathered and design the finished product. This profile will be available to everyone soon on our website home page in the quick links section titled “Pastoral Transition”. This profile will be used by both our consultant as a recruiting tool and by our candidates to provide an overview of our church community.
The next step is for us to have our Ministry Information Form (MIF), which is required by the Presbytery before we can begin our search, approved. Once the MIF is posted on the national Presbytery website, our search will officially begin.
We have also started to prepare for the interview process by developing a list of core traits that are essential in our next Head of Staff. These have been identified through our congregational conversations and interviews with staff and former pastors. From this list, we are now preparing interview questions to use throughout our search. In our weekly meetings from now through early February, we will review these questions and prepare to receive applications and proceed with the qualified candidates for the Head of Staff position.
Please pray for God’s hand to guide us as we prepare for the next stage of the search process.
Transition Team Update: November 10, 2021
Thank you to everyone who attended the recent Congregational Conversations. Between the two sessions, we had over 80 people in attendance and very much appreciate your engagement! We had a team of people present an update of the work that's being done on our Transition Objectives and what has yet to be done.
If you have questions or comments (concerns or appreciations!) that you'd like to share, please reach out:
· Vision: PJ Dakes - Transition Team
· Staffing: George Zumbano - Personnel Chair
· Finance: Bob Smith - Finance Chair
· Properties Committee: Glenn Burkland - Chair
· Leadership Structure Review: Beth Congdon-Marin
· Communications: Kathy Westhafer - Transition Team
Transition Team Update: August 4, 2021
On Sunday August 1, the Transition Team hosted a Congregational Conversation with more than 100 people from our congregation in attendance. Several members of Session and the Transition Team, and Rev. Bill Wilson from the Center for Healthy Churches, presented a summary of the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT survey) along with the interpretation from the Holy Cow consultants. They also shared the themes that are being developed to guide the creation of our church's goals and reviewed the next steps in the transition process. Attendees divided up into small groups and shared their hopes and dreams for our church and next pastor. All of the input is being compiled and organized and the Transition Team will share your feedback in the next two weeks.
Please reach out to a member of the transition team with questions.
Elizabeth Guman – 610.308.4017
Doug Sherman – 484.888.2324
Kathy Bird – 610.655.5220
Kathy Westhafer – 610.306.4150
Caroline Cupp – 484.459.8220
Transition Team Update: June 9, 2021
Congregational Survey - Update
We had over 280 members take the congregational survey. THANK YOU!!
The Session dedicated our May 18 meeting to an online meeting with a consultant from Holy Cow (the company that administers the CAT Survey) to review the survey results. She was impressed with the engagement of our members in the survey, which was higher than most churches.
We spent 2.5 hours with her and gained a lot of valuable information. And there’s more to come! Session and staff are having a leadership retreat this Friday and Saturday. During that time we plan to dig deeper into what the survey results are telling us about where God is leading First Pres.
The survey and retreat are critical steps in the first Transition Objective: Develop a shared understanding of our identity and what is important to us in our ministry. This will lay the groundwork for determining the characteristics of our next senior pastor.
Our retreat is being led by Bill Wilson, who works with churches across the country during times of transition. You will have the opportunity to hear from him as he will be preaching at both services on Sunday, June 13.
After the retreat we will put together a report of the survey results and the retreat results to share with the congregation.
Please keep the Session and staff in prayer during this important step in our transition work.
Transition Team Update: May 3, 2021
To help us in preparing our Transition Study, we are conducting a survey of the congregation using the Church Assessment Tool (CAT). This tool will provide a clearer picture of our congregation and what might be important for our future. Your response is very important to us.
We're asking all members to complete the survey before May 7, 2021.
All answers are strictly anonymous. We have no way of matching any assessment to a particular person, so please feel free to candidly share your perceptions, opinions and experiences. The assessment will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, and it should be completed in one sitting. Our future together is dependent on your participation and honest answers.
Work is underway to implement the Transition Objectives: two of those actions are putting the new Deacon parish model in place and executing a comprehensive communication plan. In May we'll hold the next Congregational Conversations so watch for more details coming your way in the mid-week emails and other church announcements.
Transition Team Update: March 24, 2021
Thank you to all who participated in February's Congregational Conversation sessions. Session reviewed the notes from all the groups at our March meeting and wanted to share the results with all of you.
We prepared a summary of the conversations that can be viewed below. (We are sending this out hard copy to those who are not accessing our digital communications.)
We will be conducting a Congregational Survey as part of our Transition Study in April. We have begun implementing work on the Transition Objectives: two of those actions are putting the new Deacon parish model in place and implementing a comprehensive communication plan. And in May we'll hold the next Congregational Conversations.
Transition Team Update: November 24, 2020
The Transition Team continues to meet monthly to shepherd the transition process of our church. We have supported Bob in his onboarding to First Pres. We have begun researching options for the formal Mission Study process, which will likely start after the new year. Meantime, the informal part of the Mission Study process is well underway. Bob has having individual meetings with staff to understand their work, their vision for the future and where they need support. He has also been doing individual meetings with Session members, gaining insight to our church's leadership body and the specific committees and their work. Bob has also met with Presbytery to get their guidance on the study process. We also continue to work with Barb Snyder on the Prayer Ministry and very much appreciate all who participate in the monthly prayer sessions and weekly prayer focus areas (remember to join us on prayer on Thursdays at noon!)
Transition Team Update: August 12, 2020
The Transition Team, also serving as the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC), is in the process of receiving and reviewing resumes from a number of applicants. Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing qualified candidates to learn more about their ministry experiences and their interest in First Pres. We ask for your prayers as we meet with these candidates. We continue to receive guidance from COM (the Presbytery committee that supports churches in transition). Caroline has been approved by Session and COM to moderate Session until an Interim is in place.
The Transition Team has hosted two Town Hall sessions on Zoom with about 40 members participating in the discussions. A third Town Hall session is scheduled for Sunday, August 23 at 10:00 a.m. Questions from these town hall sessions have been collected in a Pastoral Transition FAQ document, soon to be available. Communication during this transition process is an important element in our journey to call a new head pastor.This is a time for prayer and discernment, a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we see God leading us. You will have an opportunity to join others in praying for this transition during the weekly individual prayer time on Thursdays at noon, and collectively at virtual prayer sessions. The first virtual prayer session is scheduled for Sunday, August 16 at 10:15 a.m.
Through the website and other communications, the Transition Team will continue to provide more details as we move through the transition process, as well as answer questions you may have. Transition Team members are available to meet with any groups to discuss the process and answer questions. If you’d like to schedule a team member to meet with your group, or if you have questions or comments for the team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates on the pastoral search will continue to be shared in the mid-week emails, the church website, and in the bi-monthly newsletters.
Transition Team Update: July 1, 2020
The Transition Team, also serving as the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC), has begun to advertise the Interim Pastor position through the church website as well as a number of channels. We expect to begin receiving resumes very soon.
Through the website and other communications, the Transition Team will continue providing more details as we move through the transition process, as well as answering any questions you may have. Transition Team members are also available to meet with any groups to discuss the process and answer questions. If you’d like to schedule
a team member to meet with your group, or if you have questions or comments for the team, please email us at email@example.com.
Since we are not physically together, please stay tuned to weekly emails and other communications for the details of this virtual Congregational Meeting as well as information about how we will be celebrating Greg’s time with us.
Transition Team Update: June 7, 2020
The Transition Team is hard at work planning for Greg’s pastoral transition. The team has met twice with the Executive Presbyter, Stated Clerk, and Committee on Ministries representative from Donegal Presbytery, the first meeting with Session and the second with just the Transition Team. These meetings provided information on the transition process and provided an opportunity to ask clarifying questions.
The Transition Team is currently in the planning phase and will be able to communicate an overall timeline in the near future.
What has been done to date:
Planning to celebrate Greg’s ministry is underway
Planning to round out the Sunday preaching schedule is underway
Session voted to approve the Transition Team as the Interim Pastor Search Committee. A job description for an interim pastor has been drafted.
Transition Team Members are Doug Sherman, Elizabeth Guman, Kathy Westhafer, Kathy Bird, and PJ Dakes.