Pastor Nominating Committee
Update April 22, 2013
Report to the Congregation on Pastor Transition
delivered Sunday, April 21
by Lola Signom, Elder, Chair, Personnel Committee
In Sandy’s April 7 sermon on “Embracing Transition,” he quoted American author Marilyn Ferguson who said on the subject of transition – “It is not so much change that we fear.... What we fear is the in-between place.”
For the past many months, your Westminster Personnel Committee, as charged by Session, has been focusing on Westminster‘s upcoming “in-between place.” Of course, you know that I am referring to the time between Sandy’s leaving until a new Head of Staff is called by the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC).
Over the past 18 months, you have heard many updates from the Personnel Committee, including the most recent at our Annual Congregational Meeting in February. Today I would like to bring you up to date on what has been done since February and the most recent events.
In the Annual meeting update, I explained that the Committee has worked closely with all members of the Pastoral Staff to craft a plan for dividing up the key non-administrative Head of Staff responsibilities across the four Pastoral Staff members.
- The Staff initially proposed this approach, the Personnel Committee met with the four members of the Pastoral Staff to review the plan, to ensure fairness, and to confirm that the staff wholeheartedly agreed.
- The Reverend John Neely will act in a role analogous to that of a department chair in a University …in that he will prepare agendas for staff meetings and facilitate program coordination with staff members, as needed. As you are all aware, we have a highly competent and collaborative staff who are already functioning in a collegial manner and are confident this will continue.
As additional steps to ensure fairness and avoid staff overload during this in-between place, we have put plans in place for temporary assistance with Sunday School responsibilities and also for temporary, part-time administrative assistance to take over many of the time-consuming and important administrative tasks and free our ordained staff to carry out their new temporary responsibilities. This part-time role will also provide the additional administrative assistance that will be required by the PNC as they move forward with their task in calling a new Head of Staff (HOS).
You’ll recall we also recommended a temporary Visiting Pastor position. I should emphasize -- so there is no confusion --what this position IS and what it is NOT.
- This position IS a temporary, half-time position with the responsibility for leading worship and preaching up to three times per month, hospital visitation one day per week, and to act as moderator of Session for Westminster.
- This position IS NOT a HOS position or an Intentional Interim Pastor position.
Once the Position Description and this approach were approved by the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and by Session, the Personnel Committee swung into action to identify candidates for the Visiting Pastor Position. We reached out and received recommendations from our own Presbytery, from our two neighboring Presbyteries – Cincinnati and Scioto Valley – and from members of Session and the Personnel Committee.
As a Committee of the whole, we reviewed resumes, read and listened to sermons, and we conducted in-person interviews with five outstanding candidates.
In addition to the “Duties and Responsibilities” listed in the Position Description,” we also included a “Person Description” which identified eight required qualifications. We said the candidate should: …
- be a Presbyterian
- and a good preacher
- be collegial
- have the ability to work in a large multi-staff church
- have high integrity
- be pastoral
- be experienced
- be personable
Today, I am pleased to tell you that a person with all of those qualifications has been recommended and enthusiastically approved by Session and the Committee on Ministry. I am pleased to announce that The Reverend Tom York has been named to the temporary, half-time position of Visiting Pastor and Moderator of Session.
Some of you may know Tom. He retired in June 2012 from Knox Presbyterian Church in nearby Hyde Park, near Cincinnati, where he had served as HOS for 16 years. Prior to that, Tom served as HOS at Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus for 10 years. You will have an opportunity to meet Tom on the 12th of May when he will preach here for the first time. In the meantime, if you want to listen to some of Tom’s 2012 sermons, they are available on the Knox Church website.
We are preparing a brochure to help you understand the various responsibilities as they are now being discharged by our Pastoral Staff, and that will be available very shortly. We will also list the responsibilities on our church website.
Our commitment to you as your Personnel Committee is to communicate frequently, to listen and be open to your voice, to do everything we can to support our staff here at Westminster, during this in-between place – all in the name of loving God and neighbor. Thank you.
Update March 1, 2013
The PNC has written the Church Information Form to describe our church to pastoral candidates and to try to describe the person we are seeking as our Pastor/Head of Staff. This description will be available on the PC(USA) web site to any Presbyterian minister seeking a call. Click here to view the Church Information Form (CIF).
Update December 12, 2012
Click here to view the PNC Process Chart.
Update November 15, 2012
The PNC met for the first time on Wednesday, November 14. Pat Torvik was elected Chair, and Milt Ross was elected Vice Chair/Secretary. Additional information will be communicated as it becomes available.
Click here to read the bios of the PNC members.
Westminster Discernment Process Update
October 24, 2012
At its September 4th meeting the Session voted to approve the recommendations of the Personnel Committee concerning our Pastoral Transition. Then the Standing Nominating Committee was called into action.
The Westminster Code of Regulations states: When the need to call a Pastor occurs, the congregation shall elect a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) of nine members, after first seeking the guidance and
permission of the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of the Miami Valley. A slate of nine names, which shall include at least five members from the congregation at large, two active Elders, and one active Deacon, shall be presented to the congregation by the congregation’s Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee met in September with The Reverend Dr. Shelley Wiley, Westminster’s liaison from the Presbytery of the Miami Valley’s Committee on Ministry. Dr. Wiley discussed the guidelines from the Presbytery and helped us begin our discussions as to appropriate attributes for members of the PNC and some of the ways we could proceed. One important point was that we were to conduct our meetings without a pastor from Westminster.
We solicited names for the PNC from the congregation, both self-referrals and recommendations of church members, for three weeks. We received 193 recommendations!
The Session and Board of Deacons chose two active Ruling Elders and one active Deacon, respectively, to serve on the PNC.
Seeking God’s will and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we began our confidential discussions of the recommended members and the comments made on the recommendation forms. We decided that the PNC, as the “face” of Westminster, needs many qualities. PNC members should demonstrate that they share their time, treasure, talent, and that they are active in one or more aspects of the church. The nominees needed to accept a commitment ranging from 12 to 24 months of demanding committee work, be able to present Westminster and Dayton in a positive light, have the health and future of WPC as a focus, and trust in the Holy Spirit as their guide.
The Nominating Committee discussed the nominees from Session and Deacons and the gifts they bring to the PNC. To complete the slate, we considered individuals who would represent the diversity of the church (i.e. boards, committees, interest groups, age, tenure at WPC, service to the Miami Valley beyond the church, etc.), and particular gifts that each nominee would offer to the overall committee. We prayed for guidance in our discernment both individually between meetings and as a group when we were together. In the end we chose, prayerfully, six nominees to complete the slate.
Our committee met for three evenings in October and spent many hours preparing this slate of potential PNC members. It is our hope that you will enthusiastically embrace and encourage our nominees. These nine fellow members of Westminster will present the candidate to be the next Pastor of this church we all love.
If you have questions or comments about our process please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-361-5451) or one of the other members of the Standing Nominating Committee.
Yours in service to God and the Church,
Jane Collins, Chair
Other members of the Committee: David Leach, Brent Manley, Sue Merz, Gene Saunders, Sue Seeberger, Cliff Wild
Click here to read the bios of the proposed Pastor Nominating Committee members.
Westminster Discernment Process Update
September 13, 2012
Pastoral Transition Recommendation
in forming a
Pastor Nominating Committee approved.
Click here to read the complete information that was mailed to the congregation on September 13, 2012.
The church Nominating Committee is now seeking nominations for the Pastor Nominating Committee. Forms included in the congregational mailing and in this Sunday's bulletin may be mailed to or turned in at the Church Office. Or you may submit your nomination online using the form below.
Deadline for receiving nominations is Sunday, September 30.
Self-Nomination is appropriate.
Nominations are now closed.
Westminster Discernment Process
- Wall of Wonder
- Team A Report
- Team B Report
- Team C Report
- Team C Presentation
- Minute for Ministry (Vic Barnett, July 8, 2012)
Personnel Committee Report to Congregation presented at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, February 26, 2012
Lola Signom, Chair of Personnel Committee
It has been a very busy four months for the Personnel Committee since we gathered in October in Fellowship Hall immediately following Sandy’s announcement that he intended to request a meeting of the congregation to approve his request to retire in April 2013.
Many, or perhaps most of you, were at that meeting, and you’ll recall that Vic Barnett, as the outgoing Chair of Personnel, and I, as incoming Chair, explained that Session had charged the Personnel Committee with recommending a pastoral transition approach to Session no later than February 2012.
To further refresh your recollection at that meeting in October, we explained that:
- The new Book of Order and the recently updated Miami Valley Presbytery Pastoral Transition Manual allow more flexibility to congregations in approaches to pastoral transition, beyond the approach churches have traditionally used - an approach which mandated that pastoral transition processes could not begin until the incumbent pastor leaves.
- We also explained that no decision had been made as to the approach to be recommended, and that the Personnel Committee, in partnership with the Presbytery Committee on Ministry (COM), would be looking at alternatives and would make a recommendation to Session no later than February 2012, as Session had requested.
We heard many voices at that meeting, each expressing different points of view as to how to proceed - each one with the sincere interest of the church in mind. In the days following that meeting, both Personnel and the Presbytery continued to hear many voices through phone calls, letters and email - different voices, different points of view about how best to proceed.
In the weeks that followed, the Personnel Committee worked closely with the Miami Valley Presbytery Committee on Ministry. We met multiple times with The Reverend Shelley Wiley, Chair of the COM, to understand the process and our options. Shelley could not be here today as she is leading worship at Honey Creek Presbyterian, but we do have a representative member of the COM with us today, who is not a member of Westminster and therefore can speak on behalf of COM to Westminster, if need be. He is The Reverend Dr. Joe Hookey. Dr. Hookey would you please stand? Thank you.
So, as I said, the Personnel Committee met. We listened, we prayed, we studied, we compiled a history of WPC's continuous approach to Mission Self Study since the 2008 Visioning process, and we consulted continuously with COM. It was an iteractive process for Personnel and for Session, working closely with COM.
During Executive Sessions with Session, Sandy and John Shonle were excused. Sandy was excused because as outgoing Head of Staff, he does not participate in any decision making pertaining to pastoral transition. John Shonle was excused because he is in a temporary role of leadership rather than a “called” pastor.
John Neely served as moderator for the Executive Sessions with Session, with Shelley Wiley present during the February meeting.
About now you may be thinking to yourself when is this woman going to get to the point? I promise I will do that very soon, but I wanted to give you a sense of the process that the Personnel Committee, the Presbytery Committee on Ministry, and Session went through so that you will understand that we have done our best to ensure a careful and thoughtful process thus far, with consideration for all the voices raised.
The challenge, as the Personnel Committee saw it, was to find a process that would minimize the gap between the leaving of our current Head of Staff and the calling and arrival of either a an interim Head of Staff or a new, installed Head of Staff, while (and I underline this ) ensuring that appropriate care is given to receiving congregational and staff input as to the congregation’s readiness to begin a search process.
We realized that no one process guarantees success, but that we needed a process that respected all voices, was transparent, that nurtured church unity and, most important, that gave the opportunity for us as a congregation to discern where God is calling us.
Personnel wrestled with this challenge and we received some excellent guidance from COM.
- COM advised that the best option available to us to meet this challenge was a consultant-led discernment model that would occur while the current Head of Staff is in place, and that would address both the goal to minimize the gap between calling an interim Head of Staff or an installed Head of Staff, and also address the need for congregational input and discernment in this process.
- Under this approach, the Presbytery would put forth a small field of proven consultants who are experienced in working with Presbyterian Congregations to conduct a discernment process.
- From that list the Personnel Committee could then vet and recommend one consultant to Session, and Session would have the ultimate choice of the specific consultant.
- The chosen consultant would then initiate a discernment process that would heavily involve the congregation, and the outcome would be a determination as to whether we are ready as a church to form a Pastoral Nominating Committee.
Based on this input and with prayerful consideration, today I report that at the February meeting, Session approved the Personnel Committee’s recommendation that we conduct a discernment process to determine our church’s readiness to form a search committee for either an interim Head of Staff or an installed Head of Staff, and that this process be led by The Reverend Dr. Tom Castlen, who was one of the three consultants recommended by the Presbytery.
Dr. Castlen is a well known and respected ordained Presbyterian pastor, and an experienced leader in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with broad experience in pastoral, administrative, academic and consulting work.
Tom is a process consultant, which means that he guides and engages the congregation in the discovery process. The process will begin in March and conclude at the end of June. You will have a chance to meet Dr. Castlen on Sunday, March 11, when he will give a brief Minute for Ministry to explain more about the process. He will also be available after worship.
His process directly engages the Congregation in the following ways:
- All members of the Congregation will have an opportunity to take a survey on Sunday, March 25. This will give an opportunity for us to understand where we are as a congregation against a baseline of other congregations, and will be an important input to determining “who we are” today.
- In addition, three teams will be formed with five members of the congregation on each team.
- Team A will focus on “Coming to terms with history” – Where have we been over the last 30 years?
- Team B will focus on Understanding “who we are,” and “how all of what wedo” reveals “how we live out God’s call.” The survey will be one important input to this team.
Team C will focus on discerning “where God might be calling us to go.” This team will work to understand what new horizons might God open up for us.
- In addition, there will also be a focus group which will be made up of Teams A, B, and C, plus an additional 15 members of the congregation who will meet periodically to report on their progress, respond, and share their thoughts. The individual Teams, the entire Focus Group, and Session members will be working together with Dr. Castlen over next three months as part of this discernment process.
Today you are being asked to recommend participants for the three teams and focus group. At the end of my presentation, our ushers will hand out a nominations form for you to either put forth your own name or the name of another member you recommend to participate in one of the team or in the focus group.
There is more information on the form about each of the teams, which will help you make nominations appropriately. Your nominations are an important part of the process to ensure that all voices are heard, and that participation is open, transparent, and involves you in the process.
We will follow our church’s normal process for nominations, and the Nominating Committee will be meeting early in March to finalize team and focus group selections, so please either turn in your nomination forms today before you leave, or ensure they are in the office no later than next Sunday, March 4.
As I stated earlier, the outcome of this discernment process is to evaluate the congregation’s readiness to begin a search committee for either an interim Head of staff or to recommend to the Committee on Ministry that Westminster be granted permission to form a Pastor Nominating Committee.
With that, the ushers will now pass out the forms. Because we know that it is better to fill out the form now rather than taking it home with the best of intentions but ultimately leaving it lay blank on the kitchen counter, we would like to use about 5 or 10 minutes for you to make your recommendations. The ushers will collect your completed forms. Please send the forms to the end of the pew when you have completed them. There will be extra forms in the Narthex and the form will also be on our web site. All nominations are due by next Sunday, March 4.
And now …do you have any questions?
Recommendation for Discernment Teams
Deadline: This Sunday, March 4
Volunteers Needed - Three Teams (5 each)
Team A – five persons who can document where the church has been over the past 30 years. The five persons ought to include someone who is perceived as a long time “states person” and strong supporter of the life and work of the congregation, two skilled writers/discussion leaders, someone with some artistic talent to help with materials, and one person who can coordinate the team and keep it on schedule. (Timeframe—Periodically in Mar & Apr)
Team B – five persons who can document the status of our church today using a survey tool provided by our consultant. The team ought to include persons who have experience in analyzing survey reports including statistics, persons conversant with the wide range of congregational programs, a writer who can prepare a report on the findings for wider use in the congregation, and persons who are not anxious about change and are able to lead discussions on the survey findings, and one person who can coordinate the team and keep it on schedule. (Timeframe— Periodically in Mar, Apr, May, Jun)
Team C – five persons who can document ideas of where our church should go in the future. The group will use a book, a DVD, and meetings to assess our future. The team ought to include persons who have teaching skills, some who have a sense of history and its implications, one who has writing gifts, and those who are willing to grapple and dream about what God is calling Christians to be and do in the future. (Timeframe— Periodically in Apr, May, June)
Focus Group – 30 members (15 from the three teams above, plus 15 members in addition to the members of the three teams) - The goal is a representative group from a cross section of the congregation. Because of the importance of the project and the short time period, focus members must have a willingness and commitment to devote the time necessary for the “good of the congregation.” (Timeframe – Periodically April –June)
Selections and assignments will be made by the Nominating Committee based on recommendations received by the congregation through March 4.