Pastoral Transition

In April 2016, Pastor Tim Johnson retired after serving Cherokee Park United for 35 years. In June 2016, Reverend M. Joy Smith was hired as our Transition Pastor.

The transition period is not just a waiting period before we call a new pastor who will come in and tell us what to do. Rather, it is a time for us to clearly examine ourselves, actively listen for the Spirit’s calling, and transform our church to be Christ’s body for our community and the world today. Between now and when we call a new pastor, the CPUC Transition Ministry has identified the below tasks for our community to undertake. These tasks were approved by the CPUC Council on 4/20/17:

  1. Reaffirm our relationship with the UCC and the PCUSA.
    We are a joint ministry of the Presbyterian Church, USA, and the United Church of Christ. However, many of our members have little contact or understanding of either institution. By learning about our connections, we will reinforce our foundations, and may find new connections.
  2. Reaffirm our commitment to Anti-Racism.
    Anti-racism is a core belief among many members and animates many of our activities. If we are to continue this emphasis, we should be clear that we feel that this is a calling. Energy for anti-racism activities requires a sense of passion, not just doing something for the sake of doing it.
  3. Identify the Needs of the Community and What We’re Called to Do.
    Building Blocks was created because the church wanted to grow members by engaging with the community in the context of a community need. Animating activities, that draw in people and further the work of justice and redemption, are inherently beneficial to the church. They clarify what it is we stand for.
  4. Facilitate a Conversation About Who We Want to Be.
    • Who we are or who we have been are important things to know because they help us decide who we want to be.
    • What are our particular talents and passions?
    • What specifically is God calling us to do?
    • What activities do we need to start doing?
    • What activities do we need to stop doing so we can put resource behind what we need to do?
  5. Write a Mission Statement.
    Knowing who we are, and what we’re called to do will make it easier to put into words what the mission of CPUC is. Everything that we do going forward should flow from our mission.
  6. Define Decision Making Structure of the Church.
    Before calling a new pastor we need to be crystal clear about the types of decisions and authority we delegate to the Pastor, to the Council, to the staff, to the Ministry Teams, and to the members.
  7. Restructure Committees (Ministry Teams).
    Determine what ministry teams need to be created to serve the new mission, and what teams can be modified or combined to facilitate that. One of the needs of the church identified in 2016 was that people feel pulled in too many directions. Doing fewer things, and doing them better, is a mandate from the congregation. Nobody should feel like they need to be on four committees.
  8. Determine Financial Priorities / Long Term Plan.
    Do we need a full time pastor? Do we need to hire a part time secretary? How do we pay for a new heating system? Is our financial plan realistic? Too conservative? Not conservative enough?
  9. Create a Personnel Ministry.
    Success for our Pastor, Music Director, and Nursery Attendant depend on clear communication and direction. Our current management structure needs to be modernized, including regular performance reviews so employees can be affirmed in their skills and gifts.
  10. Growth Conversation.
    With our new mission in mind, are there opportunities to draw in new people/energy with new activities? Is there a focus area (geography, demographic, etc.)? When people step through the door, what do they find? How do we integrate new people? So many of us have known each other so long, are we unintentionally a closed system?
  11. Stained Glass Resolution.
    A stained glass task force has been formed and will soon begin meeting to propose a long term solution to the issue of the window in the sanctuary.
  12. Music Program.
    Music is one of the strengths of our church. What can we do to make sure it stays that way for the forseeable future?

The Transition Ministry Team and Pastor Joy will facilitate these tasks, and will work closely with the CPUC Council, Ministry Teams, and the entire church. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. Some items will need to come before others, some are already underway. This is not an easy list. We anticipate addressing these items will take us at least 12 months. Once we have done the work of defining who we are and what we want to be, it will make the search for a new pastor easier, because we will know what skills and calling will be the best fit.

This is our church, and we have been blessed with the opportunity to define it for the next generation. It is truly an exciting time to be in the CPUC community. If you feel the Spirit calling you to one or more of these tasks in particular, please contact Pastor Joy ([email protected]), or Transition Ministy Chair, Andy George ([email protected]).

Last updated on 5/14/17. 

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