Pastoral Transition – What You Need to Know
Since Pr. Joe announced his retirement (his last day is September 29th) we know there have been many questions as to future staffing and/or another pastor for Community, so we hope these FAQs put together by Pr. Joe and Pr. Annabelle will be helpful.
1. Will we still be able to visit with or hang out with Pr. Joe and Debra?
Pastors are asked to leave their last congregation for a time so that the congregation and new pastors have time to get to know each other and build trust. Pr. Joe and Debra will be friendly
2. What will happen moving forward?
At this time, we do not know what configuration we might have moving forward. We need time to grieve Pr. Joe and Debra’s leaving and give thanks and celebrate their ministries here. After a time of prayer and discernment, and conversations between the congregation and the synod, we will better know who or what we are looking for. This is a time to give thanks for where we’ve been and look forward with excitement to where God is leading us!
3. Who will be taking Pr. Joe’s place?
We will begin conversations at the council level and with our Bishop to discern how to move forward. When the last pastoral vacancy occurred we spent time as a congregation in prayer and discernment, we had meetings and conducted surveys. Out of this a profile for a pastor became clear and a call committee was formed. We may call another pastor or focus on a Director of Children and Family Ministries, or both (as was our goal with the “Welcoming All, Building Up” Appeal).
Pr. Annabelle and Pr. Joe have been serving as co-pastors for three years now (after extended discussions with the synod, personnel committees, and Council, this was approved by Council on June 16th – see reverse). Pr. Annabelle will be serving as a solo pastor for the foreseeable future, which will give us time to pray, discern, and plan.
4. Will Pr. Annabelle have any help after Pr. Joe leaves?
Yes! We are all members of the Body of Christ and, as such, we all participate in the ministries of this place and make them possible. We all will be working together to continue the fantastic ministries CLC is known for. When Pr. Tiffany left Pr. Paul Opsahl helped to provide pastoral support and then Pr. Margrethe Kleiber served for a time as an interim pastor with Pr. Joe. We may choose to do something similar contracting with a pastor to help support Pr. Annabelle. There are also funds for supply pastors so Pr. Annabelle (and Jeff) can have time away to refresh in order to be able to serve here at 100%. Again, we may contract with another pastor for a time until we can discern who or what we’re looking for.
For the past several months, the Personnel Team and the Council have been working on ratifying a covenant between Pr. Joe and Pr. Annabelle called “Team Ministry and Co-Pastorate.” This covenant and movement towards a co-pastorate began in 2016 with Pr. Joe’s Sabbatical and has continued in conversation with the Synod Office, the Bishop, and CLC’s Personnel Committees. It is a representation in writing of what Pr. Joe and Pr. Annabelle have been living for their time in ministry together with both reporting to the Council as their supervisors.
On June 16, 2019, the Council voted on and accepted this document as the covenant by which Pr. Joe and Pr. Annabelle would abide as long as they were at CLC together. In light of Pr. Joe’s retirement, it is their hope that this understanding of team ministry would be helpful in having conversations moving forward as Pr. Annabelle and the congregation discern with the assistance of the Synod Office where God is leading us. In the words of the covenant:
Should Pastor Joe leave, Pastor Annabelle will have the ability to discern whether or not to stay and what form that might take. Should Pastor Annabelle leave, Pastor Joe will have the ability to discern whether or not to stay and what form that might take. Should we both leave, the congregation will have the opportunity to discern with the work of an intentional interim to what God may be calling them. In any of the above scenarios, the Synod and Bishop will be included in these conversations and the discernment process.