Transitions At Unity

Unity Presbyterian has had many pastoral transitions during its 230 years of ministry and missions. In November of 2017, Senior Pastor Dan Holloway retired after more than 28 years of service to the Unity congregation. Before Dan retired, Unity, in collaboration with the Presbytery, began an intentional process that included celebrating his ministry, as well as obtaining an interim senior pastor for the congregation, and starting the necessary steps that lead to the calling a new “called and installed” senior pastor.

Since his arrival in December of 2017, Senior Interim Pastor Mark Diehl has been very active having discussions among church members and leaders on the next steps involved with our pastoral transitions, as well as preparing materials for all to review (many of which can be found here).


 Q: When the net is cast for the interim and senior pastors, is it limited to the PCUSA? 

 Q: When we search for the permanent pastor, will he/ she come in and “audition?” 

 Q: Can the interim become the installed pastor? 

 Q: What does the interim pastor typically look like? 

 Q: Do interims have particular training? 

 Q: Can the associate pastor be the interim? 

 Q: How do potential ministers find out about either the interim or senior positions? 

Mission Study Team Members

Anne Cardozo
Kathryn Glenn
Steve Hardy
Strat Lake
John Lee
Lynn Ringley
Chuck Welfare

Contact any of them directly or at

Materials from Mark Diehl

More Information

Milestones Checklist

Bold Print indicates major milestones, check marks indicate completed tasks.

☑️ Announcement of Retirement of Senior Pastor

☑️ Interim Search Team activated

☑️ Retirement of former Pastor, Head of Staff 

☑️ Interim Pastor hired and begins 

☑️ Interim builds relationships and addresses immediate issues

☑️ Recruitment and approval by Session of two interim committees: the “History-to-Our-Story” Team and the Mission Study Team 

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) plans its approach to create a mission study process and formulate mission and vision statements for the congregation

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) interviews community leaders about perceptions of UPC by the community

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) compiles community demographics and congregational statistics

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) plans congregational survey, focus groups, and trains facilitators (if necessary)

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) receives congregational input regarding needs, opportunities, challenges, hopes, mission directions

☑️ “History-to Our-Story” Team (HOST) plans, enacts, and engages the congregation in the history of UPC up to the present time

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) analyzes congregational survey results

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) develops a vision statement and completes a mission study report based on all the input received and the discernment of the MSC.

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) presents its mission study report to the Session for approval or revision

☑️ The Session-approved Mission Study Report is presented to the Committee on Ministry (COM) for its approval

☑️ Mission Study Team (MST) presents the finalized Mission Study Report to the congregation

☑️ The Committee on Ministry (COM) authorizes congregation to nominate and elect a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)

☐ The Session authorizes a Nominating Committee to propose a representative slate to the congregation for election to the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)

The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) is elected

☐ The PNC is trained (by the Presbytery) and completes its process of writing a “Mission Information Form” that becomes the basis for candidates’ interest in the position at UPC. Much of the data for the “Mission Information Form” is provided in the Mission Study Report.

☐ The PNC begins receiving “Personal Information Forms” from clergy candidates and starts the process of discerning appropriate candidates

☐ The PNC narrows its candidates list; it begins interviews, checking references, and listening to sermons

☐ The PNC brings its short list of candidates for site visits

The PNC selects one candidate and determines that person’s willingness to be called

☐ The PNC presents its candidate for approval by the Committee on Ministry (COM) of the Presbytery.

Presbytery’s approved candidate is presented to the congregation at a called congregational meeting by the PNC. The congregation elects its next pastor. The Interim Pastor plans his/her departure.

The pastor-elect moves to UPC and is installed as its next pastor, head of staff