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Transitions At Unity

In May 2019, the congregation elected a “Pastor Nominating Committee” (PNC) to lead the efforts with discerning candidates for the new senior pastor position. Members of the PNC are Alex Sullivan, Beverly Tysinger, Christine Honeycutt, Karen Bonds, Scott Watson, Steve Hardy, and Strat Lake.

Q & A

A: Yes. As a PCUSA congregation the search will focus on a minister with those credentials.
A: No. The search committee will provide information to the congregation based on their extensive research and conversation with the candidate.
A: The PCUSA constitution will allow but it is very rare. The interim has a specific role to prepare the church leadership and the congregation for the next pastor. 

A: Often more experienced pastors, or those who have a call and skill set to be an interim / transitional pastor; someone who understands their role is to assist the congregation in moving forward. 
A: Yes, the PCUSA denomination has two levels of training 

A: Generally that is not done; not a good idea. Jeannie commented that she is a part of the system and we need someone from the outside (having a fresh perspective)
A: The denomination receives our MIF and posts it online where ministers can search. Often it is through word of mouth. It was emphasized that we are not “hiring” for a job, rather discerning God’s call for us and the potential pastor. 

Materials from Interim Pastor

Resource 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 “Ministry Information Form” that becomes the basis for candidates’ interest in the position at UPC. Much of the data for the “Ministry 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