March 2021 Tidings

Pastor’s Ponderings

I have been with you for a little over four months now—mostly connecting on-line because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being that we are not meeting in person for worship or meetings or any other kind of gatherings, I realized I haven’t shared much about what an interim pastor does. I know you were in interim time about five years ago, and may feel like you don’t want to—or need to—do the work of interim ministry at this time. I also admit, I feel the challenges of all of this, but I do trust that God is working with us and through us.

Here are the eight foundations of interim ministry: 

  • To maintain the vitality of the congregation. What has worked? And what do you need to let go of as you move forward as a community of faith.
  • To bring closure to the previous pastor’s ministry with you. Some of you seem happy to see Pr. John leave. Others of you are sad that he chose to leave; “He married us.” “He baptized our children.” “He tried to make changes and people didn’t like it.”
  • To reinforce the ministry of the laity. In my short time here, I have heard people say that Mt. Carmel needs a lot more volunteers. Recently, the council has listed over 10 areas of ministry that need your help. 
  • To clarify the mission of the congregation. What has been your mission? Has it changed or evolved over time? Does it reflect your emerging vision?
  • To address specific and special needs of the congregation. Together, we will discover what the needs are in your community of faith, but also in your larger community.
  • To provide for a congregation self-study and develop a vision and mission plan. A mission statement is a short sentence describing who you are—why you exist today. A vision statement tells what you are called to be and do.
  • To strengthen denomination ties.
  • To prepare the congregation for your next leader.

As I said at the annual meeting, I will be connecting with many of you to do one-on-ones. Through a series of conversations, I hope to identify high and low points; accomplishments and setbacks; shifts and major changes.

We need your perspectives and insights gained from your experiences. Talking about all of our experiences can heal wounds, resolves disputes and close gaps that keep people apart, freeing you, as a community of faith, to move forward together; to move forward creatively and effectively. To move forward!

You are in my prayers. Please hold me in yours!

Pastor Christine

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