Transition Team Announcement
Our Church is in a period of true transition. As you know, Fred Meade, our pastor of eight years, retired in 2017. We thank Rev Fred for his fine leadership and wish him well in his retirement.
Reverend Nancy Strickland has been leading us through this transitional period as our Interim Pastor. She has and will continue to attend to the pastoral duties during this transition as well as prepare us for our search. As a congregation, there is still much work to be done before our formal search can begin.
In addition to the support system provided by the UCC Massachusetts Conference, Pastor Nancy and the congregation, our Church has selected a team of individuals to help us prepare for our search for a new pastor that represents a cross section of the congregation. This team—the “Transition Team”—will do critical work for the Church in the coming months. The Team is charged to develop the “Congregation Profile” that will form the foundation document used by the Pastor Search Committee in soliciting interested clergy. The Search committee will use this Profile and work with our UCC Conference to connect our Church with potential pastors.
Over the coming months the Transition Team will be asking for your input as well as your prayers to generate a true picture of who we are. We will also examine who God is calling us to become as a congregation in the future.
By examining our strengths, weakness, opportunities and the threats to accomplishing God’s vision for us, we will be better positioned to select a pastoral leader who will help us fulfill our vision.
In the Frequently Asked Questions document you will learn more about mission, the process and the goals of the transition team. We encourage all to be involved in our process and bring your questions to the team. We look forward to your input!
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the process of calling a new minister work?
The Transition Team will lead a discernment process with guidance from Pastor Nancy. Goals of process is to: (1) identify core strengths and ministries of congregation; (2) identify needs and opportunities to serve in new ways in the communities we serve; (3) develop and articulate a vision for the church’s ministry in the next 5 years; (4) identify qualities and characteristics desired in a new pastor. The outcome of this process is creation of a UCC Congregational Profile to be used in pastoral search. The intention is for membership of Transition Team to overlap with pastoral search committee.
The transition team starts by meeting with members of the church, friends, family and loyal supporters. We want as much input as possible. We want to know what you like, why you come to church and what we can be working on. At the same time, we are preparing a church profile. Right now, we are working on our history and the ongoing services that our church provides to define who are we now. Our next step will be to confer with the congregation to define its vision of the future. This will all become part of the Church Profile that is given to perspective candidates and forms the basis for the search.
When we have that work done a search committee will be chosen. They will send out our profile and proposal to the UCC Massachusetts Conference who will assist in seeking out candidates.
What is the Congregation Profile?
For many congregations, the interim time between ministers is an intentional season that is guided in part by the preparation of a Congregation Profile. Using the Profile, the church can discover its data and express its story for the reliable discernment of a search committee and the beginning of a new pastorate. Searching ministers will want to see this document in its entirety.
There are three sections of the Congregation Profile – WHO ARE WE NOW, WHO IS OUR NEIGHBOR, and WHO IS GOD CALLING US TO BECOME. Known together as the “Discovery Document,” these three sections are used by the church in order to draw forward the gifts and imaginative possibilities of a congregation. The Profile will be read by candidates interested in serving as our pastor.
Some questions are easy to answer. Some are not so easy. Efforts to answer the questions will prompt conversations, explorations, storytelling and many prayers. As the Spirit moves throughout the process, the congregation will shape a collective articulation of Christ’s leading (WHO IS GOD CALLING US TO BECOME). This last question to be answered becomes the first section to be read by searching ministers in the Congregation Profile, and it is boldest and most actionable piece for faithful leadership into the future.
Who is on the Transition Team?
Dennis J Fox (Chair)
Phone: 508 566-4374
Barbara Rountree (ex officio)
Rev Nancy Strickland (ex officio)
Phone: (508) 563-2177
What is the purpose of having a Transition Team?
The team serves as the organizing focal point for the transition process. There are so many steps that need to be taken it’s important to have many members of the church engaged.
How was the team chosen?
Carolee Packard, Moderator and Pastor Nancy worked together to name a group that was representative of various demographics, differing longevity of membership, and varieties of experiences with committees and groups in the church.
How do we contact team members?
You can simply talk with a team member any time you see them such as after Sunday worship. You can also contact them via email and phone. Their contact information is available on the bulletin board at church
What do you mean by a discernment process?
The discernment process and the transition process are sometimes used as synonyms. The discernment process, however, is the heart of the transition. Here we engage in small group gatherings, conversations, and congregation-wide meetings to "discern” what the congregation’s energies, passions, and needs are.
What kind of information does the team hope to gather?
The team hopes to uncover consistent, strong themes that represent the energies, passions and needs of the congregation.
How will this process take place?
The Transition Team will launch a series of church wide discussions in the spring focused on understanding the “why” of the church followed by a series of small group gatherings focused on the future vision of the church. Finally, congregation-wide meeting will happen where we discuss the initial findings.
The goal of this process is to have a strong draft of the Congregational Profile ready for the congregation to review by June 30. Once the congregation is happy with the profile, the Search Team will be formed and the position will be posted with the UCC and the search can be launched.
How will we be kept informed during the discernment process?
The Transition Team will keep our website up to date with meetings, announcements and results as they become available. Also look in the periodic emails and announcements through the Sunday Announcements section of our worship. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or make suggestions. Contact the team members at any time.
What are some of the questions that you will be asking of the congregation?
While many of these questions have been asked in our meetings this fall, the Transition Team will continue to seek input to ensure we are able to convey the most accurate picture of our church possible.
How can each of us become involved?
The transition team is interested in your thoughts of how to make our church strong and as welcoming as it can be. Think about the things you love about our church and the things that make it so important to you. Think about the ways that we can improve. Tell a member of the committee or write them down and give your thoughts to us. And remember that prayers are always a good idea.
Any knowledge you have of our history will be very helpful as we write our church profile.
Plan on attending meeting to be scheduled throughout the spring and early summer
How long a process is this?
From the appointment of an interim pastor the average is 12 to 18 months.
Who will be on the Search Committee for the new minister?
The Search Committee will be selected sometime in late spring to work with the Transition Team in finalizing the church profile and preparing it for submission to the Mass Conference. They will then begin the search process.
While some members of the Transition Team will probably join the search team for continuity, there will be others from our congregation who will be added. If you would like to be on the Search Committee and have the time and interest you should let Carolee Packard know when the call for members is made.