A Pastoral Conversation: Transitions

A Pastoral Conversation: Transitions October 6, 2013

Today we had a pastoral conversation after worship.  Here’s what I said:

Thanks for sticking around for just a minute.  I want to have a short pastoral conversation together.  As many of you know, Pastor Leah submitted her resignation to church leadership on Wednesday; I wanted to just give you a little background and share a few details about moving forward.

Since before Pastor Leah left on family leave, we’d been talking about the possibility of her returning to work part time.  Church leadership, together with myself and Pastor Leah, tried very hard to come up with an arrangement that would work for both the church and for Pastor Leah.  In the end, we just couldn’t seem to find a solution that seemed right for everybody involved.  Pastor Leah had to weigh many different factors, and right now, resigning seems to be the best decision for her and for her family. 

This change is hard and sad because we love Pastor Leah and she loves all of us.  But this is the downside of pastoral ministry.  As pastors, we’re in the business of building relationships with you and helping you build relationships with each other, but we’re professionals just like you are a professional at your job.  And, like any other job, pastors go through professional transitions, too.  I want to be very clear here and remind us all that this community, while guided by your pastors and staff, is not a cult of personality—around anyone.  We’re here together because we believe in something much bigger than any one leader, and while leadership transitions are hard, this community will weather this one and any others that come along and move into the future to what’s next for us.

In the world of pastoral ministry, there are ethical standards for transitions like this one.  Pastor Leah will take a noted step back from our community—you won’t see her here for awhile after her job ends, just to help smooth transitions.  Don’t be offended if she creates some distance in her communication/relationship with you.  It’s what we’re taught to do to be healthy and professional.  If you’d like to be in touch with Pastor Leah over these next few weeks, she is checking her Calvary email now and you’re welcome to reach out to her.

Pastor Leah and I met with the Pastoral Relations Committee on Wednesday night (Soren, Jay, Amydale, Julie, Chuck) and we talked about next steps.  Here’s what’s going to happen in the immediate future.  Pastor Leah will come back to work part time for two weeks, beginning October 22.  She’ll be in worship once more, October 27, which (as I’m sure you know!) is our quarterly business meeting following worship.  She’ll address our community then, and we’ll honor and thank her at that meeting.  

I’m here if you’d like to come ask me any questions.  

A personal note on the blog: I was there, after that short meeting, to talk with folks, and I’m here if you need to be in touch with any questions.  Leah and I have worked together for over six years and weathered most of the toughest transitions of this community as an increasingly strong and gifted pastoral team.  I’m sad, along with Leah, that our time serving on a staff together will end.  But I trust that God will lead Calvary to what’s next.  And, I know Leah has an amazing future ahead of her.  It has been my honor and gift to work these years with her.

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