From the Call Committee Chairperson, Robert McKinney

The Call Committee and Church Council met with Rev. Julianne Smith from the Synod office on October 21, 2021.  Rev. Smith reported that Bishop Barbins’ goal and the Synod’s goal is to get a trained minister or a trained lay minister in every church by 2023.  She suggested that churches should focus on not just the number of members, but also how many people the church is connecting with through their ministries.  Rev. Smith shared two resources as a response to questions raised.  One was about vital congregations that strengthen their relationship with God, nurture relationships with members, and establish a strong community presence.  The other was about the growing young wheel that presents ways to welcome young individuals into the church.  Examples were given by Rev. Smith about the ways churches in the Synod have filled the pulpit in non-traditional ways, such as a co-op congregation, multiple congregations sharing a pastoral pool, a yoked parish approach, and an anchor church approach.  When the question was asked about the time it normally takes to fill a pulpit, the response was historically about 18 months.  Bob McKinney reported that the congregation would like to find a part-time pastor and that we are seeking assistance from the Synod’s Pastor Mitch Phillips.  Specific follow-up regarding the possibility of Pastor Delk’s interest in a three-quarters role was requested.  Rev. Smith reported that she would discuss this with Pastor Phillips.  Rev. Smith also seems to be working with Pastor Phillips on the use of shared pastors.  She reported that she would work with Pastor Phillips to develop a strategy for Living Lord and to make him aware of updates in our ministry profile.  She identified our next step as clarifying the church’s purpose with a Christian center and to continue seeking the instruction provided by Healthy Congregations.  A question was raised about utilizing pastors from other denominations, with the United Church of Christ, Moravian, Methodist, and Episcopal denominations identified as being in compliance.  The group expressed their desire to keep the communication open with Rev. Smith and the Synod.  Rev. Smith was thanked for meeting with us, and the meeting was adjourned.