January 15, 2018
Dear Church Family,
We are now in the next phase in our search for a settled pastor. The decision by Pastor Chris to withdraw as a candidate means that we will now open up our search to other UCC ministers.
The Transition Leadership Team, in consultation with the Deacons and Trustees, has developed a plan for worship service that builds on the strength of our spiritual community and the many talents within it.
Very generously, Rev. Peter Ives has offered to lead a Worship Committee to plan Sunday services. Peter will draw on the ordained ministers from our congregation and others in the community. Weekly they will meet , along with Jef, deacons, children’s church leaders and others, to plan Sunday worship. This will be similar to how worship service was organized when Pastor Andrea Ayvazian was on a three-month sabbatical in 2012.
Rev. Carol Reinhart will provide pastoral care during this time.
Rev. Lindsey Peterson will return to HCC to work with Children’s Church several Sundays a month and also lead worship one Sunday a month.
The new worship service plan begins Sunday, Jan. 21. Rev. Stephanie Smith, pastor and director of Cathedral in the Night, will lead that service. We will talk more about the worship plan on that Sunday.
Peter presented his idea believing that at this time in our church we need to hold each other up and have worship that lets us come together as a spiritual community. It is a feeling we share and that is shared by many we spoke to. We will sing together, pray together, hug each other, and live the lessons of Jesus in fellowship with clergy we know and who know and love our us. And as a community, we’ll work together to take care of our church while the search for a pastor continues.
We will move forward immediately with the search for a settled pastor. The hardest work, the church visioning and the creation of our Church Profile, is already done. We will update the profile, add the video from our service Jan. 7, and make it available to pastoral candidates.
We will be asking Church Council to appoint a new group to lead the next stage of our search. The existing Search Committee did an outstanding job. They worked hard, conducted themselves with integrity, and they were faithful to their charge. In cases where a search ends the way our’s did, it is advised to create a new committee for the national search. The existing Search Committee will be formally discharged with our sincere thanks at the Church Council meeting Jan. 21. We plan to appoint a new committee right after annual meeting Feb. 4.
Anyone interested in serving on the Search Committee should speak with one of the transition team members. (Information on the first phase of the Pastoral Search can be found under the New and Events section of this web site.)
We also know there are a lot of emotions in the congregation during this time of transition. Change makes us all uneasy. A lower than expected stewardship drive will pose its own challenges for us moving forward. But we are a community and communities pull together in difficult times. Our great strength is expressed in our Covenant of Right Relations:
“As exemplified by our brother and teacher Jesus, we will welcome the voices, presence and power of every person, especially those who have been defined as “other,” pushed to the margins, excluded, silenced and closeted; and we will joyfully embrace our identity as a Spirit-filled, justice-seeking, peace-loving, LGBQT-affirming, anti-racist, child-centered, song-filled, ever-thankful, stubbornly-hopeful Beloved Community.” (The full text of the Covenant of Right Relations can be found in the Who We Are section of this web site.)
That is the rock our church is built on. Let us recommit ourselves to its message and principles, and embrace it as a way of living and working together. It is important that we all use our gifts to provide leadership and pull together as a community to sustain and support our church in this time of transition.
We are the church.
In prayer and peace,
Your Transition Leadership Team
Jim Foudy, Jo Cannon, Carolyn du Bois, Sam Icklan