Pastor Jim of Windham Presbyterian Church Retires
“… the grass withers, flowers fade, people come and go … but the word of God stands forever …”
by Doug Robinson
For 26 years, Pastor Jim has addressed his congregation with “… the grass withers, flowers fade, people come and go … but the word of God stands forever. Be kind to all you meet, for you know not where they have been.”
And with those humble, biblical words, Pastor Jim has nurtured the souls of the parishioners of Windham Presbyterian Church, Windham.
Known as “the little church on the hill,” the church will now undergo the tedious and tenuous job to replace Pastor Jim, not only at the altar, but also set the church to new beginnings.
Unlike the Catholic Church, where a Conclave of Cardinals was called to the Vatican to vote in the new Pope, the Presbytery church requires a different format, one which could last up to a couple of years.
Once the pastor’s resignation has been received and approved, a “transition team” is commissioned to begin “search for an interim pastor. “Hopefully this process will be completed by July” comments the WPC Session, or governing body. The Interim Pastor’s responsibilities will be preaching, pastoral care, as well as answer to Session regarding the on-going activities of the church.
In addition, the Transition team will conduct a thoroughly four to six month mission study “coming to terms with the past, charting the course for the future, involving meeting with church members. Their meetings will result in an official document which will be presented to the Interim Pastor as well as the Session.
Once the mission study is complete, prospective names will be submitted to the Nominating Committee, for consideration. Once the field of candidates has been narrowed, Pastoral candidates will be interviewed by the Pastoral Nominating Committee.
“It is very important that the PNC be representative of the whole church” commented Pastor Jim, during a Congregational meeting. “It must be a good fit for the new Pastor. You want the next Pastor to be here for many years to come.”
With names in hand, the Nominating Committee will take on the “time consuming process of carefully reading and evaluating the many (resumes) that will” be received by the church. Interviews will be conducted to narrow the list to the remaining Pastor of choice. At this time, that Pastor is offered a compensation package and “terms of call.” If the candidate says “yes,” his/her name will be passed on to the Presbytery for their approval.
If approved, the Pastor will be will preach at the church for a Sunday service, after which, the congregation will vote on their hire.