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First Church and Our Future Pastor

by Casey Rukeyser, Co-Chair, Committee on Staff Parish Relations

COSPAR Members: Joyce Frost (Co-Chair), Mark Forbes, Jeanne Aston, Dorothy Michaelson, Michael Stirewalt, Kurt Beckett, Ruby Amegah, and Greg Wallace (ex-officio). cospar@firstchurchseattle.org

On November 24th I had the tough task of announcing to our congregation that our Pastor, Rev. Sandy, was retiring from ministry after 30 years of service.  Although the announcement was difficult, the real work for our committee is ahead of us. One of the charges of the Committee of Staff-Parish Relations is to help with the process as we transition from our departing pastor to our new.

I feel this is a very much a “whole church” endeavor and appreciate the suggestions and help you have all provided.  Many of you have reached out and shared your perspective.  One of our Lay Leaders, Greg Wallace, has been helping COSPAR as we begin this process. We feel it’s important that the process is transparent, straightforward, and all members feel included.

Over the coming months we will, in partnership with the Annual Conference and the Bishop, work through the following process to recruit the best possible candidate for leading our church forward.

Our district Superintendent, Pat Simpson, will meet with COSPAR to discuss and identify First Church’s needs in pastoral leadership.  We will work to complete a comprehensive congregational “profile”, to help illustrate for the Conference who we are, what we care about and what we need.

Pat will take our profile, and the key points of our discussion, to the Bishop and her peers, to reflect on the needs of our Church and potential candidates for us.  Together, they will make a decision for appointment.

The nominated pastor will be offered the position and asked to make a confidential decision after s/he learns more about the church.

Once a candidate accepts the position, COSPAR will have an opportunity to meet with him/her.  Our goal in that meeting is to ensure that s/he will be a good fit for First Church.  If we have great reservations with the appointment, we can raise our concerns with the Bishop and ask for another appointment.

COSPAR will announce our new pastor to the congregation

This is a thoughtful process that the Conference has laid out, and has been used many times to find the right candidate for the job.  We are looking forward to diving in to the most important job COSPAR will be asked to do.

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