Pastor Nominating Committee
With prayer, mutual accountability, and careful research, the PNC will discern both the present and the potential of the ministry and mission of First Presbyterian Church and it will then find and nominate the right person for the role of First Presbyterian’s senior pastor. When the PNC has finished its work, it will present to the congregation its recommendation and ask the congregation to call that person to be our senior pastor.
April 15, 2018 Update
I am honored to represent the Pastor Nominating Committee this morning and give you a fifth update on our search for a new Pastor/Head of Staff.
I want to begin by saying that these are challenging times, as a number of churches our size are also seeking a new Pastor. We understand that a Pastor search typically takes from 1-2 years and so we are actually in a normal position here, a year and a half into our process. Your PNC however, also recognizes and respects the fact that a long search can create anxiousness in a congregation. When you care a great deal about your congregation, one that you love like family, and the future is uncertain and in flux, worry can be a natural result. But we do not want you to worry. We are continuing on in a focused and determined way to find the candidate that God is calling to our church.
Through our four previous updates, we have shared with you our process, our interaction with candidates, both by phone and face to face, including, in a number of cases, visits to their churches, followed up by visits to ours. Although we have reviewed a large number of candidates with whom we have had in-depth conversations, we do not currently have a Pastor/Head of Staff to recommend to you at this time. However, we believe deeply that this church has a great future and we are diligently working on your behalf. We have not lost our faith that God has a plan and that He will present it to us in His own time.
As a result, our PNC is still working and continues to focus on the many issues that arise as we engage in conversation with candidates. For example:
There are different needs and expectations relating to their ministry, spouses and their careers, children and geographical location;
A candidate has to feel a “call” as much as our committee must feel a “call” for the candidate;
And I can tell you that compensation has not been an issue in terms of interest in our position.
Our committee is bound by the parameters given to us by our Presbytery. One specific instruction is to maintain confidentiality in our process to ensure the integrity of the work of the PNC, keeping it free from outside influence or interference. This directive also benefits candidates so that we do not jeopardize their current positions. It is a deeply personal process for them to open up to us about the possibility of a pastoral call, as it involves their faith, their family, and what they believe the Holy Spirit is telling them. It would be terribly unfair to expose any of the pastors we have interviewed to any form of interference or probing outside of our confidential search process. We spend a lot of time researching candidates, following up with those who have been recommended to us, reviewing together as a committee at our weekly meetings what we have learned, and then continuing on to find that candidate that will be the match for our church.
As with our last update to you all, we continue to feel that God is in control of this process. We just don’t want to compromise, and we will continue to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As absolutely always, we are most grateful for your prayers. We ask that you lift us up each day and have faith in this process. We are a committee of 9 who are working hard and very well together, respecting each other and sharing in the responsibility you have elected us to do. All members of the PNC accepted the task because, we, like you, want the right Pastor to lead this church we all love into the next chapter of its history. And we appreciate and thank you for the encouragement you express to us.
Our weekly meetings begin and end in humble prayer, that God’s hand and embrace will bring First Presbyterian the Pastor that is intended to come.
- Bill Garrison, PNC Chair
December 10, 2017 Update
The Pastor Nominating Committee previously reported that it has had initial phone conversations, follow-up conference calls, and Skype calls with candidates. We continue to communicate with candidates in their churches and here in Richmond, including visits to our church.
One thing we have discovered is that candidates have different needs and expectations relating to their ministry, spouses, children, and geographical location, in addition to their sense of whether to go through this process with us. A candidate has to feel a call as much as our committee may feel a call for a candidate. It is, in essence, a marriage in which the Holy Spirit brings us all together. That recognition has reinforced our desire to be thorough, patient, and prayerful through this process.
We do not feel a sense of anxiousness, but rather a sense of calm, because it is God who will bring our next senior pastor to our church. It is our charge to explore, to listen, to communicate, to reflect, and to pray – and to recognize when and to whom a call is to be extended, and to work to assimilate into our community of faith the candidate who accepts our call.
As always, we appreciate your kind comments and support, and most especially your continued prayers. Our work continues and we are grateful for God’s guiding hand in this search.
January 11, 2017
The Ministry Information Form (MIF) of First Presbyterian Church has been approved by the Session and the Presbytery and posted on the Church Leadership Connection, which is the call system for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PNC is receiving Personal Information Forms from interested candidates through that system.
Our MIF is viewable here (PDF).
September 8, 2016
We have a committee charged with the task of searching for our next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. I met with this group on Tuesday, September 6. They are organizing their search.
Bill Garrison has been elected as the Moderator/Chair of the committee. Jane Peters, Nelson Edmunds and Steve Mintz serve as clerks with varying functions. Jay Johnston is the Session liaison. Other members are Kathy Watson, Les Yonce, Margaret Nimmo Holland and Kate Reynolds. It is a stellar group!
Their first task is to collect information, touch base with the congregation, and complete the necessary forms to post this position. They have been trained by our presbytery (regional office) and are well on their way. Our thanks to them for their service.
I have had several inquiries as to whether I am eligible or interested in being your next Senior Pastor. Though I am honored, my call is clearly that as Interim Pastor. It is my joy to serve in this capacity. My goal is to help prepare you for the next leg of your journey. Thank you for the overwhelming support you have shown to Catherine and me in our brief time with you. We have quickly grown to love this congregation.
Now we must place our full support behind our Pastor Nominating Committee. We must pray for them, encourage them, and be patient as they go about their work. We must believe that God will call the right leader for us, as God has always done in the past.
Each pastor brings their own strengths and weaknesses to the task. Each era of the church's history contains a unique emphasis in building up the body of Christ. God is fully aware of who you need next to step into the role of Senior Pastor. Please join me in prayer and support of this committee as God leads them on their search.
The PNC will provide you with periodic updates as to their progress. If you have any questions, concerns, or input, please contact Bill Garrison.
With deep gratitude and appreciation,
—Steve Eason, Interim Pastor
May 16, 2016
Yesterday, at the Congregational Meeting, you elected a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). This group is often referred to as "the Search Committee." Their task is to bring a nominee to the congregation for your vote in calling your next Pastor/Head of Staff. This is your newly elected committee: Margaret Crowe, Nelson Edmunds, Bill Garrison, Jay Johnston, Steve Mintz, Jane Peters, Kate Reynolds, Kathy Watson, and Les Yonce. We give God thanks for their willingness to serve.
In the world of business, medicine, or education, a group of professionals in those fields would come together and do a search which would not take too long. In the church world, the Search Committee (PNC) is made up of people from all walks of life.
They will be trained by the Presbytery. They will have to learn what the job of Senior Pastor/Head of Staff actually is. They will spend some time gleaning from the congregation what concerns and priorities should be a part of this search. They will have to write up an extensive profile of this congregation with statistics and reflections on various theological questions. They will post the position with various outlets in our denomination, receive applications, and process them. Only then will they begin to contact potential candidates, conducting phone and Skype interviews followed by site visits, checking references, and finally, filtering down to their final candidates. Keep in mind that all of the people on this committee have jobs and other responsibilities. They are not professionals in the ministry hiring other professionals. They won't meet every day, all day, and so this process takes some time
Our job is to pray for them! Allow them the time and space to do their job, and trust that the Holy Spirit is guiding them to the person who is to be called to this position. They will update us as to their progress when there is information to share with us. Their work is extremely confidential, as all of their candidates are currently serving other churches. Patience, love and support, prayers, and some more patience are what will be needed over the months to come.
In the meantime, I am here to serve as your interim pastor! I will be a support to this committee in ways that are appropriate, and I will be your best cheerleader for candidates as they are considering this call. At the May Session meeting, I will be recommending to the Session several priorities to set our course for this transition period. We have plenty of work to do, which will allow the Pastor Nominating Committee the time they need to complete their search. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit is at work in our midst!
We all owe Lisa Kunz, chair of Nominating Committee, and her entire team a tremendous debt of gratitude for the incredible work they have done in securing this Pastor Nominating Committee. Members of that committee are: Lisa Kunz, Lorene Blackwood, John Bryson, Heather Cooper, Billy Hidell, Bob Priddy, Matt Schumacher, Candy Snyder, Erin Sutton, and Judy Watkins. Thank you!
To God be the glory as we move through this time of transition and discernment.
—Steve Eason, Interim Pastor