“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
The month of May marks one year since the Council was presented with Pastor Chris Becker’s desire to leave full-time ministry. We initially were presented with a proposal that looked like a job swap for our full-time and part-time pastors. It seemed doable and even exciting. In early autumn, however, we learned that what we needed to prepare for and address was the official retirement of a longtime beloved lead pastor.
As the transition team (made up of council members) began to meet to address the congregation’s needs through the retirement of a lead pastor and call of a new lead pastor, it became clear that the resources offered by the synod during the interim process would be healthy and helpful.
Amazing Grace did not have a typical interim period without a lead pastor. Our calling Pastor Julie from her part-time associate role to be our lead pastor resulted in our having no vacancy in the lead pastor position. That is a rare gift. It did not, however, diminish the need for our having someone to minister to the needs of the congregation and staff in transition.
With the blessing and recommendation of our synod, Pastor Roger Hardy accepted the position as interim pastor for a 3- to 6-month period beginning in January, and we are preparing for that period to end.
How will we know when the “interim period” is over?
Pastor Hardy has been sharing his observances and recommendations throughout his time with us, even while he has continued to meet in one-to-one conversations with members and staff. We appreciate his leadership and contributions to worship, education, council and lay-ministry team coordination, and to individuals on staff and in the congregation.
In the month of May, Pastor Hardy will share a report of his interviews and observations, and it will be up to us as a congregation and council to determine what to do with them. In the coming year, we will need to make decisions about staffing, ensure continued support for Pastor Julie, and determine how we will answer our call to evangelize and welcome our new neighbors in the developments around Amazing Grace.
Pastor Hardy has been an objective listener to many and an embodiment of our transition and interim process, and his time with us is nearing its end. The work of listening objectively and gracefully to one another and acknowledging and embracing transition is not ending, however. Interim means temporary. Since we know that the only constant is God, we will prepare to move from one interim period to the next fixing our eyes on Jesus as the one constant we can all count on.