THE MID-WEEK MISSIVE - Sept. 20, 2017
After two weekends of worship and several opportunities to visit with friends and members of Candleberry Chapel, I am more impressed than ever at the hospitality I have encountered. Invitations, gift cards, offers to help me get more acquainted with the area....it has been a very moving and humbling beginning. I have also had my initial impressions confirmed: this is a congregation of faithful folks who desire nothing more than to move forward. They know this is a special place and want others to know that, too. Together, we will work on doing just that.
That work begins with an acknowledgement of the role of "interim Pastor". As the title implies, pastoral care and pastoral presence are important parts of the role. Like any pastor, the interim pastor is involved in worship planning, preaching, pastoral visits, planning with leaders for fellowship and service events. But, the "interim" part of the title means that there are additional tasks that must also be undertaken.
A non-church friend asked me what the difference between an "interim pastor" and an "acting pastor" was, and the fact is they are two different things. An "acting pastor" is one that is a place holder, someone who carries out the normal ministerial duties in the absence of the settled (or called) pastor. For instance, if a settled pastor is on sabbatical, or is temporarily incapacitated by illness, an "acting" pastor might carry on. In that case, when the settled pastor is ready to return, the "acting" pastor steps aside, usually to return to their previous role. On the other hand, an interim pastor is called upon to help prepare the congregation for the future. The interim comes in at the end of a called pastor's tenure in order to help them understand who they are and help equip them for who they want to be. The interim helps the congregation deal with the loss of a pastor and embrace the uncertainty of the future. The interim finds ways to ask questions about who the congregation is, what they love about the church, what they would change about the church, and to help them plan for the calling of a new settled pastor. In short, the interim pastor leads the congregation through a time of introspection and reflection aimed at realizing a new beginning.
That is my role as an interim pastor. In the coming weeks and months I will meet with groups of leaders, individuals and the congregation as a whole to begin that process. It will be a time of celebrating where Candleberry Chapel came from, where it is, and where it is going. It will be a time that is sometimes difficult, but ultimately, rewarding. Together, I look forward to seeing where God's guiding hand is leading Candleberry Chapel and it's faithful and welcoming people.
Time to get started!
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