Pastoral Nominating Committee Update

The Story of Them

December 26, 2021



We hope that everyone had a happy and healthy Christmas! As the New Year approaches, we are extremely excited to be calling our final candidate to First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich. They will lead our service on Sunday, January 9th, followed by a congregational meeting. 

The search process — officially commenced in April 2021 — has been careful, deliberate, and labor-intensive. We focused on candidates with strong preaching skills, a teacher's passion, and curiosity that drives a lifelong learner's mentality. Finding a minister with vision was also incredibly important to us given that our congregation has a history of getting behind creative and thoughtful vision. While we were initially inclined to include more skills to focus on, we purposely stopped the required list of skills there. We asked candidates to pick one or two other areas of strength from a list that included: pastoral care, staff management, congregational life, community engagement, administration and operational functions of the church, mission and service, young families and youth. The remaining key areas of responsibility would fall to other existing or future staff members.  

 

It is with abundant joy that we present our final candidate to the congregation on Sunday, January 9th. They embody all the traits we outlined, and we each feel strongly that they will increase the spiritual vitality of our beloved church. If you are interested in hearing more about our process as well as the skill sets and qualities we sought out, please watch this video clip. We cannot wait for you to meet them!

 

Faithfully,

Pastor Nominating Committee

Chris Loveless, Chair

Michelle Binnie, Vice Chair

Jae Cha

Carolyn Cleveland

Rachel Kelley

Terry Lohmeyer

Oscar Rodriguez

Courtney Spada

Susan Williams

Diane Brown, Alternate


Previous Updates

Type the content for this accordion section here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this accordion section. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section.


  • The Story of Us, crafting our narrative
    August 1, 2021The FPCG's Ministry Information Form (or MIF to the insiders) is complete, approved and available for the world to see, including talented ministers.  This is a major milestone on the path to finding our next Senior Minister. It is meant to say who we are, what is important to us, what skill sets we are looking for, and to clarify the job expectations.  

    We have reviewed the results of the CAT survey completed in late 2020/early 2021 by our congregation.  We have interviewed our clergy and volunteers in leadership positions.  We have had informal conversations with members of the congregation.  Here is some of what we have found.

    It is practically unanimous that everyone wants a strong preacher and teacher.  We want a leader to provide a strategic vision for our congregation.  Individually we want to belong to a community.  We like being intellectually challenged and stirred.  Some want group experiences, while others seek and prioritize individual pastoral care.  Many have joined with young children as an attempt to expose and teach their children, others join as they enter a new phase of adulthood.  Like any family, ours is one of similarities and differences.  

    Turns out that is the easy part. The trick is figuring out how much of this will actually fall upon the shoulders of our new Senior Minister.   Our own experience points to a tremendous burden on our past staff.  It turns out the model for thriving churches is having a senior minister that focuses on preaching, teaching and leading.  The daily execution on many of the other key responsibilities is done by other staff, whether they are ordained, full or part time as well as member volunteers.  After thoughtful discussion among our committee, congregation members, and session we believe this model is best for FPCG going forward.   This idea is reflected in the words chosen for our MIF.

    We are already receiving interest from candidates around the world who have reviewed our posting.   While we expect this to continue for some time, we are also networking with highly respected ministers and seminary leaders to spread the word of our need.  Our expectation is to be very busy over the next few months reviewing candidates, listening to sermons and pushing Zoom to its limits.  While we don't have a line of sight into timing of having a candidate to present to the congregation, we are certainly moving in the right direction.

    I know you are asking, "how can I help?".  Just like you are expecting us to thoroughly vet the top candidates, we need to expect the best candidates are vetting us.  As we approach the fall, it will be time for the tide to reach to new highs.  That includes worship attendance, Sunday School attendance, Vacation Bible Camp or asking our nominating committee (Emily Sternberg, chair) how you can help.  Mark, Andre and Ellie are creating momentum.  Let's enjoy this momentum together.

    Keep an eye out for another progress update in August as well as on Homecoming Sunday, which is Sunday, September 12th. 

    Thank you for your prayers and patience.  We are trusting the process, having some faith.  After all isn’t what this is all about?

    Onward,

    Chris Loveless, PNC Chair
    pnc@fpcg.org
    MIF HERE


    Michelle Binnie, Vice Chair
    Jae Cha; Carolyn Cleveland; Rachel Kelley; Terry Lohmeyer; Oscar Rodriguez; Susan Williams; Courtney Raker Spada; and Diane Brown, alternative


  • As of last Friday, the FPCG's Ministry Information Form (or MIF to the insiders) is complete, approved and available for the world to see, including talented ministers.  This is a major milestone on the path to finding our next Senior Minister. It is meant to say: who we are, what is important to us, what skillsets we are looking for and clarify the job expectations. 

     

    We have reviewed the results of the CAT survey completed in late 2020/early 2021 by our congregation.  We have interviewed our clergy and volunteers in leadership positions.  We have had informal conversations with members of the congregation.  Here is some of what we have found.

     

    It is practically unanimous; everyone wants a strong preacher and teacher.  We want a leader to provide a strategic vision for our congregation.  Individually we want to belong to a community.  We like being intellectually challenged and stirred.  Some want group experiences, while others seek and prioritize individual pastoral care.  Many have joined with young children as an attempt to expose and teach their children, others join as they enter a new phase of adulthood.  Like any family, ours is one of similarities and differences. 

     

    Turns out that is the easy part; the trick is figuring out how much of this will actually fall upon the shoulders of our new Senior Minister.   Our own experience points to a tremendous burden on our past staff.  It turns out the model for thriving churches is having a senior minister that focuses on preaching, teaching and leading.  The daily execution on many of the other key responsibilities is done by other staff, whether they are ordained, full or part time as well as member volunteers.  After thoughtful discussion among our committee, congregation members, and session we believe this model is best for FPCG going forward.   This idea is reflected in the words chosen for our MIF.

     

    We are already receiving interest from candidates around the world who have reviewed our posting.   While we expect this to continue for some time, we are also networking with highly respected ministers and seminary leaders to spread the word of our need.  Our expectation is to be very busy over the next few months reviewing candidates, listening to sermons and pushing Zoom to its limits.  While we don't have a line of sight into timing of having a candidate to present to the congregation, we are certainly moving in the right direction.

     

    I know you are asking, "how can I help?".  Just like you are expecting us to thoroughly vet the top candidates, we need to expect the best candidates are vetting us.  As we approach the fall, it will be time for the tide to ebb to new highs.  That includes worship attendance, Sunday School attendance, Vacation Bible Camp or asking our nominating committee (Emily Sternberg, chair) how you can help.  Mark, Andre and Ellie are creating momentum.  Let's enjoy this momentum together.

     

    Keep an eye out for another progress update in August as well as on Homecoming Sunday, which is Sunday, September 12th.

     

    Thank you for your prayers and patience.  We are trusting the process, having some faith.  After all isn’t what this is all about?

     

    Onward,

     

     

    Chris Loveless, PNC Chair

    pnc@fpcg.org

     

    PNC Members:

    Chris Loveless, Chair

    Michelle Binnie, Vice Chair

    Jae Cha

    Carolyn Cleveland

    Rachel Kelley

    Terry Lohmeyer

    Oscar Rodriguez

    Susan Williams

    Courtney Raker Spada

    Diane Brown, alternative

  • Fellow congregants,

     

    This is the first of what will be regular updates from your PNC.  One of our three goals is to be as transparent as possible.  While we won't give specifics on who and when we are interviewing, we will provide regular updates as to where we are in the process.  Speaking of goals, they are:


    1. Find a pastor who preaches with integrity and compassion, whose sermons are intellectually stimulating and who will inspire all groups within our congregation.  
    2. Listen to and engage with our congregation about this process.  Be transparent.
    3. Facilitate the successful onboarding of our next Pastor by partnering closely with Session and staff.


    There are nine of us plus one alternate.  We are partnering with Shelley Donaldson of First Presbyterian Church in Stamford who is our Presbytery liaison.  Our first few meetings included a “get to know each other” meeting, a discussion with Mark, a joint meeting with the Session to review the CAT survey results as well as a formal PNC training.  

     

    We are now meeting weekly on Monday evenings.  Our current objective is to gather as much information as possible so we can accurately complete the Ministry Information Form (MIF) which is required to "post" our open position for a permanent Senior Pastor.  While there is a lot of information to assess and decisions to be made prior to finalizing a MIF, perhaps the most important steps are identifying, and prioritizing skill sets that are critical for our next Senior Pastor to possess.    Once written, it goes to our Session for approval then on to the Committee on Ministry at the Presbytery for their approval. 

     

    We have broken into smaller teams tasked with specific work, such as:

    • Reviewing the CAT (survey) for data that makes it clear what we need, who we are, and just as important, what we don't need and who we aren't.  
    • Understanding what the Terms of Call will be, our housing offering and our budget for this search process. 
    • Getting feedback from the New Canaan PNC who just completed a search for a Senior Minister.

     

    As mentioned, we are driving toward completing our Ministry Information Form by mid-June so we can move to the next phase of the process - marketing our job opening.  


    We have an email address if you have any questions.  It is pnc@fpcg.org


    More to follow…