FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions
Listed here are responses to some of the most common questions we’ve been receiving about the call and selection processes for our two new pastoral leaders. If you have a question that’s not answered here or you would like more information, send your question to Jennifer Duncan, Chair of the Call Committee, Deb Cordes, Congregation Council President or Pastor Peter.
What is “faith formation?”
It’s more than just Christian education or spiritual development. “Faith forms as a person discovers trust in a living God, claims their identity as a beloved child of God, and boldly follows Jesus. Joining in the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, faith formation requires intentionality. Communities of faith are intentional as they are thoughtful and reflective on their faith formation perspective, practices, and orientation. Intentionally nurturing faith over time allows it to mature and become integrated into everyday living.” (A Framework for Faith Formation in the ELCA, 2015)
“In the past, the church has used “faith formation” in reference to the task of teaching children and those new to the faith the building blocks of our Christian beliefs. More recently, it has been recognized that this work doesn’t stop after childhood and is truly a lifelong concern… it’s about embodying an on-going practice of curiosity and a continual re-forming by the Spirit in response to God’s love.” -Pastor Peter
What’s the difference between a Pastor and a Deacon?
Pastors are called to “Word & Sacrament Ministry” – Ordained to perform all functions of the church including the sacraments of communion and baptism, preach the gospel, lead worship, providing spiritual guidance, teaching and leading the church. Pastors have earned a Master of Divinity degree from a seminary, about 3 years of academic study plus a one-year internship within a congregational setting.
Deacons are called to “Word & Service Ministry” – Consecrated to perform many of the same functions as a pastor including leading worship, preaching, teaching, and providing spiritual guidance. A deacon doesn’t preside over the sacraments of communion or baptism. A deacon generally has a specialized area of service that they are called to and have extended training and internships to prepare them to lead in their chosen area – such as faith formation, congregation care, etc. Deacons have earned a Masters of Arts Degree from a seminary, about 2 years of full time study. In the past, some Deacons were called “Associates in Ministry (AIMs),” like Audrey Fairchild that used to serve here at Prince of Peace.
What is Pastor Peter’s role in the call and selection process?
Pastor Peter is not a member of the call or interview committees but supports their efforts. As Lead Pastor, he plays an important role, speaking with candidates and providing feedback to the synod before staff presents names to each committee. Once the candidates are interviewed, Pastor Peter will share his feedback with the committees and help to facilitate deeper discernment. For the Associate Pastor, the final recommendation belongs solely to the call committee and the vote to extend a call belongs to the congregation.
What can we find out about the candidates in consideration?
Put simply, nothing. Both the call committee searching for the Associate Pastor and the Interview Committee identifying the Visitation Pastor must keep all candidate information confidential. The committee members are free to discuss the process we are employing but all information and deliberations about candidates are to be held in strictest confidence. Once the final candidates have been accepted by the congregation council and are presented to the congregation, biographical information for the nominated candidate will be available. Information about any candidates not selected will remain confidential. This is a requirement of the Synod and just good order for the benefit of all.
When will our new pastoral leaders begin?
Since the process is a little more streamlined for the Visitation & Congregational Care Pastor and does not require a vote of the congregation, we hope this person will be able to begin sometime in July. The position description that we have developed does not include the requirements of an active call as defined by the Synod. As such, the likely candidate may come from the “retired” or “on leave from call” rosters of pastoral leaders. The Interview Committee will identify the chosen candidate and the Personnel Committee will make the necessary contractual arrangements. The Congregation Council will vote to accept the working covenant with the Pastoral leader.
The process for the Associate Pastor requires more steps in the discernment process and ultimately a vote of the entire congregation to extend a call. The call committee hopes to have a final candidate identified and ready to present to the congregation by mid-to late July. Once the congregation votes to extend a call, another 30-day window of time is appropriate for the candidate to conclude their current call. At the earliest, we hope to have someone in place at or near the start of our program year beginning in September.
Who is doing Pastor Lynn’s ministry now that she is finished?
Regular home visitation will be scaled back some until the new Visitation Pastor begins (hopefully in July). Pastor Peter will continue making some visits but will be focusing efforts on those who have more pressing concerns. Anyone who would like to connect with Pastor Peter is encouraged to call the office. Pastor Peter is also tending to all the worship planning and leadership for the summer months and is working with a variety of volunteers to plan for the fall programming that will begin in September. There will be a number of Sundays this summer that Pastor Peter will be gone (like when he travels with the Youth Group to Texas) and other clergy will be offering preaching and worship leadership on those dates. Don’t hesitate to ask Pastor Peter if there is any way you could be of help during this time of transition.