Transition Team Report

Transition Update (7-15-21)

 

Dear Fellow First Presbyterian Members,

 

As Moderator of the Transitional Pastor Team, we are quick to remind ourselves that from the outset, one of the four responsibilities for our Team was to organize a celebration of the time, leadership and friendships that Ken and Suzette provided to us over the past 18+ years. As you know, since his departure on May 8, 2020, as a congregation, like our entire US population, we have been challenged with the COVID-19 virus. It has caused a “significant pause” on so many things. This has included of course get-togethers and celebrations in the church since March 2020.

 

Prior to this “pause”, one of our special team members Mimi Williams was in the process of organizing what would have been a thank celebration for Ken. Now that the church has “opened up”  and at the beginning of a new normal, we began to reignite this celebration effort. Since Mimi had communicated before on this with Ken, she volunteered to touch base with him recently. Below is part of Ken’s kind reply to her:

 

“In spite of our travel plans, research is now showing that folks with compromised immune systems like mine are not necessarily well protected by vaccines so I’m still practicing all of the same safety measures as before. For that reason, I am still not able to be around crowds if there are unvaccinated adults and/or children, so, as much as I appreciate the offer, I feel that I need to say that I can’t safely attend a church-wide event. It would be wonderful to see everyone and do some remembering and celebrating but it is probably best to pass on this opportunity”.

 

Honoring his thoughts, we are reflecting over the past 15+ months and remembering that we did have the opportunity to offer a proper “thank you” in various ways. We are aware that many of you sent cards, letters and in one case a pastel portrait of Ken. In addition, as a congregation we gave him and Suzette a significant “Love Offering” that exceeded all church records. As former Office Manager Sheila Beane reported, Ken was “blown away” with the generosity. And finally, as a send-off gesture, Mimi Williams and others organized a “Drive By” at their home, where from our cars we waved and shouted our “good-byes” while Ken and Suzette, sitting in their yard waved back!

 

So, as we now continue looking forward, please continue to pray for Ken and Suzette, our team and for Lee, as our Team continues to pray for you…another one of the four tasks in our commission. Many thanks for your patience and understanding.

 

Blessings and Peace,

 

Aaron Clinard

 

Moderator, Interim Pastor Transition Committee

 

Team Members: Doyle Early, Brooke Garrou, Kevin Harron, Wiz Horner, Debbie Mabe and Mimi Williams

 

 

Transition Update (6-7-21)

Work Continues on our brief history as we make sure we touch on all the important activities and ministries of our church over the years.

We have also scheduled two sets of four dates for our large group listening sessions, and we are excited about what we will gather from these meetings. 

For the River Landing Folks, the tentative dates of the meetings are as follows:

  • June 28th at 1 p.m. (Location at River Landing to be decided)
  • July 19th at 1 p.m. (Location at River Landing to be decided)
  • August 9th at 1 p.m. (Location at River Landing to be decided)
  • August 23rd at 1 p.m. (Location at River Landing to be decided) 

For the whole church, the dates will be four consecutive Wednesday nights in September. These gathering will include a meal.

  • September 8th - Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Program at 6:15 p.m.
  • Septebmer 15th - Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Program at 6:15 p.m.
  • September 22nd - Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Program at 6:15 p.m.
  • September 29th - Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Program at 6:15 p.m.

We also want to remind the congregation that they can access the complete data from our demographic study and our congregational survey here: 

Transition Update (4-21-21)

We have just about completed our survey of local community leaders, and we are currently putting together a brief (3 page) history of the church. Along with this brief history will be a “Ten Important Moments of our Church’s Life” countdown! A church property report is being drafted as well.

The most important work will be coming soon. These will be a series of four large group gatherings that focus on:

    1. The past and highlights of our history (Meeting 1). 

    2. Our values and what we currently are doing (Meeting 2). 

    3. Our dreams for the church’s future (Meeting 3).

    4. An exercise in mission and vision brainstorming (Meeting 4).

Because of the timing of the end of the pandemic and the challenge of attendance at meetings over the summer months, the transition committee has decided to schedule the in-person large group meetings for the end of August and beginning of September with the hopes that we will be back to having large in-person meals.

As these gatherings are scheduled, we hope that you will make attendance at these gatherings a priority. Your input is crucial as we plan for the future.   

Transition Update (3-15-21)

The primary task of the first part of the transition process is creating a “mission study.” The mission study is made up of a number of parts. The first half is generally a snapshot of the church and it includes:

We have completed the Area Demographic Study, the Congregational Survey, and the review of finances. Currently the transition team is working on the Survey of Community Leaders (see below) and writing a Brief history of the church. The church property statement is also being written.

The second half of the mission study includes gatherings where congregation members come together in groups to reflect on the highlights of the church in the past, talk about what we value about the church now, and think about what we believe the priorities of the church should be moving forward. We hope to be able to do this in medium sized groups beginning in late April.

Once the mission study is completed, the whole is presented to the congregation for review. If we feel that it does a good job of reflecting where we are and where we are going, we move into the second major task of the transitional work. At this point, the standing nominating committee comes up with a list of folks to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). This committee is then presented to the congregation for election. Once elected, they get assigned a PNC liaison from Salem Presbytery, and they begin developing the Church Information Form (CIF). The CIF is the document that is circulated among pastors in the denomination who are looking for a position. It describes the church, its ministry, and what the church is looking for in a new installed pastor and is developed from the Mission Study. The transitional pastor is not involved in the work of the PNC once it is formed.

The goal of the transition team is to have the Mission Study completed by mid-Summer and the PNC elected by the end of the summer.  

Community Leader Interviews:

Over the last month, members of the Transition Team have been interviewing various community leaders to discover their answers to the following questions:

  • From your perspective, what are the greatest strengths of our community?

  • What are the greatest challenges or needs facing our community right now?

  • How can churches in general and FPC-HP in particular strengthen our community or address our challenges?

  • How is FPC-HP perceived in the community?

The team has spoken with: Mayor Jay Wagner; Police Chief Travis Stroud; Nido Qubein, President of HPU; Tim Webster, President Presbyterian Homes, Inc; Tom Smith, Executive Director River Landing at Sandy Ridge; Ryan Ross, Open Door Ministries; & Jeff Patterson, Senior Pastor of Wesley Memorial Methodist. 

As to community strengths, all mentioned the willingness of the High Point Community to come together to find ways to address problems and get things done together. There is a great community spirit. 

As to community challenges, items mentioned included violence, homelessness, drug use, poverty, and racial division.

As to how churches can help, some mentioned continued support of food and homeless ministries, providing forums for interactions between divided groups, providing the lead in racial reconciliation, and opening doors to the “have-nots.” 

As to the perception of First Presbyterian High Point in the community, each mentioned how grateful they are for the church in the community and that the church does good work in the community. There is a great tradition and legacy here. 

Your Transition Team

Aaron Clinard, Doyle Early, Brooke Garrou, Kevin Harron, Wiz Horner, Debbie Mabe, Mimi Williams, and Pastor Lee