Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)
Updated December 13, 2013
Pastor Nominating Committee Progress Report
By Pat Torvik, Chairperson
Advent is a time of joyful anticipation, study, and prayer all mixed up with the hustle and bustle of Christmas decorating, parties and gifts. It is easy to let the secular Christmas overwhelm the holy in Advent. In some ways, that describes the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). We find ourselves trying to balance the desire to focus as individuals on Advent with the desire to complete our task to call a new Pastor/Head of Staff to Westminster.
We have competed our first year as a PNC. During that time, we have written and approved our Church Information Form (CIF). And then rewrote it as a Ministry Information Form (MIF) when the PC (USA) changed its computer system. We have reviewed applications from approximately 70 candidates and reviewed information from 40 other people who had not applied for the job, but were recommended to us by various individuals. Some of these candidates were particularly interesting and we met with them a number of times both in Dayton and in their home cities. We continue our search.
We are focused on learning as much as possible about our candidates so as to discern the one individual God is pointing toward Westminster Presbyterian Church. We try to stay focused on what is best for our church, rather than what each of us might prefer as an individual. That is not an easy task.
We are meeting a varied group of candidates - male and female, young and older, married and single, great preachers and good preachers, great administrators and good administrators, bold personalities and quiet personalities, and each of them has different passions and interests. The one characteristic they all have in common is a love of God and a strong call to be a pastor. We remain confident God is leading us to the right candidate. Shared devotions and prayer are an important part of this process, as are your prayers for us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Each of us has grown through the pastor search. Through talking to candidates, we learn more about ourselves and our faith. We hear about the books and articles our candidates are reading. This information enriches our own reading and study. And, of course, we continue to listen to online sermons by our candidates. Sermons, reading, interviews and visits help us to know prospective candidates. We believe all of this study, conversation and exploration will lead us to the person God wants for Westminster.
If you have questions about the PNC, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update September 26, 2013
Click here to view the revised PNC Process Chart.
Update September 10, 2013
Pastor Nominating Committee Progress Report
By Pat Torvik, Chairperson
Diana Butler Bass in Christianity for the Rest of Us describes discernment as “A gift to the whole of Christian community…. Discernment serves as a kind of spiritual compass, helping us negotiate the unfamiliar territory of our truest selves as we seek to find meaning in God’s call.” She points out “…it is easy to understand discernment as an individual process” - but discernment is also a corporate practice.
Last November, you commissioned the Pastor Nominating Committee to search for the next Head of Staff for Westminster Presbyterian Church. Your instructions included the expectation that we would discern together whom God is nudging toward us and who we are being nudged to consider. The search has been an interesting adventure. A major part of this adventure is learning how to discern as a group. We share devotions each week; we talk about what we have learned about particular candidates, and we talk about the books and articles we are reading. All of these activities help us understand who we are as individuals, as a group, and as part of our congregation.
Since we were elected last November, we have written the Church Information Form (CIF) necessary in order to be entered into the records of the PC(USA) CLC system. This system allows churches to post vacancies. Pastors who are interested in applying for positions are able to do so electronically. This system was completely revamped this summer resulting in all churches with vacancies, and all pastors seeking positions, resubmitting their paperwork. The new church form is called the Ministry Information Form (MIF), and, yes, we submitted the new forms. As a result of the revamped system, we are now receiving a significant number of new applications.
Many churches now post weekly sermons online. This has allowed us to listen to sermons from almost all of the potential candidates. We have heard some wonderful sermons. Church websites give us an idea of what a pastor considers important in the service of God. And it gives us some idea of his/her relational style. We find that all of these tools help us to discern whether a fit is possible with a given candidate.
The PNC meets weekly, reviews the applications that have been sent to us, and also follows up on all referrals received. We use Skype and conference calls to talk with potential candidates. We have invited a few candidates to come meet with us for conversation and now are sending small groups to listen to pastors preach in their home churches. We are confident God is guiding us to the right individual to lead Westminster in the years ahead.
Please keep the committee in your prayers as we continue our journey. If you have questions about the PNC’s search, please contact me at email@example.com.
Update July 7, 2013
The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) continues to review applications and do research on recommendations from around the country. At the same time, the PNC is working on converting the Church Information Form (CIF) to a Ministry Information Form (MIF). The PC(USA) is updating the Church Leadership Connection System so as to make the computerized pastoral search and match system more user friendly. The changes made by PC(USA) require us to convert from the old form to the new form by July 31, 2013. The new form will generally contain the same information found in our current CIF, but in a new format.
For further information, contact Pat Torvik, Chairperson of the PNC, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update June 11, 2013
Pastor Nominating Committee Progress Report
By Pat Torvik, Chairperson, Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)
On Sunday, June 9, the Personnel Committee and the Pastor Nominating Committee presented an education class titled, A Congregational Conversation with the Personnel and Pastor Nominating Committees. The class was led by David Weaver and Pat Torvik. Approximately 60 parishioners were in attendance. Following is a summary of the information presented at the class, reflecting the process and progress of the PNC as the search for a new Pastor/Head of Staff moves forward.
The Standing Nominating Committee met in September and October 2012 to prepare a slate of persons to be nominated to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee. At a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, November 4, 2012, the following folks were elected to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee: Jim Dyer, Jennifer Grass, Amy Lachman, Nick Raines, Milt Ross, Wayne Spalding, Pat Torvik, J. D. Whitlock and Barbara Wilson.
The Pastor Nominating Committee held their first meeting on November 14 facilitated by The Reverend Dr. Shelley Wiley. Pat Torvik was elected chairperson and Milt Ross assistant chairperson and secretary.
The Church Information Form (CIF) was completed and approved by the Presbytery Committee on Ministry by the end of February 2012. Since February the PNC has continued to meet weekly except for holidays.
The Committee received two to three applications a week through the PC (USA) computer system and now has over 30 applications. In addition, we have been in contact with a number of leaders of our denomination nationwide and have about the same number of referrals of people who may not be actively seeking a new position, but who might be a good fit for Westminster. We have been looking at credentials and listening to sermons from people in both groups.
Newer technology and many church’s websites make it possible for our committee to listen to sermons of folks we are considering and on occasion to watch videos of the candidates being considered. One of our committee members, J.D. Whitlock, has developed a unique database for us. It is interactive and can only be accessed by people on our committee. We enter the name and biographical data of people we are considering into the database. Each of us has a comment box for each candidate. Each member of the committee can access this database from home or office on our computers, our iPads and our Smart Phones to add our input and see what others in the group have learned about, or think about, the candidate. This process allows us to keep the conversation going all week long. When we meet, we can project the database on a large screen and discuss a candidate as we all are looking at the same data.
We also have a private Google Group so we can send anyone in the group e-mails and information. Our Committee on Ministry liaison is on the Google Group with us so she can keep up with where we are in the process at any given time.
We currently have identified a small number of people we think look interesting and have started initial conversations with them using conference calling and Skype.
I would like to thank the PNC Committee for their amazing faithfulness to the task at hand. In spite of jobs, families and everything else going on in their lives, the members meet week-in and week-out with their homework done. You truly are the best!
Look for more updates in the future as we journey this road together. If you have questions about the PNC’s search please contact me at email@example.com.
Update May 24, 2013
Click here to view the revised PNC Process Chart.
Update April 22, 2013
Report to the Congregation on Pastor Transition
delivered Sunday, April 21
by Lola Signom, Elder, Chair, Personnel Committee
In Sandy’s April 7 sermon on “Embracing Transition,” he quoted American author Marilyn Ferguson who said on the subject of transition – “It is not so much change that we fear.... What we fear is the in-between place.”
For the past many months, your Westminster Personnel Committee, as charged by Session, has been focusing on Westminster‘s upcoming “in-between place.” Of course, you know that I am referring to the time between Sandy’s leaving until a new Head of Staff is called by the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC).
Over the past 18 months, you have heard many updates from the Personnel Committee, including the most recent at our Annual Congregational Meeting in February. Today I would like to bring you up to date on what has been done since February and the most recent events.
In the Annual meeting update, I explained that the Committee has worked closely with all members of the Pastoral Staff to craft a plan for dividing up the key non-administrative Head of Staff responsibilities across the four Pastoral Staff members.
- The Staff initially proposed this approach, the Personnel Committee met with the four members of the Pastoral Staff to review the plan, to ensure fairness, and to confirm that the staff wholeheartedly agreed.
- The Reverend John Neely will act in a role analogous to that of a department chair in a University …in that he will prepare agendas for staff meetings and facilitate program coordination with staff members, as needed. As you are all aware, we have a highly competent and collaborative staff who are already functioning in a collegial manner and are confident this will continue.
As additional steps to ensure fairness and avoid staff overload during this in-between place, we have put plans in place for temporary assistance with Sunday School responsibilities and also for temporary, part-time administrative assistance to take over many of the time-consuming and important administrative tasks and free our ordained staff to carry out their new temporary responsibilities. This part-time role will also provide the additional administrative assistance that will be required by the PNC as they move forward with their task in calling a new Head of Staff (HOS).
You’ll recall we also recommended a temporary Visiting Pastor position. I should emphasize -- so there is no confusion --what this position IS and what it is NOT.
- This position IS a temporary, half-time position with the responsibility for leading worship and preaching up to three times per month, hospital visitation one day per week, and to act as moderator of Session for Westminster.
- This position IS NOT a HOS position or an Intentional Interim Pastor position.
Once the Position Description and this approach were approved by the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry and by Session, the Personnel Committee swung into action to identify candidates for the Visiting Pastor Position. We reached out and received recommendations from our own Presbytery, from our two neighboring Presbyteries – Cincinnati and Scioto Valley – and from members of Session and the Personnel Committee.
As a Committee of the whole, we reviewed resumes, read and listened to sermons, and we conducted in-person interviews with five outstanding candidates.
In addition to the “Duties and Responsibilities” listed in the Position Description,” we also included a “Person Description” which identified eight required qualifications. We said the candidate should: …
- be a Presbyterian
- and a good preacher
- be collegial
- have the ability to work in a large multi-staff church
- have high integrity
- be pastoral
- be experienced
- be personable
Today, I am pleased to tell you that a person with all of those qualifications has been recommended and enthusiastically approved by Session and the Committee on Ministry. I am pleased to announce that The Reverend Tom York has been named to the temporary, half-time position of Visiting Pastor and Moderator of Session.
Some of you may know Tom. He retired in June 2012 from Knox Presbyterian Church in nearby Hyde Park, near Cincinnati, where he had served as HOS for 16 years. Prior to that, Tom served as HOS at Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus for 10 years. You will have an opportunity to meet Tom on the 12th of May when he will preach here for the first time. In the meantime, if you want to listen to some of Tom’s 2012 sermons, they are available on the Knox Church website.
We are preparing a brochure to help you understand the various responsibilities as they are now being discharged by our Pastoral Staff, and that will be available very shortly. We will also list the responsibilities on our church website.
Our commitment to you as your Personnel Committee is to communicate frequently, to listen and be open to your voice, to do everything we can to support our staff here at Westminster, during this in-between place – all in the name of loving God and neighbor. Thank you.
Update March 1, 2013
The PNC has written the Church Information Form to describe our church to pastoral candidates and to try to describe the person we are seeking as our Pastor/Head of Staff. This description will be available on the PC(USA) web site to any Presbyterian minister seeking a call. Click here to view the Church Information Form (CIF).
Update December 12, 2012
Click here to view the PNC Process Chart.
Update November 15, 2012
The PNC met for the first time on Wednesday, November 14. Pat Torvik was elected Chair, and Milt Ross was elected Vice Chair/Secretary. Additional information will be communicated as it becomes available.
Click here to read the bios of the PNC members.
Westminster Discernment Process Update
October 24, 2012
At its September 4th meeting the Session voted to approve the recommendations of the Personnel Committee concerning our Pastoral Transition. Then the Standing Nominating Committee was called into action.
The Westminster Code of Regulations states: When the need to call a Pastor occurs, the congregation shall elect a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) of nine members, after first seeking the guidance and
permission of the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of the Miami Valley. A slate of nine names, which shall include at least five members from the congregation at large, two active Elders, and one active Deacon, shall be presented to the congregation by the congregation’s Nominating Committee.
The Nominating Committee met in September with The Reverend Dr. Shelley Wiley, Westminster’s liaison from the Presbytery of the Miami Valley’s Committee on Ministry. Dr. Wiley discussed the guidelines from the Presbytery and helped us begin our discussions as to appropriate attributes for members of the PNC and some of the ways we could proceed. One important point was that we were to conduct our meetings without a pastor from Westminster.
We solicited names for the PNC from the congregation, both self-referrals and recommendations of church members, for three weeks. We received 193 recommendations!
The Session and Board of Deacons chose two active Ruling Elders and one active Deacon, respectively, to serve on the PNC.
Seeking God’s will and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we began our confidential discussions of the recommended members and the comments made on the recommendation forms. We decided that the PNC, as the “face” of Westminster, needs many qualities. PNC members should demonstrate that they share their time, treasure, talent, and that they are active in one or more aspects of the church. The nominees needed to accept a commitment ranging from 12 to 24 months of demanding committee work, be able to present Westminster and Dayton in a positive light, have the health and future of WPC as a focus, and trust in the Holy Spirit as their guide.
The Nominating Committee discussed the nominees from Session and Deacons and the gifts they bring to the PNC. To complete the slate, we considered individuals who would represent the diversity of the church (i.e. boards, committees, interest groups, age, tenure at WPC, service to the Miami Valley beyond the church, etc.), and particular gifts that each nominee would offer to the overall committee. We prayed for guidance in our discernment both individually between meetings and as a group when we were together. In the end we chose, prayerfully, six nominees to complete the slate.
Our committee met for three evenings in October and spent many hours preparing this slate of potential PNC members. It is our hope that you will enthusiastically embrace and encourage our nominees. These nine fellow members of Westminster will present the candidate to be the next Pastor of this church we all love.
If you have questions or comments about our process please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-361-5451) or one of the other members of the Standing Nominating Committee.
Yours in service to God and the Church,
Jane Collins, Chair
Other members of the Committee: David Leach, Brent Manley, Sue Merz, Gene Saunders, Sue Seeberger, Cliff Wild
Click here to read the bios of the proposed Pastor Nominating Committee members.
Westminster Discernment Process Update
September 13, 2012
Pastoral Transition Recommendation
in forming a
Pastor Nominating Committee approved.
Click here to read the complete information that was mailed to the congregation on September 13, 2012.
The church Nominating Committee is now seeking nominations for the Pastor Nominating Committee. Forms included in the congregational mailing and in this Sunday's bulletin may be mailed to or turned in at the Church Office. Or you may submit your nomination online using the form below.
Deadline for receiving nominations is Sunday, September 30.
Self-Nomination is appropriate.
Nominations are now closed.
Westminster Discernment Process
- Wall of Wonder
- Team A Report
- Team B Report
- Team C Report
- Team C Presentation
- Minute for Ministry (Vic Barnett, July 8, 2012)
Personnel Committee Report to Congregation presented at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation, February 26, 2012
Lola Signom, Chair of Personnel Committee
It has been a very busy four months for the Personnel Committee since we gathered in October in Fellowship Hall immediately following Sandy’s announcement that he intended to request a meeting of the congregation to approve his request to retire in April 2013.
Many, or perhaps most of you, were at that meeting, and you’ll recall that Vic Barnett, as the outgoing Chair of Personnel, and I, as incoming Chair, explained that Session had charged the Personnel Committee with recommending a pastoral transition approach to Session no later than February 2012.
To further refresh your recollection at that meeting in October, we explained that:
- The new Book of Order and the recently updated Miami Valley Presbytery Pastoral Transition Manual allow more flexibility to congregations in approaches to pastoral transition, beyond the approach churches have traditionally used - an approach which mandated that pastoral transition processes could not begin until the incumbent pastor leaves.
- We also explained that no decision had been made as to the approach to be recommended, and that the Personnel Committee, in partnership with the Presbytery Committee on Ministry (COM), would be looking at alternatives and would make a recommendation to Session no later than February 2012, as Session had requested.
We heard many voices at that meeting, each expressing different points of view as to how to proceed - each one with the sincere interest of the church in mind. In the days following that meeting, both Personnel and the Presbytery continued to hear many voices through phone calls, letters and email - different voices, different points of view about how best to proceed.
In the weeks that followed, the Personnel Committee worked closely with the Miami Valley Presbytery Committee on Ministry. We met multiple times with The Reverend Shelley Wiley, Chair of the COM, to understand the process and our options. Shelley could not be here today as she is leading worship at Honey Creek Presbyterian, but we do have a representative member of the COM with us today, who is not a member of Westminster and therefore can speak on behalf of COM to Westminster, if need be. He is The Reverend Dr. Joe Hookey. Dr. Hookey would you please stand? Thank you.
So, as I said, the Personnel Committee met. We listened, we prayed, we studied, we compiled a history of WPC's continuous approach to Mission Self Study since the 2008 Visioning process, and we consulted continuously with COM. It was an iteractive process for Personnel and for Session, working closely with COM.
During Executive Sessions with Session, Sandy and John Shonle were excused. Sandy was excused because as outgoing Head of Staff, he does not participate in any decision making pertaining to pastoral transition. John Shonle was excused because he is in a temporary role of leadership rather than a “called” pastor.
John Neely served as moderator for the Executive Sessions with Session, with Shelley Wiley present during the February meeting.
About now you may be thinking to yourself when is this woman going to get to the point? I promise I will do that very soon, but I wanted to give you a sense of the process that the Personnel Committee, the Presbytery Committee on Ministry, and Session went through so that you will understand that we have done our best to ensure a careful and thoughtful process thus far, with consideration for all the voices raised.
The challenge, as the Personnel Committee saw it, was to find a process that would minimize the gap between the leaving of our current Head of Staff and the calling and arrival of either a an interim Head of Staff or a new, installed Head of Staff, while (and I underline this ) ensuring that appropriate care is given to receiving congregational and staff input as to the congregation’s readiness to begin a search process.
We realized that no one process guarantees success, but that we needed a process that respected all voices, was transparent, that nurtured church unity and, most important, that gave the opportunity for us as a congregation to discern where God is calling us.
Personnel wrestled with this challenge and we received some excellent guidance from COM.
- COM advised that the best option available to us to meet this challenge was a consultant-led discernment model that would occur while the current Head of Staff is in place, and that would address both the goal to minimize the gap between calling an interim Head of Staff or an installed Head of Staff, and also address the need for congregational input and discernment in this process.
- Under this approach, the Presbytery would put forth a small field of proven consultants who are experienced in working with Presbyterian Congregations to conduct a discernment process.
- From that list the Personnel Committee could then vet and recommend one consultant to Session, and Session would have the ultimate choice of the specific consultant.
- The chosen consultant would then initiate a discernment process that would heavily involve the congregation, and the outcome would be a determination as to whether we are ready as a church to form a Pastoral Nominating Committee.
Based on this input and with prayerful consideration, today I report that at the February meeting, Session approved the Personnel Committee’s recommendation that we conduct a discernment process to determine our church’s readiness to form a search committee for either an interim Head of Staff or an installed Head of Staff, and that this process be led by The Reverend Dr. Tom Castlen, who was one of the three consultants recommended by the Presbytery.
Dr. Castlen is a well known and respected ordained Presbyterian pastor, and an experienced leader in the Presbyterian Church (USA) with broad experience in pastoral, administrative, academic and consulting work.
Tom is a process consultant, which means that he guides and engages the congregation in the discovery process. The process will begin in March and conclude at the end of June. You will have a chance to meet Dr. Castlen on Sunday, March 11, when he will give a brief Minute for Ministry to explain more about the process. He will also be available after worship.
His process directly engages the Congregation in the following ways:
- All members of the Congregation will have an opportunity to take a survey on Sunday, March 25. This will give an opportunity for us to understand where we are as a congregation against a baseline of other congregations, and will be an important input to determining “who we are” today.
- In addition, three teams will be formed with five members of the congregation on each team.
- Team A will focus on “Coming to terms with history” – Where have we been over the last 30 years?
- Team B will focus on Understanding “who we are,” and “how all of what wedo” reveals “how we live out God’s call.” The survey will be one important input to this team.
Team C will focus on discerning “where God might be calling us to go.” This team will work to understand what new horizons might God open up for us.
- In addition, there will also be a focus group which will be made up of Teams A, B, and C, plus an additional 15 members of the congregation who will meet periodically to report on their progress, respond, and share their thoughts. The individual Teams, the entire Focus Group, and Session members will be working together with Dr. Castlen over next three months as part of this discernment process.
Today you are being asked to recommend participants for the three teams and focus group. At the end of my presentation, our ushers will hand out a nominations form for you to either put forth your own name or the name of another member you recommend to participate in one of the team or in the focus group.
There is more information on the form about each of the teams, which will help you make nominations appropriately. Your nominations are an important part of the process to ensure that all voices are heard, and that participation is open, transparent, and involves you in the process.
We will follow our church’s normal process for nominations, and the Nominating Committee will be meeting early in March to finalize team and focus group selections, so please either turn in your nomination forms today before you leave, or ensure they are in the office no later than next Sunday, March 4.
As I stated earlier, the outcome of this discernment process is to evaluate the congregation’s readiness to begin a search committee for either an interim Head of staff or to recommend to the Committee on Ministry that Westminster be granted permission to form a Pastor Nominating Committee.
With that, the ushers will now pass out the forms. Because we know that it is better to fill out the form now rather than taking it home with the best of intentions but ultimately leaving it lay blank on the kitchen counter, we would like to use about 5 or 10 minutes for you to make your recommendations. The ushers will collect your completed forms. Please send the forms to the end of the pew when you have completed them. There will be extra forms in the Narthex and the form will also be on our web site. All nominations are due by next Sunday, March 4.
And now …do you have any questions?
Recommendation for Discernment Teams
Deadline: This Sunday, March 4
Volunteers Needed - Three Teams (5 each)
Team A – five persons who can document where the church has been over the past 30 years. The five persons ought to include someone who is perceived as a long time “states person” and strong supporter of the life and work of the congregation, two skilled writers/discussion leaders, someone with some artistic talent to help with materials, and one person who can coordinate the team and keep it on schedule. (Timeframe—Periodically in Mar & Apr)
Team B – five persons who can document the status of our church today using a survey tool provided by our consultant. The team ought to include persons who have experience in analyzing survey reports including statistics, persons conversant with the wide range of congregational programs, a writer who can prepare a report on the findings for wider use in the congregation, and persons who are not anxious about change and are able to lead discussions on the survey findings, and one person who can coordinate the team and keep it on schedule. (Timeframe— Periodically in Mar, Apr, May, Jun)
Team C – five persons who can document ideas of where our church should go in the future. The group will use a book, a DVD, and meetings to assess our future. The team ought to include persons who have teaching skills, some who have a sense of history and its implications, one who has writing gifts, and those who are willing to grapple and dream about what God is calling Christians to be and do in the future. (Timeframe— Periodically in Apr, May, June)
Focus Group – 30 members (15 from the three teams above, plus 15 members in addition to the members of the three teams) - The goal is a representative group from a cross section of the congregation. Because of the importance of the project and the short time period, focus members must have a willingness and commitment to devote the time necessary for the “good of the congregation.” (Timeframe – Periodically April –June)
Selections and assignments will be made by the Nominating Committee based on recommendations received by the congregation through March 4.