Dear members and friends of Trinity,
We are honored and blessed to serve you as your Transition Team. This team has been called together by the Leadership Council to guide our church through the retirement of Sid Hall, our lead minister for the past thirty-three years.
We want to start by saying how grateful we are for Sid and for the commitment and care that he has shown our congregation over the course of his career. Trinity would not be the innovative, justice-centered, loving church it is today without him.
Our Trinity family will soon enter a time of change and transition. It will be a time of opportunity, of grief, of celebration and letting go. During this time, the Conference Minister of the UCC South Central Conference will be with us to provide leadership and encouragement to the Transition Team, the Leadership Council, and the congregation. The process will be guided by UCC best practices for ministerial transitions.
As you know, Trinity is a Union Church affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. The Trinity Leadership Council has chosen to use the United Church of Christ’s Search and Call process to select an interim minister and then a permanent, settled minister. We will not be requesting a United Methodist appointment.
Given the uniqueness of Trinity as a congregation and the fact that Sid has been with us for over 30 years, the Transition Team agrees that the UMC appointment process would not be a good fit. In the UMC process, our bishop would choose a permanent minister for Trinity, with no transitional period to process the loss of Sid. In contrast, the UCC process allows Trinity to call an interim minister who is specifically trained to help churches prepare for a new settled minister. With the UCC, we have the opportunity to interview ministerial candidates, choose one that feels like a good fit for Trinity, and have them come visit with the church before settled placement is made. We will always cherish and honor our UMC commitments and heritage, but we believe the UCC Search and Call process is the best option for Trinity.
Our transition process will take place in two phases.
For Phase 1, the five of us will select an interim minister from a limited pool of available UCC candidates. We began this process in the fall of 2020 and it will continue through the spring of 2021. The interim minister will join us by July 1, 2021 (Sid’s retirement date) and take the congregation through the time from Sid’s departure until the new settled pastor is selected and arrives.
The time an interim minister is with a congregation varies but is usually 12-18 months. The interim will offer us an opportunity to assess our history, mission, and unique ministries. They will provide for ongoing worship life, offer basic pastoral care and administrative leadership, and will help guide us through the unique complexities, challenges and opportunities inherent in an “in-between” time. An interim minister’s call ends as soon as the settled minister begins.
It is our job as the Transition Team not only to work with the interim minister, but also to provide clear and frequent communication with the Leadership Council and the congregation.
Phase 2 of the transition process will begin with the appointment of the interim minister. The Leadership Council will gather a team of between nine and thirteen people, representing a cross-section of the congregation, to engage in the discernment and search process for a settled UCC minister. This process will take between a year and eighteen months to complete.
The congregation will participate in the settled minister process by nominating individuals for the settled minister search team and by giving feedback on different aspects of the process, including voting on the search team’s candidate for the position. We will be providing more detailed information as these opportunities approach.
If you have questions about this process or need some support during this time, please feel free to reach out to the five members of the transition team via email:
Although we are all sad to see Sid leave, we are delighted that he and his family will be moving forward with their future plans, and we look forward to the journey ahead for our church.
Jessica Rush Dugan, co-leader
Brandon Wollerson, co-leader
Ephesians 4:15, 16 (NLT)
We will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Under Christ’s direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.