April 3, 2019
Dear CUCC members and friends,
Like you, those of us on the Church Council received Pastor Jenny Shultz-Thomas’s resignation with deep regret. Even as we process our sadness, we rejoice with her over the wonderful opportunity to which God is calling her. We acknowledge with thanksgiving the gift of our time together. Pastor Jenny and her adorable family have brought us great joy. And, inspired by her leadership, our congregation has grown even closer to God and to each other.
On Monday night, the Council began to discuss some of the choices we face as we continue our work. We readily came to a consensus view that we are in a good position to move soon to a search for a new settled (permanent) pastor. By the grace of God, ours is a healthy congregation with a strong sense of its mission.
The Council passed this motion:
“As our church moves forward, the Deacons and church council are actively engaged in establishing a plan and timeline for calling a settled pastor and providing a seamless transition for the church, while maintaining the positive work of Community UCC. We envision a streamlined process including, but not limited to reviewing and updating the CUCC Church Profile to reflect our church’s current work and vision and organizing a search team.”
According to our Constitution, the Deacons Ministry has the responsibility to initiate the search and call of a new pastor. We trust the Deacons to proceed thoughtfully. The Deacons have already been preparing to:
- Call a search committee for a settled pastor with the blessing and concurrence of the moderating team.
- Nurture the congregation and church staff during this process.
- Engage the congregation in the self-assessment necessary to describe us, our wider community, and the qualities we desire in a pastor.
- Make the most of the transition process.
We believe that this up-coming search and call process can build on the work we have done in the past few years to strengthen our community and to envision our future. Re-reading the Church Profile written for our 2016 search, we see that CUCC has changed in significant ways. Nonetheless, this earlier work gives us a good starting place.
Pastor Jenny assures us that she will continue to nurture us, even as we undertake the painful work of letting go of her ministry with us. We can walk our path with confidence and in peace because we can rely on each other. Most importantly, God loves us. Remember the words from Isaiah 43:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Please keep Pastor Jenny and our community lifted up in your prayers over the next few months. May God bless our work of “cultivating and letting go.”
Your Moderating Team