ECO Policy/Transitions Committee (Update 7.20.22)
This past Sunday was a special day for Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church as we gathered to praise God, celebrate and thank Pastor Jim Glatz for his 15 years of service as our minister. He has touched so many lives, and we will be forever indebted to him for his service.
In retirement, Jim is ready to start a new chapter of his life. He will step away and follow the direction God leads him. The congregation of Saxe Gotha will likewise step forward in faith to face new challenges and opportunities as we seek to honor and serve the Lord.
As he explained so well in his last This Week at Saxe Gotha article, Jim will be following the ECO (A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians) Standing Policy which states that a retired pastor is not allowed to come back to his or her former church to provide any pastoral services, including conducting funerals, weddings and baptisms for an extended period of time (at least two years in our case).
This policy is truly beneficial to past, current and future church leadership and congregants. One specific benefit is that it helps support the new transitional pastor, and eventual senior pastor by allowing him or her the opportunity to develop relationships and bond in faith with church members as they walk through difficult times or celebrate special occasions. It is these times, as well as walking daily with God that unites and brings people together as a church family. The policy is also fair to all congregants about how and when ministers can officiate over events, ensuring that preferential treatment is not given.
Saxe Gotha has had a busy summer with wonderful celebrations for both Jim and Hal’s retirements, preparation for the new Worship Arts Director, Garth Olson (set to begin August 15) and the Transition Pastor Search Committee entering the final stages of their search. We look forward, with hopeful anticipation, to what the Lord has in store for His church.
The Transition Communications Committee was recently formed to keep everyone up to date. Going forward we will continue to have regular news updates in TWASG and on the Transitions page of the Saxe Gotha Website (saxegotha.org/transitions). There is also an email address, email@example.com, where you can ask questions. Elders Scott Taylor and Matthew Gissendanner will respond to your inquiries.
Thank you for your continued prayers during these transitions.
The Transitions Communication Committee: Meredith Cully, Jenni Gannon, Matthew Gissendanner, Deck Hudson and Byron Kirby
As Pastor Jim nears the end of his time at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church this summer, the Transitional Pastor Nominating Committee continues its search to find the person that God has prepared to lead our congregation during this time of transition. We have had 5 applicants so far and are currently conducting interviews to narrow that list down. In addition to the search for a transitional pastor, the Pastor Nominating Committee will be looking for the next head pastor that God has chosen for us. To support this work, we have begun a special stewardship campaign for the particular purpose of supporting the transition and the search for these pastors. The costs incurred in pastoral searches (e.g., travel costs, relocation expenses, administrative fees, etc.) and continuing the salary of our current pastor through February 2023 to fulfill the Terms of Call, which largely fall outside the scope of our annual operating budget. To help with these costs, we have established a designated account so that both pastoral search teams have the resources necessary to conduct a thorough search and fully explore all options.
Please be in prayer for our church, its leaders, these committees, candidates, their families, and consider how you can support Saxe Gotha’s season of transition. All prayerful donations to the special designated account are greatly appreciated! If you feel led to give to this restricted account, please donate online at saxegotha.org/give (and select Transition Fund) or include Transition Fund in the memo line of your check.
The Transition Team will be reaching out again over the coming months to let you know of other hands-on opportunities to serve the Lord in Saxe Gotha’s transition.
Team: Bradley Farrar, Dawn Cochran, Michelle Faust, Byron Kirby, Graham Gardner
December 8- The initial team meeting was held. Joe Moore attended, and the team reviewed documents regarding the ECO transitional pastor process. Dawn Cochran was appointed Chair. Team was asked to review and prayerfully discern the characteristics SGPC will need for this important leader. A Church Information Form (CIF) is the most needed item required to formally begin the search. The team decided to meet each Thursday to move this forward.
January 6- The team met with Allen Thompson, the ECO appointed MPT (Ministry Partnership Team) representative, via Zoom to review the process in more detail. A CIF from another sister church was reviewed. It was suggested SGPC create a draft CIF or at least portions of the CIF that could be shared with possible candidates while the SGPC delegation attended the National Gathering at the end of January.
January 13- The team met to review and update the initial draft of the CIF, with a focus on the characteristics of the leader, as well as the job description. Team members were assigned portions of the CIF to wordsmith.
January 20- Team met to review the updated CIF, focusing again on the characteristics and job description. A draft of these key areas must go to Session prior to being shared outside of SGPC. Team agreed to meet on Sunday for a final review prior to providing the draft to Session for their Monday meeting.
January 23- Team finalized job description draft. Sent to Session for their review.
January 24- Session reviewed job description draft, identified some small concerns, we updated it accordingly.
Chairperson was contacted by both Associate Pastors in regard to their concerns and suggestions for the job description. Training on the Transition process of ECO was requested. Request will be forwarded to the full Transition Team.
January National Gathering team searched out possible candidates at the meeting and provided contact info for the search team as requested to interested parties.
February 3- Team met and updated the CIF draft.
February 4- CIF was sent to Allan Thompson and the MPT for their review.
February 15- Team met via Zoom with Allen and reviewed CIF feedback from MPT. They indicated we do not need additional MPT approval prior to posting.
February 25- Final draft sent to Session for their approval. Approved on February 27.
March 2- Job posted to the ECO Job Board and applications being received.
Get approval from ECO to be added to Transitional Pastor website. Requested and awaiting their approval.
March 10- Team meeting to define interview questions, review received applications.
End of March- Identify short list of candidates to move to the next step.
The Transition Team and Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) have been prayerfully working to discern God’s will for our congregation as we transition to a new Senior Pastor. We met together with ECO representatives to discuss Presbytery recommendations regarding a Certified Transitional Pastor (CTP). The result of this meeting was a unanimous agreement that an ECO Certified Transitional Pastor will best serve our church in providing discipleship and discernment as we eventually transition to the new Senior Pastor that God has already chosen for us to call to lead our congregation. At their November meeting, Session approved a motion brought forward from the Transition Team that Session hire a Certified Transitional Pastor to start no later than July 18, 2022, with a contract term of at least one year. This corresponds with Senior Pastor Jim Glatz's proposed departure from Saxe Gotha on July 17, 2022, which was recently approved by the Personnel Team. Session also voted to form a 5-member Search Team to evaluate interested candidates from the pool of ECO Certified Transitional Pastors and to identify and recommend the Pastor who will best lead us during this transition.
ECO trains and certifies Pastors who are called as Certified Transitional Pastors to help churches like Saxe Gotha navigate through a pastoral transition so that the church is healthy and ready for its flourishing next step. While shepherding and ministering to the congregation at Saxe Gotha, the Certified Transitional Pastor hired by Session will prayerfully and faithfully assist our members and staff with working through the loss of our Senior Pastor, and with church visioning and planning for the future. These important and primary actions will best prepare the PNC, already elected by the Congregation, with its work in identifying the Senior Pastor that God has already chosen for our church. The Certified Transitional Pastor who serves Saxe Gotha will not be a candidate to apply for our Senior Pastor position.
The Session, Transition Team and Pastor Nominating Committee deeply appreciate the continued prayers and support of our staff and covenant partners as we continue to serve Saxe Gotha during this important transition.
Thanks for your help,
Transition Team Member
Transition Team Update:
The Transition Team (Scott Taylor, Matt Gissendanner, Michelle Faust, Blake Taylor and Nancy Lundy) has been hard at work getting an initial transition plan written, organized and approved by Session. We have worked alongside the church consultant from Crows Feet, the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), the ECO Presbytery of South Carolina Ministry Partnership Team (MPT) representative and the Session to create a plan utilizing the data from the recent church survey to bring Saxe Gotha toward her new future. Please rest assured that we are working diligently to make sure we have a smooth transition for everyone, including the new pastor God has chosen for us. We look forward to providing you with monthly updates in the church newsletter.
Pastor Nominating Committee Update:
The Pastor Nominating Committee has hit the ground running, and we are excited to find the minister that God has prepared for us. We are prayerfully and deliberately working our way through the steps followed when searching for a new minister. With the assistance of ECO, SGPC Leadership and Crows Feet Consulting, we are gathering information that will enable us to post the Senior Minister application.
The creation of the application has several components other than the job description, we are also working on a description of our church and community. We all know that Saxe Gotha is a nurturing, loving faith family, and we want to ensure that this is communicated. In addition to describing our church, we also want to explain what a great community we live in.
The PNC is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and skills and we are committed to seeking God’s will for Saxe Gotha through prayer, work and discernment. We are excited about our next chapter and ask that you join with us in prayer for our congregation, current leadership and new minister. We are certain that God has a plan for our church family.
Dear Church Family,
In July, Saxe Gotha’s Officers and Staff gathered to discuss the Church Assessment Tool (CAT) survey data. Several wonderful things about our congregation were confirmed. First, we heard that over 385 members dedicated the time necessary to take the 100-question survey, which is proof of your devotion to Saxe Gotha’s future. Thank you! Also, even in the face of constant cultural bombardment, Saxe Gotha’s members voiced resoundingly that we remain grounded in eternal truths as revealed in the Bible. Saxe Gotha is overwhelmingly, uniformly theologically conservative and our members “believe that their faith is central to their lives rather than peripheral.”
The CAT survey data also showed that three priorities of actionable goals were consistently ranked highest among all demographics:
1) Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.
2) Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.
3) Expand outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society.
We also heard these additional findings of interest:
- “Members of the church like to find familiar ways of doing things and stick with them . . . the church may find it difficult to make the changes required to achieve its goals without triggering conflicts." – Crows Feet Consulting
- Of those surveyed, 81% tended to agree or agree with the statement “On the whole, I am satisfied with how things are in our church.”
- The data demonstrated an environment of high satisfaction and low energy. This can allow the congregation to feel relatively satisfied with the status quo.
- “On the whole, members of the church have a deep appreciation for the life they share as a congregation.” – Crows Feet Consulting
The officers and staff have been prayerfully considering the results of the survey and we will continue over the coming months to develop meaningful and actionable goals. We are encouraged that even during this time of change you, our members, have demonstrated a deep loyalty to our church family.
Our guiding statement during this transition is HOPE: hope for ourselves, hope for Saxe Gotha and hope for our wider community. We ask you to join us, your leadership in seeking to embody the values of HOPE:
Saxe Gotha’s officers and staff will be gathering again with the consultant this Saturday to continue to discern God’s Will. Please pray for our church and for its leaders, that we would be sensitive to the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit as we seek to serve His church. We are ever hopeful and encouraged, knowing we can trust that God is constantly working for the good of His church, and that God is always in control, working “all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
On behalf of the Officers and Staff,
Elder, Class of 2022
* Please note that a copy of the Crows Feet assessment is available in the church office for your review. And, feel free reach out to me if you would like to discuss.