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: 

Honor God 
Openly Communicate
Pray Fervently
Extend Grace

If you would like to contact the Transition Team, please email transitions@saxegotha.org. Scott Taylor or Matthew Gissendanner will follow up with you.

Please take a few minutes to watch this welcome message from Pastor Morgan. We pray for him to have safe travels to South Carolina and welcome him to Saxe Gotha beginning January 1!

Transitional Pastor Announcement - 11.29.22

Dear Saxe Gotha Church Family, 

After prayerful consideration, the Session unanimously approved the recommendation of the Transitional Pastor Search Committee to call the Rev. Dr. Morgan Murray as our ECO Certified Transitional Pastor to begin January 1, 2023 here at Saxe Gotha. Morgan comes to us with more than twenty years in pastoral ministry most recently from West Valley Presbyterian Church in Cupertino, CA where he has served as Certified Transitional Pastor and Head of Staff. Prior to this role, he served as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek, California. Morgan received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry Degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has completed Certified Transitional Pastor Training for ECO and he also serves as a coach for other pastors. Morgan has two grown sons who reside in California. 

We are excited to welcome Morgan to Lexington and to Saxe Gotha. We will be sharing more information about him in the coming weeks as we prepare for his arrival at the first of the year. We would like to thank the Transitional Pastor Search Committee for all their hard work and discernment over the past several months: Dawn Cochran (chair), Michelle Faust, Graham Gardner, and Byron Kirby. To answer a frequently asked question, per ECO polity, Transitional Pastors are called (employed) by the Session and not called by the congregation. Please keep Morgan in your prayers as he moves to South Carolina in the next few weeks.

Joe Moore, Clerk of Session

Transition Communication Committee Update - 11.17.22

This is a brief reminder there's a congregational meeting scheduled following the 11:00 am Traditional Service this Sunday, November 20. There will be three items on the agenda, 1) a vote related to the nominating if members to the officer nominating committee, 2) to a vote regarding the terms of call for our associate pastors and 3) a message from the Transition Team. Ahead of the Transition Team presentation, they wanted to provide you with the information found below. Please share this with your class as you see best.

Thank you for your dedicated service to fostering the discipleship at Saxe Gotha.
Transition Communication Committee

What is a Certified Transitional Pastor (CTP)?
Certified Transitional Pastors are trained and certified by ECO to assist churches as they 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 retirement of our Senior Pastor, and with church visioning and planning for the future. These important and primary actions will best prepare the Pastor Nomination Committee, already elected by the Congregation, with its work in identifying the Senior Pastor that God has already chosen for our church.

Why we decided as a church that a Certified Transitional Pastor is best for Saxe Gotha?

- ECO recommends churches in transition utilize certified transitional pastors. This aligns with the recommendation of Saxe Gotha’s consultant, Crows Feet Consulting. 

- Session recognizes that there will be change with the next pastor, and a dedicated time of separation avoids unfair comparisons and provides the incoming senior pastor an environment in which the church may thrive under new leadership.

What has been the search process for Transition Pastor Search Committee (TPSC)?

Among other things, the TPSC has developed a church information form, received approval of the form from our Presbytery’s Ministry Partnership Team and published it on the ECO Job Board. The TPSC has also reviewed all current CTPs and those pastors in the certification process to see who is available to serve at Saxe Gotha. The TPSC has received and screened numerous applications. In reviewing certain prospective candidates, the TPSC has made reference calls, reviewed sermons, conducted panel interviews and/or one-on-one interviews and reviewed transition plans submitted by the candidates for SGPC. Once the TPSC identifies its preferred candidate, the candidate will have to be confirmed by Session and our Presbytery’s Ministry Partnership Team.

The Transition Pastor Search Committee continues to interview and work though the search process with candidates and are optimistic about whom the Lord has called to serve Saxe Gotha’s as its future Transitional Pastor. Thank you for your continued prayers for the committee, candidates and Saxe Gotha as a whole. 

Members can reach out to the Transition Team with questions at any time by using the specific email link listed on the page below:

Transitions - Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church | Lexington, SC

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Transition Communications Committee Update

In our last update in the August 10, 2022 edition of This Week at Saxe Gotha, we indicated that the Transitional Pastor Search Committee was in the "final stages" of its search for a transitional pastor, who will shepherd us through this time of transition so that our church is healthy and ready for its flourishing next step. At the time of the update, several good candidates had been identified and interviewed, and the search appeared to be moving to a conclusion. However, God led us down a different path when one of the candidates elected to wait and may popursue the permanent senior pastor position, and others were ultimately determined not to be a good fit for Saxe Gotha at this time.  

We know that many in our congregation are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our transitional pastor and may have hoped for other news. Yet, we are assured that when God closes doors, he often opens others. And, in this case, Session has approved the use of ECO's Church in Transition Agreement, which has given Saxe Gotha access to the full list of ECO certified transitional pastors. The Transitional Pastor Search Committee is making the most of this access by identifying and proactively initiating contact with prospective candidates. 

The Committee remains optimistic that they will find the transitional pastor that God has prepared for us. Trusting that God is in control, please continue to be in prayer for the Transitional Pastor Search Committee, the prospective candidates and our congregation.

In His Service,

Transition Communications Committee
(Byron Kirby, Meredith Cully, Matthew Gissendanner, Jenni Gannon and Deck Hudson)

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Transition Team Update

Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church is moving forward and hopefully will have a Transitional Minister soon! The Transitional Pastor Search Committee is in the final stages of its work of bringing a transitional pastor to our church family.  Unlike our permanent Senior Pastor, who will be called by the Congregation, the Certified Transitional Pastor is hired by the Session according to ECO polity. Therefore, the Congregation does not vote on the Transitional Pastor. 

As a reminder, the transitional pastor search process began after prayerful consideration, conversations with our church consultant and based on the recommendation of ECO. Our Session determined that an ECO Certified Transitional Pastor, who cannot become the Senior Pastor, was the most appropriate next step for Saxe Gotha. ECO trains and certifies these pastors who are called into transitional ministry to help churches like Saxe Gotha navigate through a pastoral transition, ensuring that the church is healthy and ready for its flourishing future. 

While shepherding and ministering to the congregation as the lead pastor at Saxe Gotha, the Certified Transitional Pastor will prayerfully and faithfully assist our members and staff move forward during this period of transition over the next year or so, until a permanent Senior pastor is hired. He or she will give special attention to leadership structure and development, evaluating and exploring growth opportunities and facilitating the church visioning process, as we seek to share the love of Christ in Lexington and beyond. 

These important actions will best enable and prepare the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), that was elected by the Congregation, with its work in identifying the Senior Pastor that God has already chosen for our church.

We appreciate your continued prayers and support of our staff during these transitions. If you would like to contact the Transition Team, please email transitions@saxegotha.org. Scott Taylor or Matthew Gissendanner will follow up with you.

The Transition Team

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ECO Policy/Transitions Committee

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, transitions@saxegotha.org, 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.

In Christ, 

The Transitions Communication Committee: Meredith Cully, Jenni Gannon, Matthew Gissendanner, Deck Hudson and Byron Kirby

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Transitional Pastor Search Committee Update

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.

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Transitional Pastor Search Committee Update

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.

Next Steps: 

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.

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Transition Team / Pastor Nominating Committee Update:

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,
Scott Taylor
Transition Team Member

Transition Update Instagram Post

Transition Update - October 21, 2021

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.  

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CAT Survey for Members - Congregational Assessment Tool Findings (August 2021)

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

Honor God 

Openly Communicate

Pray Fervently

Extend Grace

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,

Byron Kirby

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.

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