Dear New Life friends,
What strange times we are in! As we all experience the coronavirus pandemic, we also, together, are sharing in the sadness of saying goodbye to our beloved Pastor Carmen. Even though we haven’t been together physically, I’m grateful for the community bonds we have to support each other through this period.
You may be wondering what will happen after Carmen leaves. Over the past few weeks the New Life leadership team has been meeting together and with the Southwestern Texas Synod to plan our next steps.
The next phase in our congregational life will be to welcome a transitional pastor. A transitional pastor is appointed by the Southwestern Texas Synod to serve as pastor for New Life for the period of time after Carmen leaves and before we call a new, permanent pastor. The leadership team has been working with our Synod partners, Pastors Judith Spindt and Greg Gaskamp, to clarify and define our congregation’s priorities for pastoral leadership so they can appoint someone who most closely meets our needs. While certainly the pandemic makes all plans fluid, our hope is that the transitional pastor will be in place as soon as possible, even as early as July 26.
The role of a transitional pastor in a church is different from someone in a permanent call. Their role is to be a bridge for a congregation in between permanent pastors. The transitional pastor leads worship, manages administrative work for the church, and also helps the congregation through the process of discerning what we desire in a permanent call. The transitional pastor serves in this temporary role intentionally and agrees not to seek a permanent position with us. Their mission is to walk us through this period of change.
The transitional pastor will help us as we grieve the ending of our relationship with Carmen and lead us as we move forward, helping us discern what is important for us as we continue God’s work. It is in this place that our congregation is already strong. Often, transitional pastors work with congregations to define their identity and vision for the future. New Life’s identity and vision are strong now, and I am sure you all could recite our values by heart:
Worshiping outside in nature
Valuing children, intentionally including them in worship and congregational life
Service in our local community
Growing in our faith
Having this strong foundation will help us as we call a permanent leader to guide us in sharing God’s love with our community.
The process for calling a new permanent pastor will take time. Transitional pastors are typically in place for six months to one year before a new pastor joins the church. The leadership team’s priority now is to get the transitional pastor established and work with all of you to maintain our community life and service during this time. We will keep you informed and involved as we define and plan for New Life’s permanent call process.
While I know this is a time of grief and sadness for our congregation as we wish Carmen well in her new endeavors, I also know it is a time of curiosity and wonder as we consider what comes next for our faith community. Thank you for being a part of New Life. Thank you for your trust in God’s love and what He is doing in and through New Life right now. Please stay safe, and we hope we can all see each other in person soon.
New Life Leadership Team
Katie Coburn, Chair
Jamie Stubblefield, Treasurer
Claire Boyer, Secretary