Interim Pastor Nominating Committee Update
February 27, 2018
Dear Members and Friends of Westminster,
We are pleased to announce that Rev. William Schram has accepted the position of Interim Pastor for Westminster. This Sunday, March 4th, Rev. Peter Cook will be preaching; however, Rev. Schram will be in attendance with us during worship. While his ministry officially begins with us on Monday, March 5th, he is already working to move into the church office and his Albany residence. Sunday, March 11th will be his first Sunday to preach. Please come to welcome Rev. Schram into our Westminster family.
The Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) began work last spring to identify our Interim Pastor. Many resumes were reviewed, multiple Skype interviews conducted, and some candidates brought to Albany for in-person meetings. Rev. Schram stood out for his experience with interim ministry and assistance with supporting congregations through this transition. He is known to the Albany Presbytery, having previously served in this capacity locally. After our thorough search process, both the IPNC and Session are looking forward to Rev. Schram’s ministry with us.
Please watch for upcoming articles on the interim process and the work planned to assist us in preparing to call our permanent pastor. This is our opportunity to openly discuss who we are as a congregation and the future we envision for Westminster. We are a strong church family and with assistance from Rev. Schram, we will continue our Christian ministry in Albany and the world.
Yours in Christ,
Kelly Crisfield, Tim Dodman, David Hershey, Fatmata Hilton, Robert Quaye, Dixon Southworth, and Kris Wilhelm
Interim Pastor Nominating Committee
January 31, 2018
The IPNC met with the congregation during the 2nd hour on January 21st for an in-depth update and discussion. Facilitated by Sue Schell, Clerk of Session, Sue discussed the importance and role of an Interim pastor and reviewed the Minister Information Form (MIF) criteria and characteristics. The Committee outlined the process of vetting potential candidates and shared statistics on those we pursued. The congregation shared concerns on the absence of a pastor and the impact on church activities but also provided suggestions for expanding the breadth of the search. Many shared very positive experiences of previous Interim searches and highlighted the strength and leadership abilities we possess. Session will debrief the entire discussion at the February meeting.
Formed and guided by Session, the work of the IPNC strongly continues. Weekly meetings, interviews and email communications are needed to seek that individual who God has identified for us. The IPNC remains committed to identifying this candidate to support our uniqueness, diversity and experience that will lead Westminster through this transition and prepare the congregation to call an installed pastor.
To everyone who has stepped up, done extra duty, performed beyond what is requested during this time of transition, abundant thank yous! There is a niche for everyone, a gap for you to fill, a job big or small which will lighten the load for someone else and you will have performed a great service. God has a plan for Westminster. All of us have a role to play.
November 16, 2017
The IPNC has been meeting frequently to Skype with several Interim Pastor candidates. The Committee is planning second interviews after Thanksgiving in the continuing search for Westminster's next pastoral leader. The Committee discusses each candidate's experience with interim ministry, finances, leadership, diversity and urban ministry. Candidates have been impressed with Westminster's web presence and have learned about our missions, music and church life before speaking with us. The IPNC has in turn been impressed with the wealth of experience the candidates could bring to Westminster.
Our faith remains strong that the next faith leader will be with us soon.
October 30, 2017
The work of the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) continues in earnest. Over 30 Personal Information Forms (PIFs) have been reviewed and several Skype interviews conducted. Members of the committee met in-person with two candidates in the past month. Unfortunately none of the potential Interims were viable candidates for the position. PC(USA) forwarded a new set of PIFs for review this past week.
Westminster is unique with their urban setting, diverse congregation and strong commitment to mission. The IPNC remains committed to identifying a candidate to support our uniqueness and with experience that will lead Westminster through this transition and prepare the congregation to call a permanent pastor.
August 29, 2017
The Interim Pastor Nominating Committee is continuing virtual interviews with potential candidates. All candidates have been impressed with Westminster's web presence and have thoroughly researched our mission work before their interview.
Background checks will be performed on our top candidates by the Albany Presbytery before second interviews are conducted. The top candidate will meet in-person with the IPNC and session before an offer is made. Early September will be a busy time for the IPNC, but with God's guidance, new Pastoral leadership will be joining Westminster this fall.
August 15, 2017
Westminster's Ministry Information Form (MIF) was posted on the Church Leadership Connection (CLC) and was immediately matched with several candidates. Candidates are matched by years of experience and multiple leadership attributes consistent with Westminster's MIF. The Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) reviewed all the candidates and sent "emails" of interest to the top candidates. A few candidates immediately responded that they recently accepted interim positions. One candidate, no longer available, thanked us for our interest. He had heard about Westminster and was honored to have been considered.
Candidates have submitted or are submitting on-line sermons for the committee's viewing and evaluation. Initial interviews will be done via Skype and plans will be made for follow-up of serious candidates for in-person interviews. The IPNC remains firmly committed to identifying a candidate as soon as possible.
August 2, 2017
Westminster's Ministry Information Form (MIF) was approved by the Presbytery's Committee on Ministry and Congregations. It was posted on the Church Leadership Connection (CLC) earlier this week. The CLC is the national database for congregations and job-seekers in the PC(USA). This database matches potential candidates' Personal Information Forms (PIFs) with qualifications and experience listed in our MIF. The matched PIFs are then forwarded to the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee through an online system.
We are pleased to report that several PIFs have been forwarded in just the first few days! The Committee will review the PIFs and will arrange virtual interviews with the top candidates. In-person interviews will conducted after the field is narrowed and background checks are completed by the Presbytery.
This is exciting progress in the past week and strengthens our faith that an interim Pastor will be joining our congregation in the near future. Please continue to offer prayers of guidance as we continue through this transition.
You may contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org for contact information for the members serving on this committee. Click here to read Westminster's Ministry Information Form (MIF).
July 25, 0217
The Interim Pastor Nominating Committee welcomed the addition of Fatmata Hilton to the group. The IPNC is anticipating approval of Westminster's Ministry Information Form (MIF) by the Albany Presbytery within the next few weeks. The Presbytery's Committee on Ministers and Congregations (COMAC) [formerly known as Committee on Ministry (COM)] has been working with the Committee and Session on finalizing the terms of call. Once approved, Westminster's information will be posted on the national database for congregations and job seekers, known as the Church Leadership Connection.
In the meantime, our COMAC liaison, Rev. Holly Cameron, helped the committee finalize standardized interview questions and arranged for a practice interview. The questions relate to various areas in the MIF, including worship, mission, finance, diversity, growth, youth and leadership. With all the "wrinkles" smoothed out, the group was able to interview a potential candidate forwarded by the Presbytery. While this candidate did not meet the needs of our congregation, the committee gained additional interview experience.
This process has highlighted the important resources available within our congregation to support an Interim Pastor. Together we will bring Westminster strongly into the future. If you have any questions about the process, please contact Kelly Crisfield, Fatmata Hilton, David Hershey, Tim Dodman, Dixon Southworth, Robert Quayle or Kris Wilhelm.
Many of us recently heard Pastor Reisner’s farewell sermon and thank you on June 11th. It was a wonderful celebration but highlighted the fact that the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) has a huge task ahead to bring in an Interim Pastor. We have had a busy month! We met several times to complete the Ministry Information Form (MIF) including the description of our Leadership Competencies, gathered all congregational and worship data, created an Interim Pastor salary range and budget, and wrote detailed job requirements called narratives. The final MIF was reviewed with the Committee on Ministers and Congregations [formerly known as Committee on Ministry (COM)] and Session, and will be finalized and posted very shortly.
Once the MIF is posted to the Church Leadership Connection, the national database for congregations and job-seekers in the PC(USA), the IPNC begins to receive Personal Information Forms (PIF). Phone or Skype interviews will be held with top candidates; the field will be narrowed and then vetted with the Presbytery. In-person interviews will be done with the top candidates. A candidate will be selected, terms of employment negotiated and final background checks done by the Synod of the Northeast. The session meets with the candidate and gives the approval for Westminster, followed by the Albany Presbytery’s approval.
We have created interview questions and began to create a decision-making template to receive, organize and analyze candidate questions. We will begin mock interviews to polish our skills and prepare us for what’s ahead. This may seem like a long, complicated process but it’s one that is critically important to finding the right experienced person to lead us through our transition period and prepare us for our future.
If you have questions, please ask any member of the IPNC: Kelly Crisfield, Tim Dodman, Fatmata Hilton, David Hershey, Robert Quaye, Dixon Southworth, and Kris Wilhelm.
Kris Wilhelm is one of Westminster’s seven member Interim Pastor Nominating Committee. She has been a member of Westminster for the past 26 years and has been active with church school and confirmation classes. Kris has served on the Board of Deacons and remains active with the care of one of Westminster's elderly members. Kris is involved with Westminster's missions at Schuyler Inn and the Emergency Overflow Shelter for homeless men operated by the Capital Area Council of Churches.