SPRC Announces Interim Pastor
Dear Calvary friends,
I write to you once again representing Calvary's Staff-Parish Relations Committee, and I have some very good news to share with you regarding our search for a new pastor. (This message is coming out to you as a follow-up to the announcement made in worship today, October 13.)
As you know, Pastor John announced in July that he will be retiring at the end of December. And so in August our committee began the process of searching for a new pastor, ideally someone who could begin in January, 2020. On August 18 we met with our District Superintendent, Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm, to discuss the appointment process.
In preparation for that meeting, we invited all of you to share your experiences of coming to Calvary. And indeed those reflections proved indispensable, as we shared with the DS our needs and desires regarding new pastoral leadership here. We communicated to her our collective vision of Calvary as a congregation given to supportive community, to inclusion, to diversity, and as a church residing at the intersection of spirituality and justice.
The DS was receptive to our message. Even as she pointed out to us the challenge of finding a pastor—a part-time one, at that—who would be a good fit for us, and who could begin in January, she assured us there would be someone, as has indeed proven to be the case. During that August meeting and in some follow-up communication, as the DS prepared to go into a Cabinet Retreat with the Bishop and other colleagues in September, she let us know that they would be searching far and wide, but they would also be looking close to home. It was at this point that she informed us that one of the names under consideration was our own friend and brother, Tim Emmett-Rardin.
I will have more to say about the process in a moment, but there is no reason to hold back the wonderful news. Our interim pastor beginning in January will be none other than Tim.
As most of you probably know, Tim underwent pastoral training some years ago and for more than seven years he was a campus minister and chaplain at Drexel University. Although he had decided not to pursue ordination, more recently Tim heard once again the call to ministry and began to consider entering the process for licensing as a Local Pastor. You will also be aware that Tim has, for the past year, been serving among us in a part-time role as Community Engagement Pastor—a role that has seen him organizing, communicating, and re-visioning our congregational life in ways that have done much to sustain us.
Our committee has learned now that, in the months since Pastor John’s announcement, Tim reflected long and hard about the fact that he could be a resource for us as we transition beyond Pastor John, and as we pass through grief into renewal. And so, late in the summer, Tim communicated to the DS and the Bishop his openness to serving at least as an interim pastor, from January to June. He expressed this with all the heart and all the humility that is characteristic of him, and in full knowledge that there might be other paths ahead.
Tim also expressed his openness to serving beyond June, but acknowledged that these six months would be a period of discernment on both sides, and indeed, a period in which his main objective as a pastor would be in guiding us as a church in transition—not just in transition beyond a much-loved leader, but also amid deep uncertainty as regards the future of the United Methodist Church.
And so this week, when the DS brought to us the Bishop’s appointee, she presented us with Pastor Tim.
In today’s Joys and Concerns and in the coming weeks and months, we will have a chance to rejoice and to respond, and to learn more about the feelings and thoughts that Tim and the committee shared during our “take-in” meeting.
For now, however, I conclude with the following: “On behalf of Bishop Peggy Johnson, I am pleased to announce the assignment of Interim Lay Pastor Timothy Emmett-Rardin to Calvary United Methodist Church, effective January 1, 2020–June 30, 2020.”
In joy and thanks,
Chair, Staff-Parish Relations Committee
Calvary United Methodist Church