Blessings to everyone from your Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). The past couple of months have been challenging for everyone in so many different ways, but it has been encouraging to see Idlewild continue to answer God’s call, in our transition to online worship, to-go service at More Than a Meal, Mobile Food Pantry distributions, and so much more. We are finding ways to be the church for each other and our community, even in this season of social distancing. Thanks be to God!
We know many of you are wondering, “How do you conduct a search during a pandemic?” While we’re unable to gather in person, we’ve continued to meet every Monday night online. Fortunately, we had several in-person visits with candidate ministers in January and February. Of course, further travel by our committee and by candidate ministers is currently on pause. Since worship services across the country are being conducted online, it’s not possible to visit and observe candidate ministers in their home church at this time. However, this is actually providing a unique perspective on candidates that we would not otherwise have seen. We are able to observe, unfolding in real-time, candidates’ organizational agility, leadership during uncertain times, and ability to provide a comforting, non-anxious presence during stressful times. These will be important qualities for Idlewild’s next Head of Staff to possess, and we are taking advantage of this opportunity to gain insight on how candidates navigate challenging times with their congregations.
There is a lot to navigate, we know. A number of pastors have, understandably, felt called to focus on their current congregation during the pandemic, asking for some time to get their church back in a more normal environment before turning their attention to Idlewild. We would like to keep the search process on a direct path, but need to find the right balance between our desire to move forward, and giving candidate ministers the space to tend to their current ministry and consider Idlewild with a clear mind and heart. We know that the right person to lead Idlewild is not someone who could leave his or her current congregation during these times without first ensuring that they were on stable footing.
So where does that leave us? We have continued to receive referrals and interest from potential candidates, including over the last couple of months. We continue to research, to consider, and to be in communication with quality candidates who are in discernment with us. In-person visits have proven to be a critical part of the process for us, but we also understand that travel may not be feasible for some time and are making adjustments to shift things online as needed.
We have consistently communicated that we are focused on finding the right candidate, regardless of the time that it takes. Your support and prayers throughout the process have been heartfelt and help provide the PNC with the necessary spirit to find the Head of Staff who is called to Idlewild. We ask for your continued prayers for our discernment. Please join us, also, in prayers of thanksgiving for the gifted leadership of Anne Apple and Sara Dorrien-Christians during these unprecedented times.
If you ever have any questions or concerns, please contact any of us individually or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit serving the Lord. Romans 12:11
Betty Louis Sheppard – Chair
Jeanne Marie Cummings