Clerk’s Corner: Transition Team Report–Survey Results & IPNC Update, September 2017

Dear Congregation,

First, I want to thank all of you who participated in Holy Cow Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) survey.  The good response we received demonstrates your commitment to PHPC during this time of pastor transition, and provides valuable information as we move through our next steps.

On August 26, members of the Session, the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC), the Transition Team and the associate pastors met with the Rev. Joy Fisher, our Presbytery Congregational consultant and Mark Roberson who is a member of the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. Both Joy and Mark, who are guiding PHPC’s leaders through the transition process, were instrumental in interpreting the results of the CAT survey, which the leadership found favorable. Please take a moment to read the Summary Report HERE.

The second thing I want to share is that the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee has been meeting weekly to develop a Position Description (PD) for the Interim Pastor/Head of Staff and the Ministry Information Form (MIF). The PD describes the duties that we expect the Interim Pastor/Head of Staff to carry out.  The MIF describes the church so that any candidates who are interested in this position will know more about who we are and can determine whether they think they would be interested in applying.

The MIF was developed from the info in the CAT survey and demographic data. Thus, this description of who we are and where we want to be was based on the congregation’s feedback.  The PD and MIF have been approved by the Presbytery, the church’s Personnel Committee and Session.  This information is being made available for Presbyterian ministers to apply for the Interim Head of Staff position.  The IPNC expects to eventually interview 3-5 candidates.

Finally, plans are moving forward for a celebration of Dave’s ministry following a special 10 am worship service on Sunday, November 12.  If you don’t have that on your calendar, be sure to add it.  This will be a great opportunity for all of us to thank Dave and acknowledge the incredible work he has done at PHPC.

David Ashley
Clerk of Session, Pleasant Hill Presbyterian


Clerk’s Corner: Transition Team Report, August 2017

Dear Congregation,

The leadership of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church continues to move us toward that day when we will have to say goodbye to Dave Fry, and welcome a new phase in the life of the church.

Earlier this year, the PHPC Nominating Committee (NC) was set up (as it is annually) to make recommendations to the congregation for members to serve on Session. The NC includes Cathy Hoffman, Sherre Kahrs, Mary Don King, Angie O’Farrell, and Diane Warren.  (It originally also included Bernie Kida, but he had to drop off because of other commitments.)

Normally, the NC’s work would be done in the Spring after the new elders are elected, ordained and installed. However, because of the head of staff transition, the NC has been tasked this year with two more responsibilities:

1. Recommend members to the Session who would serve on the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) who will begin a search for an Interim Head of Staff whose tenure is expected to begin shortly after Dave’s retirement in mid-November.

2. Recommend members to the congregation who would serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). This action would occur after Dave’s retirement. And the PNC would then begin their process of finding a permanent Head of Staff at the end of 2017/early 2018.

On July 23, the Session met to receive and consider a recommendation from the NC to elect the IPNC (see task #1). The NC carefully considered possible nominees to include: both gender and age balance; one member of Session; and a member of the church’s Personnel Committee.  The NC also considered who may be possible members of the Pastor Nominating Committee for when that time comes.  Even though it is not prohibited that someone sit on both the IPNC and PNC, it is strongly preferred that they not, so that more members of the congregation are directly involved in the transition process.

The NC presented a motion that the following members of PHPC (all who accepted the invitation) be elected by the Session to serve on the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC):

Laura Freese
Matt Hoffman
Claire Keyser
Patrick O’Farrell
Winn Story
Mary Winkeljohn

This motion was put to a vote and passed unanimously by Session.

So, the IPNC is now empowered to start looking for Interim Head of Staff candidates and will make a recommendation to Session in the coming months.  I will continue to keep you informed on their progress.

Continue to keep the leadership, the NC and IPNC and church in your prayers.
David Ashley, Clerk of Session,
Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church

Clerk’s Corner: Transition Team Report, June 22, 2017

Dear Congregation,

The first of several opportunities to consider the future direction of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church has been completed, and I wanted to let you know some of the take-aways from that event.

On May 20, more than 20 members of Session met together for a Foundations Retreat. This was an opportunity for the Session to recall and discuss programs and ministries of PHPC since our founding, what programs and ministries have been continued, what programs and ministries were tried and discontinued, and why.

Although I was not able to attend, the Transition Team has since met and discussed what arose at this retreat.  Two things struck me most when the Transition Team was talking about this: the consistency of the focus of our ministry since Day 1 and the wide variety of programs we have tried over the past 32 years to accomplish this ministry.

From the very beginning, PHPC has focused on providing a grace-based message of relationships to God and to each other. Starting with our mission statement, “Connecting faith with everyday life”, we have looked for ways to spread the love and grace of God to our congregation and to the surrounding community. We have always emphasized the cooperative nature of the leadership of our church. 

Whether we are seeking new elders for Session or someone to help serve a meal, we have always tried to be inclusive, welcome new ideas and reach out to encourage all members to be involved. We have always cared for those around us, whether that was the children and young mothers in our community, prompting us to create a Christian Preschool; creating Care teams for Seniors; or focusing on mission trips for adults, families and youth.  We embrace diversity, providing a safe, positive and nurturing environment to explore our differences. This makes us a more complete body of Christ.  And we have always sought to have a variety of programs so that, no matter people’s interests, there will always be a way for them to participate in ministry.

The programs and ministries were the second thing that struck me as we discussed the Foundation Retreat. I had forgotten many of the ministries that we have had over the years. But, just reading the list brought back many memories. I remember now how cutting edge it was to have a female Associate Pastor who actually preached from the pulpit; that now seems like ancient history. We also tried some different forms of worship over the years including the Sunday night contemporary UpWord! Service and the Southern Gospel service.

I was reminded of special fellowship events like our softball and basketball teams, the Open Door singles group, the 30s group, square dancing, 50s night, PHPC family camp, and alternative Christmas parties.  I remembered spending the night at the Clifton Men’s Shelter and some eye-opening events that really encouraged a lot of people to move out of their comfort zones. I was reminded of the first time we tried other outreach opportunities including International Mission trips, Family mission trips, Youth mission trips, Rainbow Village, and Family Promise. And other significant steps in a developing congregation were illustrated by the various dedication events as we built our first facility, an education building, the West Wing, and then the current Sanctuary.

As we prepare to bring in a new Head of Staff, we all need to consider what programs and ministries are important and critical to the life of PHPC, which could stand to go away, what we might want to bring back and try again, and what new ideas for ministry we might try. The Congregation Assessment Tool will be available in the next several weeks and it is very important that everyone provide input.  Don’t leave this to others and assume that someone else will bring forward your ideas. We need to hear from everyone.

David Ashley
Clerk of Session, Pleasant Hill Presbyterian