Intentional Interim Ministry – Letter to the Congregation August 12
The Transition Team has been asked to give a bit more clarity about what Intentional Interim Ministry is and why the board made the decision to enter into this process.
Intentional Interim Ministry is an opportunity for a community of faith to take an intentional time out to seek spiritual and organizational renewal, to rediscover its identity, and to revitalize its mission.
The United Church recommends a time of congregational discernment when a congregation is ending a long term pastorate. The board was looking at this option and asked Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council to come and give us more information. They also recommended Intentional Interim Ministry. They are confident in the benefits of this process.  We believe this is the best way for us to move forward with ministries at First United, Waterloo.
While the main catalyst was Kellie’s leaving for a new position, there are other benefits of Intentional Interim Ministry that will help us at First United
This is a partial list of reasons provided in the interim ministry guidelines that could apply to us:

  • Disagreements and tension that are blocking a community of faith’s life and effectiveness
  • The departure of a long-tenured (10+ years) minister or the death of a minister
  • Inadequate finances for the community of faith’s life and mission
  • Major changes in the demographics of the community of faith or its surrounding community
  • The desire of a community of faith to rediscover its identity and mission or to move in a new direction in its ministry

Our Job Description for the Interim position at First United contains the following points:

  • Take the staff lead and work with the lay leadership to review, support and facilitate the implementation of the results and recommendations from the renewal and revitalization process.
  • Work with the congregation developing a living faith story.
  • In consultation with the lay leadership and the congregation develop a profile for First United community of faith.  Take the staff lead in ensuring that all of elements as outlined by the United Church of Canada are contained in the profile.
  • Review, recommend, develop and facilitate new faith formation and community building programs, including programs for congregation members and community members not served by existing programs.
  • Develop strategies and lead the implementation of programs that foster a feeling of close community among members and adherents of all generations.
  • Promote and encourage participation by people of all ages of the congregation and where possible the community.
  • Support the development of a more effective and current online presence for First United.  This will include working with volunteers to update and improve the church website and leveraging social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter and other on-line tools to engage the congregation and members of the community.
  • Work collaboratively with other United Churches in Kitchener/Waterloo, with a focus on new initiatives, new programs, sharing resources and joint worship services.

What can we expect from this process?

  • An Interim Intentional Minister will guide us through a self-assessment process as a group to determine our common goals and the direction we ALL want to move forward to in the future. The process will build on the work of Credence & Co. (Betty Pries and Cayla Charles). This common vision will help us choose a long term minister who will be successful in leading us forward in our mission.
  • Like most churches, First United is concerned about finances. Some of the questions we will explore are:
  • Do our finances support continuing the ministry we are currently doing?
  • If not, what are we willing to give up?
  • What lay support can be encouraged and counted on to continue living out our mission?
  • We will deal with disagreements and tensions openly and respectfully, and view them as healthy expressions of our differences of opinion and ideas. This will allow us to grow and learn in our ministry, trusting that God will lead us in the right directions. We will support appropriate and constructive ways and means of sharing views that build trust and faith in our church and each other.
  • At First United, we have a deep desire to rediscover our identity and mission. This could be the most important reason we need an Intentional Interim Minister. This work of rediscovery has already begun with Credence & Co. (Betty Pries and Cayla Charles). relationship, and the transition team is excited to assist the Interim minister in building on that work.

Trained Interim Intentional ministers have special expertise to lead congregations in goal-setting, decision making, and conflict resolution.
 This is an exciting time to be a member of First United, Waterloo! Together we can create a sustainable ministry that fits our congregation, our community and our world.
Your Transition Team welcomes any questions:

Cathie Stewart Savage - Chair
Debora Smith - Secretary
Greg Case - Communications
Mary Joan Brooker
Shirley Irish
Carol Stephenson – Western Ontario Region Liaison