By Rev. Kimberly Clayton
I began as your Transitional Senior Minister on March 15, 2018. After four months at The Brick Presbyterian Church I am glad to report that I have ‘learned my way around’—no small task given our summer construction projects! Perhaps the construction upheaval is an apt metaphor for us in this time of transition. When a church goes through a major transition, like the departure of a long-term Senior Minister, some familiar paths and routines are altered in ways both slight and significant. While much about the church goes on as usual, with familiar people—pastors, staff, and members—continuing in their areas of service, there is someone new as well—a Transitional Senior Pastor. This person is doing many of the same things the last Senior Minister did—but she does some of it differently. No matter how much remains the same, things can ‘feel’ different and it can even seem like everything is changing. Some people adapt to change easily, even welcome it, but many find change uncomfortable, producing feelings of anxiety. I admit that a few times this summer, with the construction dust and noise, the labyrinthine route to get from here to there, and one more glitch in how things are supposed to work, I have wished nostalgically that it could all go back to the way it was…four months ago! So I do understand to some degree that this transitional time can seem overwhelming to you as a congregation. Change is hard. A level of anxiety is normal. But to extend the metaphor a bit further—think of what all of this construction is leading toward: an enhanced entrance for the church and school to meet current and future needs; a beautifully renovated garden space that honors the past while incorporating updated structures and systems that will carry us into the future. In the same way, this transitional time is leading toward the welcome of your new Senior Minister: The person who will join the other pastors, staff, and members in leading this historic church, with its vibrant current ministries, faithfully and creatively into the future.
In preparation of the search for the new Senior Minister, we will engage in a congregation-wide Mission Review this fall. This is an opportunity for every member to offer input on current strengths of The Brick Church, challenges and changes you see ahead, assessment of ministries and mission we currently undertake and priorities going forward, and the qualities and characteristics desired in your next Senior Minister/Head of Staff.
To organize this important undertaking, a Mission Review Team has been appointed. The 18 people listed below have agreed to give their energy and imagination and intelligence to this task. They are motivated by a love for this congregation. There are 9 men and 9 women and they represent a variety of lengths of membership and avenues of engagement in the life of the church. They are reading a variety of things this summer in preparation. In October, they will help lead this Mission Review and involve, we hope, all of the members.
I invite you to pray for the Mission Review Team, the church staff, and our congregation as together we enter this intentional time to reflect on who we have been, are now, and the ways God might be calling us into the future.
If you have questions or concerns in this time of transition, I will welcome an opportunity to speak with you.
Thank you for your warm welcome in our first months together.
Grace and peace,
Members of the Mission Review Team