Why did the church decide to do Transitional Ministry?
In the spring of 2013, the Rev. Mark Arnill accepted a call to Napanee. By the summer of 2013, our Joint Needs Assessment Committee had determined that Fitzroy Pastoral Charge was in difficulty – difficulty in meeting financial commitments such as payroll and property upkeep, a general feeling of weariness and membership decline especially at Bethel.
The JNAC organized an outside facilitator to help us sort out our priorities for ministry and evaluate our resources for carrying out that vision. There was a desire to have a viable and engaged Pastoral Charge in the future.
After four facilitated meetings, the JNAC recommended two years of full time Transitional ministry to amalgamate the two congregations into a single point pastoral Charge. Their report was adopted at a combined congregational meeting after worship on April 13, 2014, with the recommendations detailed in Appendix 1 of the report.
How did the Transition Team organize its work?
The Transition Team (TT) consisted of Transition Minister, Presbytery Rep and three members from each of the two churches (see Appendix 1 for list). Once named by Official Board, the first task of the TT with Bryan Giffin, our Presbytery Rep, was to prepare a position and skills description, interview and appoint the Rev. Dr. Steven Moore as full time Transitional Minister from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 201 6.
Our work was mapped onto a Creative Time Line. We built on results of the plenary work from the group sessions facilitated by Stephanie Coward-Yaskiw. We held monthly meetings (sometimes need dictated more often). We each took on tasks (mission, values, property, governance, finances) and reported to spread the work load around. Most decisions were collaborative. We followed presbytery defined timeline: Transition Minister, communications with both churches/Presbytery, votes, inventories, Conversation Cafes, compassionate Bethel closing, melding, congregation involvement in new church activities, Stewardship Visitation, final report.
What major events occurred along the way that affected its work?
During our transition, the United Church of Canada was working through Comprehensive Review, holding General Council and taking part in the ending to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ottawa Presbytery said goodbye to Rev. Lillian Roberts and welcomed a new Presbytery Minister, Rev. David Sherwin. We kept an eye on the changing lands cape but had little real difficulty. We had breaks in the transition work during the summer and at Christmas. During our Transition time, we were able to hire a gifted musician/choir director, Tobi DuMoulin. She has brought energy and community building skills as well.