February 2018 Communication from Session

Dear Members and Friends,

As many of you know, Calvary’s Continuity Team has been at work since last summer to help Session determine the way forward for Calvary’s pastoral leadership following the departure of John Weems as our Head Pastor/Head of Staff. The Team held two congregational forums, received more than 50 email communications, and conducted 42 extensive, one-on-one interviews with various newer and longer-term members of our congregation. They also reviewed literature and spoke with experts on the current religious landscape and the need for churches to adapt.

After analyzing all the input, the Continuity Team made two recommendations to Session, which accepted both unanimously at its February meeting.

First, the Continuity Team recommended and Session agreed that Calvary needs to call a Head Pastor/Head of Staff to provide excellent preaching, to be the ‘steward’ of our vision and mission, and to be a visible leader within the church and in the larger community. The Head Pastor/Head of Staff needs to have exceptional skills in change management as well as the theological and emotional maturity to help bridge differences in our large, historic, diverse, urban congregation and lead us towards a vision for a shared future. Session is working with the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry to expedite this process.

Additionally, Session has agreed that Calvary would best be served by a three-pastor pastoral leadership team, as we have had for most of the last several decades. Ideally, a Head Pastor/Head of Staff would be able to work with our two wonderful pastors, leveraging their strengths and passions while serving as a mentor. This would allow Calvary to continue to offer excellent worship services with first class preaching and music, valued by all, as well as to continue with excellent pastoral care for our members and friends in need. We would also be able to continue to offer high-quality opportunities for spiritual growth, education, and fellowship that build community and inspire many to serve our neighbors in need. We believe God calls us to continue to reach beyond our walls, in Christian service to the greater community, an imperative to continue to attract new members and to demonstrate our Christian faith in an increasingly secular society.

Our ability to support the three-pastor model that we believe is appropriate for Calvary will require the congregation to significantly increase its financial support starting now.

We encourage you to attend the Annual Meeting of the congregation on Sunday, March 11, immediately following the morning worship service, and engage in the discussion of our shared future.  We will distribute information about the implications of two pastors vs. three, as we seek to keep learning from one another and continue to be good stewards of the many gifts we have at Calvary, while doing the work of Christ within and beyond the walls of our congregation.

Please mark your calendars for March 11, and plan to engage your hearts and minds in these critical conversations about Calvary’s future.

Lois Dress, Clerk on behalf of Calvary Session

February 2018