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Pastor Nominating Committee

UPC PNC Activities

University Presbyterian Church is seeking its next Head of Staff or Clergy Couple who will inspire and encourage us in our faith!

Selection of our next Pastor/Head of Staff is of major importance to the future of UPC. To carry out this process, the congregation elected us to serve as the nine-member Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, July 22, 2018. We are filled with a sense of humility and gratitude for your entrusting us to serve UPC and the larger Church in this way. We are working to select and place in nomination to the congregation a candidate for the installed Pastor/Head of Staff of UPC.

During our training, we were reminded of the ancient wisdom of Isaiah 43:19. In the coming months – before the arrival of our next Pastor/Head of Staff – our committed program and administrative staff will remain in place, our faithful Session will continue to lead us in ministry, and our congregation will continue to be the church together. We are confident that God will provide a way through this time of wilderness even as a new season in UPC’s life commences before our eyes!

As we journey together, we ask for your prayers of support for faithful service, wise judgement and shared discernment. We also ask you to honor our strict practice of confidentiality. Most importantly, we ask you to share any thoughts or suggestions with us. Please use the button below to share any questions, suggestions, or concerns about UPC’s search for our next pastor:

Email the PNC

Thank you for your participation, prayers, and support!

Note – sections with recently updated information are noted in bold and with an asterisk (*). The last updates were made on February 4, 2019.

Updates*

What is the latest from the Pastor Nominating Committee?

To this point in early February, we have reviewed the applications of nearly 90 pastors. We described the process that we’re using in the February edition of The Chimes, so please look there for more details!

We are now working to identify a select number of pastors– perhaps 6 to 10 or so – with whom to enter into more substantive conversations by video teleconference. These conversations will be the focus of our efforts for much of February.

Please feel free to ask us any questions, or share any suggestions or concerns you may have. While we must treat the identities of our applicants in the strictest confidence, we are happy to discuss the committee’s workings and procedures. We encourage you to contact the committee via email (pnc@upcch.org) or to start up a conversation with any PNC member!

Who?

Who is serving on the Pastor Nominating Committee?

Brief biographies of eight individuals serving on the PNC can be found in the following 3-page document:

(Our ninth member represents UPC’s youth and we have omitted this youth member’s information.) You are welcome to contact any individual on the team, or send a single email to the entire team.

According to UPC’s call for nominations: All members of the PNC must exhibit the following qualities:

  • a willingness to listen and a desire to discern God’s leading
  • active participation in the worship and work of UPC
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • a track record of following through on commitments
  • the ability to honor a confidential process
  • the ability to put congregational needs above personal preferences
  • a willingness to speak up in a group

In addition, the following qualities/skills should be represented somewhere on the PNC (not everyone needs to possess these qualities/skills):

  • comfort in working online
  • organizational skills
  • hospitality
  • interviewing skills
  • writing skills

What?

What are their Job Descriptions?

According to UPC’s call for nominations: Service on the PNC will require an enormous commitment of both time and energy. Members of the PNC should expect to meet as frequently as once a week for the duration of the search process, which could last for a year or more. Members of this committee must be prepared and willing to work as a team, putting congregational needs above personal preferences. Members of the PNC must honor the confidentiality of the search process.

During the selection process, the duties of the committee will include, but are not be limited to:

  • completion of a Mission Information Form (MIF), a multipage document to be submitted to the Session and the Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry (COM);
  • reading and evaluating Personal Information Forms (PIFs) submitted by potential candidates;
  • conducting reference checking on candidates of interest;
  • developing a short list of prospective pastors;
  • interviewing potential pastors (potentially away from the local area) and during their visits to the church community (travel expenses will be reimbursed by the church);
  • selecting a candidate to be placed in nomination before the congregation;
  • negotiating terms of call for the candidate;
  • arranging with the Presbytery for appropriate examinations and approvals;
  • maintaining ongoing communication with the congregation, Session, and COM;
  • actively praying to discern God’s leading throughout the selection process;
  • introducing the candidate to the congregation.

The work of the PNC will end with the installation of the new pastor.

UPC’s MIF

What is a Ministry Information Form (MIF)?

We were charged and trained by Ted Churn, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of New Hope, on August 29, 2018. Following that training, one of our first tasks was to develop a concise description of UPC’s vision of ministry and hopes for its next Pastor/Head of Staff. This document is our Ministry Information Form, or MIF.

During the first half of this year, UPC was led by our Mission Study Team through the process of mission study that allowed us to consider who we are, who God is calling us to be, and what we’ll need in our next season of leadership from a new pastor. We drew from the resultant Mission Study Report to produce our MIF.

Our MIF was approved by the session on October 18, 2018, and then by the presbytery’s Commission on Ministry on October 22, 2018.

Find our Ministry Information Form on the Church Leadership Connection site or download a PDF copy here:

Please reach out to pnc@upcch.org with any questions. And if you’re interested in serving alongside a vibrant congregation and talented staff in the heart of Chapel Hill, NC, we’d love to hear from you!

Process

As our MIF circulates, we developed a detailed process to use in selecting our next pastor. As part of that work, we established criteria for prioritizing candidates. Throughout the mission study process you provided hundreds of answers to the following question:

“What skills, experience and personal characteristics in our new pastor would be most supportive of UPC’s work in response to God’s call?”

The MST shared your responses with us. The combination of our mission study work, our MIF, a formalized selection process, and specific candidate criteria will enable us to reach a deep, honest, and mutual sense of call with a new head of staff when the time is right.

In November, we began to receive Pastor Information Forms (PIFs) from potential candidates. PIFs will continue to arrive through various channels, including self-referral, through PC(USA)’s computerized matching system, and by request as we reach out to potential candidates suggested by you or by other respected members of the larger Church.

Please reach out to pnc@upcch.org with any suggestions – whether they be specific names or broader ideas. And if you’re interested in serving alongside a vibrant congregation and talented staff in the heart of Chapel Hill, NC, we’d love to hear from you!

Our working plan is to solicit, review, and evaluate PIFs through the end of the 2018 calendar year. We will then begin the deeper process of discernment in early January and hope to begin substantive conversations with potential candidates no later than mid-February.

While much of our work will seem quiet due to the strict confidential nature of a search, we are committed to offering updates as we are able. To help with this, there is a large timeline in the church office that will visibly track our progress through these activities and milestones. We invite you to visit as you are able!

Prior Updates

From the February 2019 edition of The Chimes:

We bring you greetings in the name Jesus Christ from your Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). We continue our entrusted work to select and place in nomination to the congregation a candidate for the installed Pastor/Head of Staff of UPC. We are excited to share this update with you on the progress that we’ve made and our road map for the coming months. We hope this will answer some questions you may have about exactly how we work – and that it might convey our deep sense of hope and optimism around the process!

During the fall, our first task was to use UPC’s Mission Study Report to develop a concise description of UPC’s vision of ministry and hopes for our next Pastor/Head of Staff. The resulting Ministry Information Form (MIF) was approved by session and the Commission on Ministry for the Presbytery of New Hope, and was posted on the PC(USA)’s Church Leadership Connection online system (CLC), where it is accessible to any interested pastors. In addition to making our MIF accessible, the CLC also allows an algorithm-based matching service to connect PNCs with pastors who are actively seeking or open to a call and have entered their information into the CLC. To date, our MIF has received well over 500 online views using CLC.

At the same time, both UPC and presbytery staff members have spread the word and shared some recommendations with us. UPC’s website and social media outlets also had news of our pastor search process and a link to our MIF. We recognized that we are likely looking for a pastor who isn’t actively seeking a new call, but might respond to a nudge from the Holy Spirit. Thus, we’ve collected suggestions of prospective pastors from our staff and congregation, and we also gathered guidance on leading pastors, presbyters, seminary presidents, church thought leaders, and other respected members of the larger Church who might suggest prospective candidates. Based on that guidance, we contacted 15 senior individuals who commended a number of additional pastors to us for further conversation.

As our MIF circulated and garnered attention, we developed specific candidate criteria and a detailed process to use in selecting our next pastor. The Mission Study Team previously reached out to the congregation to ask for opinions as to the experiences and qualities sought in our next pastor. We are grateful for the time and effort you made in providing 278 individual written responses. Our multi-stage application review process has been laborious but thorough, and we are hopeful that our efforts will enable us to reach a deep, honest, and mutual sense of call with a new head of staff.

Through mid-January, we have already reviewed the applications of more than 80 pastors. Each PNC member independently reviewed applications based on her or his personal evaluation of how well the application met our specific candidate criteria. During the ensuing committee meetings, the applications were thoroughly discussed. As we read and discussed, we prayed continuously for God’s guidance, referring frequently to our MIF, while considering a number of distinctive qualifications and prior experiences. As we write this, we have over a dozen applications who have received our highest “grades” as their apparent strengths and opportunities for growth best match UPC’s customs, needs, and expectations.

As we progress through winter, we will continue reviewing applications and we will begin to conduct interviews with prioritized candidates by video teleconference. During early spring, we hope to visit face-to-face with the most outstanding candidates in their home churches. Finally, we will host a select few candidates in Chapel Hill to tour our church and community, share meals with all members of the PNC, and engage in various activities of particular interest to the candidates. Once we have reached a mutual decision with a preferred candidate, we will notify presbytery and, when the call has been approved, we will ask our session to call a congregational meeting to elect the new pastor. If the way be made clear, we hope to deliver this request by late spring.

Although we know that there is much more important work to be done, we are confident that it is going well. You elected a committee with diverse talents who are selflessly sharing their gifts with the team as we go through this period of discernment. We are so grateful for Brian Curran, Carolyn Karpinos, Mary Ellen Olson, Karen Vandersea, Hank Waters, Bill Whisenant, and Eleanor Wilson! With this group, each meeting is filled with laughter, support for one another, trust in God’s leading, and much hope. We have already reviewed some truly amazing applicants who have developed awe-inspiring ministries in their current work and who feel called to lead a congregation like ours. Truly, these are exciting times!

We ask for your continued prayers of support for faithful service, wise judgement, and shared discernment. We also ask you to honor our strict practice of confidentiality. As we proceed, we will continue to update the large timeline in the church office as well as our web page (upcch.org/pnc). We encourage you to share any questions or suggestions with us via email (pnc@upcch.org) or conversation with any PNC member.

From the October 2018 edition of The Chimes:

We bring you greetings in the name Jesus Christ from your Pastor Nominating Committee. We are filled with a sense of humility and gratitude for your entrusting us to serve UPC and the larger Church in this way.

We have been trained by Ted Churn, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of New Hope, and met together for an additional four hours to come together as a team. During our training, Ted reminded us of the ancient wisdom of Isaiah 43:19. We are confident that God will provide a way through this time of wilderness even as a new season in UPC’s life commences before our eyes. The PNC will continue meeting weekly.

Earlier this year, the Mission Study Team asked us to consider who we are, who God is calling us to be, and what we’ll need in our next season of leadership from a new pastor. Throughout that process you provided hundreds of answers to this question: “What skills, experience and personal characteristics in our new pastor would be most supportive of UPC’s work in response to God’s call?”

We are drawing on your words and the report to develop a description of UPC’s vision of ministry and hopes for its next Pastor/Head of Staff for our Ministry Information Form (MIF). Once our MIF has been approved by the session and the presbytery’s Commission on Ministry, it will be posted online and circulated nationwide.

We will receive Personal Information Forms (PIFs) from potential candidates through various channels, including self-referral, through PC(USA)’s computerized matching system, and by request as we reach out to potential candidates suggested by you or by other respected members of the larger Church.

While this work will be less visible due to the strict confidential nature of a search, we are committed to offering updates as we are able. To help with this, there is a large timeline in the church office that will visibly track our progress through these activities and milestones. We invite you to visit as you are able!

We welcome you to share thoughts or suggestions with us and to honor our practice of confidentiality. Above all, we ask for your prayers of support for faithful service, wise judgement and shared discernment.

I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
~ Isaiah 43:19

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