Highland Avenue Community Church of the Nazarene in Rancho Cucamonga, California

Update Concerning Pastoral Transition

Dear members and friends of Highland Avenue Community Church…

As you already know, Pastor John Watkin is retiring and will be moving to Colorado in a couple of weeks. The members of your Leadership Council and Finance Committee have been approached by some of you with the question, “Our pastor is leaving . . . what now?”

In general, our denomination’s traditional practice of “calling” a pastor affirms the active presence of God’s Spirit in the search process. As such, we ask that you please join with us as we prayerfully seek a pastor with particular gifts and skills while recognizing that candidates are also engaged in a Spirit-led discernment process.

More specifically, we want to assure you that we have already been in touch with our District Superintendent, Rev. Rollie Miller, and have had two meetings with him regarding the procedures during our time of pastoral transition. There are a lot of steps that need to be taken, and we will share them with you in more detail after Pastor’s last Sunday. Our desire is to focus our efforts on saying goodbye to Pastor John before focusing as a congregation on finding a new one.

That being said, there are a few general procedures we would like to share with you so that you know what to expect:

  1. We will select an interim pastor to provide continuity in worship, pastoral care, and program/staff oversight. In our case, Grady Gillespie will be speaking once a month and, along with members of our Leadership Council/Finance Committee, he will provide program/staff oversight freeing up the interim pastor to focus primarily on weekly sermons. Rev. Miller has advised us on this process and has assured us that he has an excellent candidate available who offers the specialized skills needed during our time of transition. It was recommended that this pastor not be a candidate for the full-time position.
  2.  After the interim pastor is in place, we will initiate a search process for a new pastor in accordance with our denominations bylaws. We will invite all of you to be part of a self-study that will identify our church’s pastoral needs. This will be done primarily through an online survey and will help us develop a church profile for our potential candidates.
  3.  Rev. Miller will advertise our vacancy among various ordained ministers. Our search committee will read ministerial profiles, screen candidates, conduct interviews, check references, and eventually select a candidate who will be recommended to the entire congregation. At that time, our church members will vote whether or not to accept the candidate as our new pastor.

We provide this letter so you will know that we are taking steps to think about our future. We will keep you informed on a regular basis. For now, let us express our gratitude to God for John’s ministry and enter into a time of celebration with him and Terry. Please keep them in your prayers even as you know from experience that they will be praying for us.
In Christ’s name,
The Leadership Council

p.s. Join us in honoring Pastor on January 11th at 9:30am
View Invitation and RSVP here

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