Pastoral Transition: 2016-2017
Rev. Susan McKnight has served as the Pastor of the Warren United Church for the past 15 years and retired from her pastorate on December 4, 2016. Our Search Committee kicked off their work in April 2016. They ask for your prayers as they journey with God to discover who He has chosen to continue to lead this mighty little church.
Warren United Church Profile
September 1, 2017:
Several things were revealed to us within the church this past month. We witnessed God at work as we welcomed an amazing pastoral candidate to the church. There was a remarkable turn-out for the candidating weekend; the Brunos came from Williston, Lois came from Middlebury, the Blairs even came home from Arkansas! We were all shocked to learn that the candidate withdrew from consideration just hours before congregational vote. Freddie Mahlmann, Doug Stoehr, John Donaldson and Carey Bennett kept Sunday Worship on track and held the space for different type of congregational meeting than what was expected. A handful of church elders spoke about other trying times they’ve seen here at the Warren United Church and how the church has always gained strength through those experiences. Some spoke of the immense gratitude they have for Kurt’s willingness to stay on in his interim pastor role as well as for the Search Team’s work over the past year and a half. It was a time of heartfelt sharing. The overall takeaway was that there were many blessings inside of this unexpected turn of events, that God is in control and that we are woven together with His love while we continue to search for our settled pastor.
There has been a change in the Search Team recently. Laura Arnesen and Fiona Adams have stepped down due to school and work responsibilities. We welcome Fran Plewak and Sandra Brodeur as they join the remaining members Doug Stoehr, Jada Munro, Scott Bennett and Chrissy Rivers.
August 15, 2017:
In the 1930’s Jerome Kern wrote a popular song about perseverance called “Pick Yourself Up” which included the lyrics - “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again.” This is exactly what our wonderful Search Team is planning to do. They met this past week to regroup and then they updated the Church Council at our meeting on Sunday, August 13. While everyone on the Team is eager to move ahead, two members will have to step down due to personal and work or school conflicts. We are deeply indebted to Laura Arnesen and Therran Adams for their dedication, wisdom and significant gift of their time.
So, the remaining Team of four (Doug Stoehr, Jada Munro, Chrissy Rivers and Scott Bennett) is looking to add two new members. Search Team members must be church members and are approved by the Church Council. If you feel called to serve on this vital ministry, have questions, or want to meet with the Search Team, please contact Doug Stoehr as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org or 496-3249). Serving as a member of the Search Team requires a commitment of faith, time, confidentiality, openness and consensus building. Please keep these dedicated people on the Search Team in your prayers.
August 8, 2017:
As everyone surely knows by now, Patty Ebner unexpectedly withdrew from consideration as our Pastor before the service on Sunday, 8/6/17. The Congregation, led by Freddie’s able ministry, rallied and had a wonderful worship service. A very moving and meaningful time of reflection was held during the normal sermon time where Search Team members and many others shared their thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Our mighty Church will be strengthened by last weekend's events and with God’s help we will move forward to find a new Pastor.
The Search Team will be spending some time regrouping, assessing how to best proceed, whether they need new or additional members, and other considerations. This will be discussed further in the Church Council meeting to be held after church 8/13/17. Please keep them and Patty and her spouse in your prayers.
June 30, 2017:
We feel blessed and are excited to report that the Holy Spirit has move us to a unanimous decision. We have called a candidate pending Church Council approval & a congregational vote! We have had multiple interviews, checked references, spent time with the person and spent hours in prayerful deliberation. We recently experienced the candidate leading worship. With that being said, please stay tuned for the official warning of the “Candidating Weekend”, which is when we will all meet the candidate, experience worship together and have a congregational vote. That weekend will be August 5th & 6th; please save both of those dates on your calendar. Your prayers have been instrumental through this process and we ask for continued prayers for the coming weeks.
June 20, 2017:
We have had one very strong candidate that we met with and observed preaching at a neutral pulpit this month. We are currently moving forward with that candidate to determine possible timing, ask follow-up questions and continue with prayerful discernment. Please keep the Search Committee in your prayers as we work toward the next steps.
January 3, 2017 Update:
The Warren United Church Pastoral Search is ongoing through this New Year. We were thrilled with the arrival of our new Interim Pastor Kurt Shaffert in the beginning of December; the timing of which was divine! He plans to be with us for six months before re-evaluating his and the church’s needs (no, we can’t keep him forever). Kurt has worked diligently on getting to know all of our church family along with their hopes, dreams and fears for the future. We look forward to his insight as we carry on with God through this process of eventually finding our new settled pastor. Kurt is gently moving us towards a way of church life that is less dependent upon the pastor for everything and more resourceful within the church team or family. We are prayerful that in God’s timing, our settled pastor will come into view. When that person does appear before us, we should be on even stronger footing and provide a smoother transition for the new pastor. As always, we are grateful for your continued prayers.
December 2, 2016 Update:
We have received nearly 20 pastoral applicants so far! There are many fantastic people reaching out to this church. The committee independently & prayerfully reviews each profile and then collectively shares their thoughts at the weekly meeting. The next step is listening to a sermon by the applicant, followed by a phone or Skype interview. Although it seems we have not yet found our next pastor, we have learned a great deal since our start in April! We have recently been blessed with the arrival of Kurt Shaffert... he will be our Interim Pastor for the coming months. With Rev. Susan's retirement, there will be a few edits done to our church profile (this is the document on the National UCC Network that describes our church and the pastoral opening). The Search Committee will reconvene after Christmas to continue to discern whom God is bringing to us! As always, we ask for your prayers.
October 7, 2016 Update:
The Warren United Church Pastoral Search Committee, on behalf of the congregation, has been prayerfully at work since April to discern who God has in mind for the Warren Church. We have received 14 pastoral profiles since the start. Although some applicants remain under consideration, we are going forward with the VT Conference UCC to ensure that there will be consistent pastoral coverage until a settled, permanent pastor is found.
The VT Conference has encouraged our congregation to view this short video below while we await our next pastor. We will be showing the video in the sanctuary on January 29, 2017.