During the period of Covenant Ministry, the Penn Southeast Conference’s Covenant Ministry Support Team essentially served as Michael’s pastoral relations committee. During revitalization, that function was deliberately removed from within the congregation to provide the Covenant Minister with more independence for the work he had to do among us.
Now that Old First has called Michael as pastor, it is time for us to create our own pastoral relations committee and, at its February meeting, the Elders established a Pastoral Relations Ministry Team.
What is a Pastoral Relations Ministry Team? This ministry team is our congregation’s fundamental support group for the pastor. In its advisory capacity, this ministry team will share ideas, dreams, hopes, expectations, and concerns of the congregation with the pastor. In its capacity as support for the pastor, the group will interpret the roles, functions, and needs of the pastor to the congregation. It is neither programmatic nor policy-oriented. It will provide the framework in which conflict can be dealt with creatively. Constructive communication, caring, trust and confidentiality on the part of the ministry team members are paramount to the effectiveness of this group.
Independent of the Elders and the standing leadership groups, the Pastoral Relations Ministry Team will be ultimately accountable to the congregation through the Elders.
Guided by the UCC document, “The Pastoral Relations Committee,” the Elders directed Michael to ask five Old First members to serve on the Pastoral Relations Ministry Team. In February, the Elders accepted Jane Acevedo, Russ Composto, Susan DeAngelus, Dan Rothermel, and Greta Stewart as members of the Pastoral Relations Ministry Team.
Anyone with a concern regarding the pastoral ministry at Old First is welcome to contact or speak to any of the members of the ministry team.
The “Pastoral Relations Committee” document also suggests that the church by-laws be amended to include the Pastoral Relations Ministry Team—defining its purpose, function, size, accountability, and selection of members. To this end, the Elders expect to present an amendment to the congregation for your approval no later than at the Annual Meeting and possibly before, if an earlier congregational meeting is called.
Nancy Donohue, Assistant Moderator, for the Elders