Instead of your typical monthly letter, I thought I would write you a report that might help you feel a little more in tune with the state of Fairview at the present time.
On Sunday, August 23rd, we had a Congregational Meeting via Zoom. I am grateful to you all who showed up your screens and discussed and voted on motions. We elected three new elders (well, one returning): Lynn Curry, Janet Russell and Carlos Bascas for the Class of 2022. They will join Wendy Foy, Pat Gutendorf and Sue Beagle, Class of 2021. Be sure to express your gratitude to C.Ann Gittings and Robert Greenwood for their service as they roll off the session. In addition to voting in new elders, we welcomed new deacons to our midst, too. Debi Hancock and Jeff Gross were brought before the congregation in a motion from the nominating committee. Allison Bascas was nominated from “the floor,” and all three were approved as new members of your diaconate. Again, let’s express our thanks to those deacons who are completing their terms: Linda Caincross, Cathy Reulbach, Janet Russell and Felica Shutt.
The Nominating Committee also made a motion to decrease the size of the Diaconate from eight to six. After much discussion, the motion was voted down, and the Board will consist of eight members, as the Nominating Committee is able to fill those seats.
Way back in March, the Session and I were ready to begin the interim work of finding your new pastor. We were prepared to roll out the Holy Cow survey and plan some informal discussions to help determine your goals and your hopes for your new leadership. When the pandemic hit, we hit pause, thinking the time was not right—how would you know what you want or need? Now, more than four months later, it feels like it is time to move forward, even though our circumstances are not all that different. We are living through a time like no other, but you are still God’s church in the world, and we must move forward in faith.
The link to the Holy Cow survey is included in this newsletter. Please read this to be sure you don’t have to spend more time than is necessary:
“The assessment takes on average 22 minutes (that is the real average). We usually ask that people set aside 30 minutes to take the assessment just in case they need more time. We suggest that people take the assessment in one sitting although the assessment program will not time folks out if they walk away and come back. The only concern is if the individual’s device is set to “go to sleep” or shut-down after a certain period of activity. This may mean that they will need to start the assessment over and we will need to be notified so we can delete their earlier response.”
For those without computers, we hope to get paper copies out and then collect them and enter the data so everyone’s opinions are recorded. We would love to see 100% of membership participate. Please make the time very soon to get this done. We will leave the survey open for about 3 weeks.
What happens after the survey closes? Joy Fisher from the Presbytery scores the entries and makes a report for us. She will meet with us and go over the outcome and also the demographics of Fairview’s area. After that, the Nominating Committee will dive back into work and search for members of the PNC, the Pastor Nominating Committee. This group will then get right to work, writing the MIF, the Ministry Information Form, which will then be put on a national database where ministers search for a new call. Then the fun begins!
How long will this process take? My hope is that Fairview can complete all of the above by Advent or at least the end of 2020. The following part—the matching part—can be a little harder to pinpoint the length of time it will take.
I pray that the ways in which we go about the first part—the amount of enthusiasm we put into the survey; the diligence and discernment we put into finding the right people for the PNC; the clarity, honesty and sense of purpose that goes into writing the MIF—will all lead to a fruitful and timely match of Fairview with her new installed pastor.
In the meantime, we still have the work of the church to do! While you all are taking the survey, your leadership team and I will be planning a service to install your newly elected officers. Session will soon elect a new treasurer—Mary Bettinger—to take over for Ray who has decided to step away after many years of faithful service. And of course, we will providing what we hope are meaningful worship services and ways to connect via fellowship times. If you have ideas to share or needs that I or someone on our leadership teams (Session or Diaconate) can help meet, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Peace and Blessings,