“Our pastor has resigned. What now?”

Use “From Pastoral Vacancy to Installation: A Handbook from the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, ELCA” to guide you more completely through the process. Use this link for the April 2011 edition of the Vacancy Manual (pdf file).

Transitions - due to resignations or retirements, with our pastors and other rostered leaders (Associates in Ministry, Diaconal Ministers and Deaconnesses) – are a common event in the life of the church. The synod has a process to help congregations and rostered leaders achieve healthy transitions. The process is designed to ensure healthy closure with an outgoing leader, assist the congregation in assessing its needs and beginning ministry in the interim period, and move into interviewing candidates and calling someone new.

THE PROCESS BEGINS
At this point, the congregation prepares for the departure of an outgoing leader and the synod assists in reviewing the call process with the congregation and determining the congregation’s interim ministry needs.

INTERIM MINISTRY
An interim pastor or other rostered leader may be engaged while the congregation and its church council assess their needs and appoint a call committee. Find the Covenant for Interim Ministry on the “Forms” page, and more information in “Added strength before call process,” a Forum blog post.

CALL COMMITTEE TASKS
The synod reviews the pool of available candidates and forwards information to the congregation call committee, which interviews candidates and recommends a candidate to the church council.

ISSUING A CALL
A congregational meeting date is arranged with the synod and held to approve the calling of a notified candidate.

CONCLUDING THE PROCESS
Once a candidate considers and accepts the call, a congregation concludes the interim arrangement and welcomes the new leader to their congregation.

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* NOTE: The “Rite of Farewell and Godspeed for Pastors,” listed on the Materials for the Call Process list to the right, comes from the Upstate New York Synod and is part of their “Healthy Transitions” packet.  If congregations would like more information about the packet, they can contact Harold Sargeant or the Rev. Amy Thompson Sevimli at the synod office for more information.