Pastoral Transition Information

April 2021

PCO is currently served by Interim Pastor, Rev. Peggy Casteel-Huston. Pastor Peggy comes to us most recently from La Porte, Indiana, where she served as Interim Pastor. She has more than thirty years of experience working in Presbyterian churches including serving several churches as an interim pastor. This is a specialized ministry, and the interim search committee was very concerned with finding a pastor who could assist our congregation through this time of discernment and transition. We have been so lucky to have twenty-four years with Rev. Dr. Robert Carlson, and now our congregation faces the task of figuring out who we are and who God is calling us to become in this new stage of our life as a church. We are delighted that Peggy Casteel-Huston is with us through this process.

For more on interim ministry and the transition process, please visit the PC(USA) resources on interim/transitional ministry. PC(USA) explains that “an Interim/Transitional Pastor leads a congregation during the transition time after an installed pastor has departed, helping the congregation prepare to welcome the leadership of a new installed pastor. Interim/Transitional Pastors understand the dynamics of a congregation in transition, including feelings of grief, loss, and, sometimes, relief or anger. Interim/Transitional pastors will help the session provide for continuity of essential programs, and may assist the session in assessing needs for changes in programs and ministries of the congregation.”

The search process requires a Self-study report before the Pastor Nominating (search) Committee can be formed. We are now in the stage of the search process that the Self-study Committee has now completed its work! The Self-study Committee was an ad hoc committee established to prepare a report on our church as part of PCO’s preparation to hire a new “called and installed” Pastor, Head of Staff. Committee members were Barbara Dorr, Barbara Given, Ellen Hoekstra, Sarah Mayhew, Tom Schaberg, and Kent Workman. In addition to doing research on topics that needed to be covered, all members and staff were asked for input through a survey on “pastoral preferences” and small focus group meetings on a wider range of topics.
The Committee prepared a 35 page report that had three purposes: to provide the Committee on Ministry (COM) with the information needed to authorize PCO to establish a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC); to give the PNC information needed to publicize the position and evaluate candidate suitability; and finally, to help potential nominees evaluate whether PCO is a good fit for their experience, strengths, and pastoral goals.
Session thoroughly reviewed a draft of the report, with many elders recommending helpful modifications. Session then unanimously approved the final report. It was then sent to the Committee on Ministry, which said they were quite impressed with the self-study and they have approved our being able to form a Pastor Nominating Committee.

All members have been sent a copy of this report. If you did not receive one, please email or call Anna in the church office. The next step was for the 2021 Nominating Committee to be approved by the congregation at PCO’s annual meeting. Then the Nominating Committee created a list of candidates for the Pastor Nominating Committee–a separate body from the “regular” Nominating Committee and one that was approved by the congregation at a special congregational meeting.