In preparation for the time after Rev. Catherine Foote’s retirement at the end of November, a committee has been working on finding a bridge minister to help carry the UCUCC clergy workload until a new, settled pastor is called to join our leadership team. The members of this search committee are Carol Bryant, Ed Coleman, Terry Moore, Christina Purdy, and Margaret Stine. We have been meeting since July.
To date the search committee has prepared a position description that has been reviewed and approved by UCC Pacific Northwest Conference Minister, Mike Denton. Our bridge minister opening has been posted through UCC national listing channels and we have received profiles from a couple of interested candidates. The committee is now preparing for interviews for this position that will start in late September. Once the search committee has a recommendation for this bridge minister position, the UCUCC Council will make the final decision regarding offering the position to the selected candidate.
Our target is to have the bridge minister start in early December. The last time UCUCC used a bridge minister was between Rev. Peter Ilgenfritz’s departure and Rev. Steve Jerbi’s arrival. Rev. Todd Smiedendorf was with us for two years! During that previous bridge minister period significant UCUCC leadership structure issues were addressed through the work of the Future’s Task Force and UCUCC Council discernment of that group’s recommendations. It is anticipated that the search for a new settled pastor to join Rev. Amy Roon and Rev. Steve Jerbi as our long-term clergy team will go much quicker this time around. If all goes as envisioned, a new settled minister will join UCUCC sometime in 2022 so that this bridge minister period will likely be a year or less.
Blessings to all who have given definition to the UCUCC leadership structure and participated in the searches for the clergy who have served (and are serving) us over the years. I am confident that the bridge minister search underway now and the settled minister search to come following Rev. Catherine Foote’s retirement will be equally successful in finding quality pastors who will complement and expand our clergy team.
UCUCC 2021 Bridge Minister Search Committee Chair