Below is an overview of church organizational changes, including the pastoral Leadership Team portfolios, excerpted from the forthcoming 131st Annual Report.
For the past few years, UCUCC has been on a deliberate journey of self-reflection and transformation. This time of prayerful assessment was, in part, a reflection of the leadership staffing changes that began with the departure of Pastor Peter Ilgenfritz at the end of 2018. Accompanying this liminal time were three important actions in the life of the church: the vote to become a Racial Justice Church, the work of the Future’s Task Force (FTF), and the work of the Assets Enhancement Task Force (AETF).
The research, visioning, listening, and priorities articulated by the Future’s Task Force have shaped the path that we are walking together as a church. The FTF report included four recommendations to the Church Council: three were adopted unanimously, and further exploration was proposed for the other. A Staffing Proposal Committee (SPC) was formed to take those next steps, and in February 2020 the UCUCC Church Council unanimously adopted three new Leadership Team Portfolios for our clergy team based on the culmination of the FTF and SPC work: Minister of Worship & Christian Formation, Minister of Care and Outreach, and Minister of Vision & Stewardship.
Our commitment to the work of racial justice has also shaped who we are becoming, as we walk forward with the intention of undoing systems of dominant culture and working to create a kin-dom culture in our community. The impact of Covid-19 has changed our church in many ways, and through our fortitude, creativity, and faith, we are emerging into a new way of being church together on the other side of this global pandemic. Finally, the work of the Assets Enhancement Task Force has created a thoughtful inventory of our resources and how we might use them to do God’s work in the world. The AETF Inventory Report can be found here.
UCUCC has also been living through a liminal season of pastoral leadership change. With Pastor Peter’s departure, Pastor Todd Smiedendorf’s two-year bridge ministry provided grounding and breath for this transitional space. In 2021, we hired Pastor Steve Jerbi in the portfolio of Minster of Worship & Christian Formation and Pastor Amy Roon transitioned into the portfolio of Minister of Vision and Stewardship. Pastor Catherine Foote’s retirement at the end of 2021 was the middle of the arc of congregational leadership change. Pastor Loren McGrail joined the team as a bridge minister in early 2022 and resigned in August 2022. During Pastor Amy’s sabbatical last fall, we were buoyed by the talent and support of our retired clergy, our covenant partners, and especially the leadership of Jennifer Butner as the pastoral liaison with the Calling, Engagement, and Community Ministry.
We’re not the same church we were four years ago. The intentional work of these past few years—the Future’s Task Force, the Staffing Proposal Committee, Assets Enhancement Task Force, our Racial Justice commitment, the ways we’ve shifted in response to the pandemic—all this work will strengthen and guide us through this next leadership transition. With the candidacy of Pastor Michael Ellick, we are approaching a new aspect of this transformation journey, as we envision the potential for a settled three-clergy Leadership Team again for the first time since 2019. As we step into our congregation’s 132nd year, we do so with hope for the future.
Leadership Team Vision and Portfolios
As recommended by the Future’s Task Force and the Staffing Proposal Committee, here is the vision for the UCUCC Leadership Team and the portfolios for each minister that would be in effect with the call of our 3rd settled pastor. These were initially adopted by the Church Council in February 2020, which also outlined a process for pastors to shift portfolios.
Vision: UCUCC is served by a team of three ministers who are called to embody and encourage the faith of the Church to live the transformative adventure of God’s love and justice. The Leadership Team (LT) is called to be a highly functioning pastoral leadership team that is well supported and connected to an engaged congregation and Church Council. The LT is a team characterized by skill, synergy, creativity, anti-bias work, transformative approach, and the accomplishment of goals. Each LT member is challenged, mentored, well-supported, and accountable to the team and to the congregation.
Expectations of All Leadership Team Ministers Are To:
- Nurture a healthy spiritual life individually and together.
- Work collaboratively and collegially, sharing the responsibility for healthy Leadership Team connection and function.
- Share preaching and pastoral care responsibilities within the Leadership Team.
- Exercise responsibility, leadership, and authority within their designated portfolio while consulting with the other Leadership Team members and laity.
- Collaborate with lay leadership, developing specific goals and outcomes related to the minister’s specific areas of portfolio ministry.
- Support and participate in the portfolio ministries headed by other Leadership Team members.
- Support all the church’s missions and ministries.
- Demonstrate desire and sensitivity to working in diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and religious settings and be attentive to implicit-bias perspectives and training.
- Communicate in a timely and effective manner to individuals and the congregation.
- Be accountable to the congregation through the Church Council, Personnel Committee, and Leadership Parish Relations Committee.
- Work diligently to grow in the UCC’s “Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers.”
The Minister of Vision and Stewardship (MVS) has broad responsibility for the Ministry of Stewardship & Administration. Thus, the MVS has the responsibility for helping the congregation discern and articulate its vision and for developing strategies, goals, and outcomes that embody that vision. The MVS also has broad responsibility for leading the congregation in our covenant to live responsibly within creation, sharing with gratitude the gifts we are given. The MVS has responsibility for developing, monitoring, and reporting to church leaders the effective management of the ministry of UCUCC, including ensuring that the activities of all Leadership Team members (individual and team functioning) are in line with the vision and goals of the congregation. The MVS is accountable to the Leadership Team, the UCUCC Church Council and the congregation for the fulfillment of these expectations.
Specific areas of responsibility of Minister of Vision and Stewardship include:
- Supervise Director of Finance and Administration including hiring, training, direction, meetings, performance feedback, corrective action performance documentation, positive reinforcement, frequent communication and adherence to the policies and procedures in the UCUCC Personnel Handbook.
- Liaising with Personnel Committee (PC) – working closely with the PC to ensure they are equipped to do their work, including an annual evaluation of all Leadership Team members.
- Liaising with Leadership Parish Relations Committee (LPRC) – to ensure they are equipped to do their work to advise, assist and promote the growth and health of the relationship between congregants and clergy.
- Liaising with Stewardship & Administration Ministry which includes the PC, Finance Committee and Facilities Committee.
- Coordinating the Leadership Team meetings and functions.
- Helping the Leadership Team articulate long term goals, short term objectives, and common understandings and expectations.
- Liaising with Church Council. While all members of the Leadership Team are full, non-voting participants on Church Council, the MVS has specific leadership/coordination responsibilities regarding:
- Ensuring that the Church Council is working to discern the mission and vision of the congregation and creating long and short-term goals for the ministry of UCUCC.
- Providing leadership to big-picture analysis and long-term planning with other church leadership.
- Ensuring that Church Council has the training and tools necessary to carry out its role in visioning and ministry implementation.
- Interpreting, articulating, and promoting the congregation’s overall mission, vision, and goals within areas of assigned responsibility in service to the Church Council and congregation.
The MVS portfolio is held by Rev. Amy Roon.
The Minister of Christian Formation and Outreach (MCFO) has broad responsibility for the Ministry of Christian Formation and the Ministry of Love & Justice. Thus, the MCFO has broad responsibility for providing Christian formation opportunities to congregants of all ages- from early childhood through adulthood- to deepen their understanding of the Sacred. The MCFO has broad responsibility for providing meaningful educational programs to help individuals within the congregation and in the community to learn of God’s love, care and call for our lives. Also, the MCFO leads and supports the outreach ministry of UCUCC: empowers the congregation and its individual members to live out our covenant in God’s reign of justice and peace in the world. The MCFO is accountable to the Leadership Team, the UCUCC Church Council and the congregation for the fulfillment of these expectations.
Specific areas of responsibility of Minister of Christian Formation and Outreach include:
- Work directly with staff and laity within the Christian Formation Ministry and Love &Justice Ministry (two of five designated ministries of the Church).
- Supervise program staff Christian Formation Ministry and Love & Justice Ministry including hiring, training, direction, meetings, performance feedback, corrective action performance documentation, positive reinforcement, frequent communication and adherence to the policies and procedures in the UCUCC Personnel Handbook.
- Lead the coordination of activities of Christian Formation and Outreach.
- Lead the visioning and goal setting for Christian Formation programming and Outreach activities in line with articulated UCUCC priorities, and support implementation of goals as approved by Council.
- Interpret, articulate, and promote the congregation’s overall mission, vision, and goals from the perspective of Christian Formation and Love & Justice ministries in service to the Church Council and congregation.
The MCFO portfolio will be held by Rev. Steve Jerbi once the new settled pastor arrives.
The Minister of Worship and Care (MWC) has broad responsibility for the Ministry of Music & Worship and the Ministry of Calling, Engagement & Community. Thus, the MWC has the responsibility for leading the congregation in faithful and meaningful worship which includes music as a core component. The MWC is responsible for designing, developing, and implementing a vision for leading the church working together to provide meaningful and faithful worship, both in-person and on-line. Also, the MWC leads and supports the congregational care ministry of UCUCC: empowers the congregation and its individual members to live out our covenant in the areas of caring for one another, and helps people find their vocation and opportunity for ministries (both small short-term callings and big lifetime vocational discernment). The MWC is accountable to the Leadership Team, the UCUCC Church Council and the congregation for the fulfillment of these expectations.
Specific areas of responsibility of Minister of Worship and Care include:
- Work directly with staff and laity within the Music & Worship Ministry and Calling, Engagement & Community Ministry (two of five designated ministries of the Church).
- Supervise program staff for Music &Worship Ministry and Calling, Engagement & Community Ministry including hiring, training, direction, meetings, performance feedback, corrective action performance documentation, positive reinforcement, frequent communication and adherence to the policies and procedures in the UCUCC Personnel Handbook.
- Lead the coordination of activities of Music & Worship
- Lead the visioning and goal setting for Music & Worship and Calling, Engagement & Community programming in line with articulated UCUCC priorities, and support implementation of goals as approved by Council.
- Interpret, articulate, and promote the congregation’s overall mission, vision, and goals from the perspective of Music & Worship and Calling, Engagement & Community ministries in service to the Church Council and congregation.
Rev. Michael Ellick is the candidate for the MWC portfolio, recommended by the Pastoral Search Committee and endorsed by the UCUCC Church Council.