Beloved UCUCC Community,
I am writing to inform you that Rev Steve Jerbi will move to a half time minister position at our church effective November 20, 2023. The proposal for this change came at Steve’s request. After several weeks of discussions among the entire Leadership Team, Ed Coleman as Moderator, the chairs of the Personnel Committee, and Kyna Shilling as our Director of Finance & Operations, this proposal was presented to the Church Council for its consideration. During its September 20 meeting the Council voted to approve this proposal as recommended by the UCUCC Personnel Committee.
In August, Pastor Steve came to us with an exciting proposal—he has been offered the opportunity to serve as the national director of the Organizing for Mission Network of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). This is the denomination in which Pastor Steve was ordained. The part-time ELCA position he has been recruited to will draw upon his extensive community organizing skill in engaging religious communities to advocate for God’s transformative justice in our world. Given the great need for his skill at this pivotal time in the life of our country, the UCUCC Personnel Committee endorsed this opportunity and worked with all three pastors – Steve, Amy and Michael – to craft a plan going forward that has been approved by the Church Council.
Pastor Steve shared, “I’m excited to be able to connect with leaders, congregations, and communities with a national scope. This ecumenical network fosters faith-rooted action at a time when impacted communities are facing greater threats – economically, politically, and spiritually. The Organizing for Mission Network has built new relationships for UCUCC through Seattle-wide trainings. In this new role, we will be able to develop new connections and skills beyond the city. This is also a great opportunity to reflect our congregation’s values throughout the country.”
Pastor Steve’s UCUCC title will remain Minister of Christian Formation, Love and Justice and his call as a settled pastor of our church remains in force. Margaret Swanson, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries will continue to report to him. His main UCUCC focus will continue to be working closely with the lay leaders of the ministries of Christian Formation and Love & Justice to advance our shared goals. He will support general worship, preaching and pastoral care, as time allows given his half time church position.
“This shift is only possible with collaboration between UCUCC and the leadership at the church-wide office of the ELCA,” noted Pastor Steve. “It is important to me to keep my congregational connection alongside this national work. I am thankful to continue to work with the ministries of Christian Formation and Love & Justice. This also keeps UCUCC my family’s church home and the girls rooted in our youth group.”
With this change to 2 ½ ministers on staff, Pastor Amy and Pastor Michael will be our team ministry leaders, sharing ministerial leadership of UCUCC. In recognition of his reduction of time, Pastor Steve will not be part of the Pastor Leadership Team (aka team ministry) and will not hold system-level leadership for our congregation. He will directly report to Rev. Amy Roon, the minister of Vision and Stewardship, with an indirect reporting relationship to Church Council.
The timing of this change is fortuitous. We now have three settled pastors in our congregation including our new Minister of Worship and Care, Rev Michael Ellick, who joined us in August, and a seasoned Minister of Vision and Stewardship, Rev Amy Roon, whose call was recently renewed after 14 years of service. The budget for 2024 will reflect the reduced expenses of Pastor Steve’s hours and benefits.
Effective November 20, you can expect to continue to encounter Pastor Steve in worship several Sundays a month. He will preach about a sixth of the time (instead of a third of the time) and will provide general pastoral coverage and services commensurate with his half time position.
The collaborative group of our three pastors will evaluate the success of this model on an ongoing basis and report to the Personnel Committee and Council at least quarterly. We will conduct a formal evaluation of the model at the time when we conduct annual pastor performance reviews.
Please join in congratulating Pastor Steve on this timely and significant opportunity to advance God’s message in our country and at the same time bring his national learnings and insights to the Christian Formation and Love & Justice ministries and to our congregation at large.
You may direct questions to the pastors, the co-chairs of the Personnel Committee (Virginia Felton and Joyce Jackson) or to me as Moderator. We will respond to commonly asked questions in future communications as we near the transition date of November 20.
Seeking to be Church together, with, and for each other,