eCare - Now What?

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eCare - Now What?

Dear Friends in Christ,

There are many of you who receive this eCare mailing who are not members of the Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church congregation.  You have asked to be placed on the distribution list because you have received a past copy from a relative or friend, found it helpful in some way and expressed an interest in receiving future issues.  It is a delight for me to know that you have and are finding them helpful and it is our privilege to continue distributing them to you.

Originally, the precursor to eCare was an in-house publication, distributed only to church members.  Its sole purpose was to inform the congregation about the dates and times of upcoming events.  Eventually, the mission changed to be a vehicle through which I give comment on events, trends and other items that I think will help you live as the scattered people of God wherever it is He has sovereignly led you to live, work and serve Him and the advancement of His kingdom.

Today I want to talk, specifically, to the members and friends of Beverly Heights Church and for the rest of you faithful readers I hope that if, as you read, your interest wanes along the way you will jump off with the knowledge that topics of a more general interest will surely return.

As I told the congregation in an e-mail this past Wednesday morning I have informed the Session of my desire and intention to retire from the pastorate effective October 31, 2018.  Upon reaching that date I will have completed 46 years of pastoral ministry, 33 of which were served as the senior pastor of Beverly Heights Church.  In that e-mail I promised that I would give you a few more details about what will happen during the next 18 months of this transition period.  The process can be complicated and it is often adjusted to fit the particulars of each pastor’s and congregation’s real-life situation.  Rarely is it a one-size-fits-all proposition.

However, for now here are the broad strokes of the process:

  1. I have informed the Staff, Session, congregation and the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of the Alleghenies of my desire and intention to retire effective October 31, 2018.
  2. The Session has issued a call for a special meeting of the congregation to take place on Wednesday evening, June 14th at 7 PM in the church sanctuary.  At that meeting several things will happen:  (1) I will ask the congregation to agree with my desire to retire, (2) The congregation will elect a Pastoral Search Committee comprised of 2 members from the Session, 1 member from the Board of Deacons and 4 members from the congregation at large.  The Session will make nominations of individuals to serve on the Search Committee but the floor will be open to other nominations.
  3. At the next Session meeting on Tuesday, June 4th the Session will:  (1) elect a slate of nominees for the Search Committee to be presented for vote of the congregation on June 14th (2) hear from Pastor Nate Devlin regarding his desire to be considered as a candidate (with others) for the position of Senior Pastor, (3) take action on a required vote of the Session to permit Pastor Devlin to be considered as a candidate (with others).  This motion must be approved by a super-majority of 75% of the Session. The Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery of the Alleghenies must also approve this motion by a super-majority of 75% of its members.  This will probably take place at its next meeting in July.
  4. The Committee on Ministry of the presbytery will assign a liaison from the committee to Beverly Heights who will be charged with shepherding us through the process.
  5. The Search Committee will begin to meet.  The committee will develop a church information form that will be distributed to potential candidates.  When that is completed the committee will begin to gather the personal information forms of potential candidates. The committee will study the PIFs and contact those who are of interest.  Ultimately, the Search Committee will identify the person who they wish to recommend to the congregation and that will take place at a congregational meeting with the successful candidate being confirmed by vote of the congregation.

As I said above these are the broad strokes.  There are many other parts to this process and I am committed to you being informed as we move along; there will be no surprises.  I know that you have many questions and it is not possible to address them all in this format or at this time as some of those questions do not yet have answers.  Though I’ll try not to actually say it the answer to some of your questions asked along the way will be “When I know You’ll know!”

We are all entering into a period in our history together that is fraught with twists and turns, uncertainty and anxiety, apprehension and anticipation, but also a time of warm remembrances, exciting new possibilities, clarified vision and sharpened focus.  At times it may seem as though we don’t understand what’s happening and don’t know where we’re going.

On the one hand this is unsettling but on the other hand it can be an exciting, faith-building time of recommitment of ourselves to the Lord and reaffirmation of the Lord’s commitment to us, His children and His church which He loves, for which He gave His life and for which He is coming again.

On at least two other occasions during our 30+ years together we have passed over some rocky paths. During both of those journeys I found myself counseling one and all with these words:  “We must keep first things first; and this isn’t the first thing!”  Neither is this pastoral transition.

What is first is the worship of our Creator-God through His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.  What is first is our service to Him and the advancement of His kingdom, living as the light, salt and leaven of the kingdom of God.

What is first is the greater glory of the King of kings and Lord of lords Who “loved us and gave Himself for us.”  To Him and to Him alone, be all glory, honor and praise, both this day and always.

Faithfully in Him (and still your Pastor),