Meet our new pastor, Charles Spence Freeman. We are very pleased to welcome Charles and his wife, Julia, to Gainesville. They will be moving to Gainesville from Virginia mid-January, and Charles will be preaching his first sermon at Grace the last Sunday of that month, I believe. – Jay Collins
Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC)
October 19, 2014
At our meeting last Tuesday we started to build up some momentum toward the completion of our task of finding a minister nominee for Grace. So, I thought this would be an opportune time to pause and review the Presbyterian process of selecting a minister, outlining what has been done and what is left to be done.
Last May W.T. Chesnut came before the congregation and presented the Nominating Committee’s proposed slate of six members to serve on the Pastor Nominating Committee. You, as a congregation, voted to empower these individuals to search for and nominate a pastor. Once the PNC was elected, the other members of the congregation and the session have no role in determining who will be the next pastor until the PNC is ready to present their nominee to the congregation for a vote.
At our first meeting on May 28 the six members of the PNC elected by the congregation, Jerry Butler, Jay Collins, Pauline Kirk, Karen Russ, Stephen Weaver, and I, plus Janis Bomar, who was appointed by the Presbytery and served as our liaison with the Committee on Ministry, met and began the process of selecting the nominee to present to be the next pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church.
We have worked prayerfully and diligently on the many stages of the process.
Stage One: Writing and submitting the Ministry Information Form. As you remember this is the lengthy document which both describes our church and the expectations we have for the position of minister. This stage has been completed.
Stage Two: Reading and Screening Personal Information Forms (PIFs). As you remember a PIF is the lengthy document which describes the qualifications and expectations of the prospective minister. Each member of the PNC read each PIF. We read more than 50 PIFs and narrowed the pool down to less than 20 prospective ministers.
Stage Three: Viewing sermons and checking references. As a group we viewed at least one sermon from each candidate. We divided the reference calls between the members of the committee and shared the results at the next meeting. In this stage we narrowed the pool down to less than 10 prospective ministers.
Stage Four: Interviewing over internet video such as Skype or FaceTime. We will conduct our first interview on Tuesday, October 28. In this stage we will narrow the pool down to no more than 5 and will request presbytery to presbytery reference checks.
Stage Five: On-Site Interviews with Finalists. We will invite prospective pastors to come to Gainesville for an approximately three-day visit in which they will become acquainted with our physical plant and the Gainesville community, preach in a “neutral” pulpit selected by Presbytery, and participate in a formal interview.
Stage Six: Choosing the Nominee, Extending the Invitation, and Negotiating the Terms of Call. All of these steps are conducted by the PNC, though concerning the salary package we do have guidelines from the Session.
Stage Seven: Making the Journey from Nomination to Installation: First, the candidate must be approved by the Examinations Commission of the Presbytery before the congregational meeting can be held to issue the call. Second, the session needs to call a congregational meeting to vote on the call. Third, after the congregational meeting is completed and the Examinations Commission of the presbytery has approved, our new pastor may begin ministry in our midst. Fourth, the minister will be enrolled as an active member of the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Sixth, the minister will be ordained and/or installed. These services are act of the presbytery, and so are performed by a commission created by the presbytery to represent it.
The upshot of this Presbyterian process is that you will vote on your next minister having neither seen nor heard that person. You have invested a great deal of responsibility and trust in the members of the PNC. You can see why we strongly need your prayers as we try to discern the working of the Holy Spirit.
We are humbled by this responsibility. Please pray that we will be open to the work of the Holy Spirit which will strengthen us and guide us.
If you have any questions at all about the Presbyterian process of issuing a call for a new pastor, please ask me directly.
Dorothy Nevill, Moderator
Grace Pastor Nominating Committee