An elder: A church community is constantly changing. Babies are born and baptized into the faith community, individuals and families join with us and sometimes move away, loved ones are called home to Jesus. It is important for us to recognize and mark well these times of passage - these endings and beginnings. Today we bid farewell and Godspeed to Pastor [name] who has served us as Interim Pastor for the past [number] months, as his/her time with us has now drawn to a close.
Interim Pastor: I thank you, the people of [church name], for the love, kindness, and support you have shown me these past months. I thank you for accepting my leadership and receiving me as pastor in your midst for this time of transition. I recall with joy the many things we have been able to accomplish together, and with sadness the things we were not able to do. I trust that God will continue to work in your midst as you embrace new leadership.
Another elder: We receive with thankfulness the ministry you have offered us in the time we have shared. We accept that you now leave us to minister at [church/ministry name if known]. We bid farewell to you trusting that God goes with you on that journey. Your presence among us will not be forgotten. We are grateful for the time you have been with us.
An elder: Do you, the people of [church name], now release Pastor [name] from the duties of Interim Pastor?
Congregation: We do.
Another elder: Do you, Pastor [name], release [church name] from turning to you and relying on you to serve them as Pastor?
Interim Pastori: I do.
An elder: Let us pray.
O God of hope, whose love for us is trustworthy and true, we are grateful for the ways we have grown as a congregation during the season of transition; you have used Pastor Shari’s gifts for the furthering of your kingdom among us. In looking toward tomorrow, we trust your hand to guide us. Send Pastor [name and their family] forward in your grace, by the power of your faithful Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Another elder: Go now, Pastor [name], with our blessing, surrounded by our love and led by the promises of God, the presence of Christ Jesus, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And all of God’s people joined their voices to say, Amen!
Litany may be lead by any appropriate church leader whose voice adds meaning and dignity to marking this time of passage.
Proverbs 2/Wisdom speaks: “If you . . .receive and treasure my words . . . if you call out for insight . . . if you seek it like silver . . . Then you will understand awe, righteousness and justice and equity and every good path; you will find knowledge of God; this knowledge will be pleasant to your soul and discretion will watch over you. Then you will walk in the way of the good . . .”
“And hope sprouts new, because God doesn’t give us a list. He invites us into the story.” — Emily P. Freeman / A million little ways.
During this season of Lent, I have been reflecting on the art of pausing.
The Lord’s Prayer is so familiar to us and standing in church on Sunday mornings saying it week after week I admit that at times I can forget to really pay attention to the words.…can forget to actually pray. During this time of Lent I’ve been trying to be more attentive to prayer in general, and specifically to the Lord’s Prayer.
Lenten reflection by Mary Pandiani*
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3 NIV)
I recently read this article about what to know about your car if you’re not car-savvy and was blown away by how useful it was. Despite being a competent driver of cars, I do secretly wish they would take care of themselves. But cars need attentive care. Savvy drivers learn what they need to know about cars in order to get where they want to go.
In the same way, leaders of people must learn what we need to know to get organizations where they want to go. The article got me thinking: What does an interim pastor need to know about if they’re not interim-savvy — or simply inexperienced in an area of pastoral leadership?
Here’s the list I’ve come up with...