In the spring of 2019, upon the resignation of our long-time minister, the Executive of Stairs determined that the best way forward was to enter into a time of Intentional Interim Ministry. A Transition Team from within the congregation was selected along with two regional representatives; Rev. Catherine MacDonald was interviewed and invited to engage in this process with us and joined us in September 2019. A goal was formulated for this time:
To engage the congregation in a process of spiritual discernment for the future of the congregation, assessing the many resources of the congregation, including, but not limited to: mission, connection to the community, people, building, and finances.
Rev. Catherine began by leading the congregation in a series of Listening Circles. Alongside that, the Transition Team attended Vital Church Maritimes in Truro “to explore innovative approaches to missional ministry and church vitality” and reported their learnings back to the congregation at a Shared Ministry gathering.
When the Listening Circles were completed in January 2020, Rev. Catherine collated the results, and was ready to present them to the congregation when Covid19 shutdowns took place and things related to congregational gatherings were put on hold. The Transition Team continued to meet during this time, educating themselves by reading Holy Currencies by Eric Law, Rev. Catherine preached a sermon series on it as well in order to keep the congregation up to date with what they were learning. They also participated in a neighbourhood walk, exploring the immediate surroundings of the church.
In the fall of 2020, due to the Covid19 shutdowns, the Transition Team determined that the transition work was not going to be complete by the end of Rev. Catherine’s appointment in August 2020, so began discussing an extension. They made a recommendation to the Executive that we extend her time with us, as well as giving her some sabbatical time to rest and renew from a very demanding year in ministry. She will begin a new appointment with us in September which will run to December 2022.
The material from the Listening Circles was presented to the congregation in late fall 2020; you can see the Power Point presentation here.
The Transition Team and some of the Executive took part in a two day on-line event entitled Future Church Summit, where we had an opportunity to hear from innovative church leaders and interact with one another between sessions using questions that were provided.
Brainstorming sessions were held via Zoom in January and the material from those, along with a review of what had brought the congregation to this point, was shared in late March, you can view that presentation here.
We are at the stage where the congregation will be making some big decisions about the future. A Zoom gathering on April 25th is scheduled to review the material that was presented on March 28th and determine next steps.
As always, we will be guided by our vision:
Faith that Matters, Love that Matters, Community that Matters.