Transition? New Pastors? God’s already got us covered! (5/3/14)

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Church Operations, EventReport, Staff | 0 comments

In the United Methodist church, pastors are appointed to a church for one year.  Usually, pastors are re-appointed to their current church, but true to our heritage of serving with “circuit pastors“, change is inevitable.   All appointments in our conference begin on July 1.  In the weeks leading up to that date, things can get pretty hectic for the churches which are changing pastors.  A “dance of dominoes” begins where pastors move from parsonage to parsonage and exchange addresses.

On May 3, Pastor Larry, Pastor Kee and several of our church leaders forming a transition team, attended a workshop organized by the Conference to assist with the transition process. The meeting was held in the St. John’s UMC in Hazlet.  This church has special meaning to PUMC because our former pastor, Rev. Dr. Lanie Price was “transitioned” to this church from PUMC in 2007.


Clergy across the connection.  L-R: Rev. Richard Nichols (District Superintendent), Rev. Larry Potts (PUMC Sr. Pastor), Bishop John Schol (Greater NJ Annual Conference), Rev. Kee Young-Yang (PUMC Associate Pastor).

Clergy across the connection. L-R: Rev. Richard Nichols (District Superintendent), Rev. Larry Potts (PUMC Sr. Pastor), Bishop John Schol (Greater NJ Annual Conference), Rev. Kee Young-Yang (PUMC Associate Pastor).


Morning Session:  “Outgoing”

Retired Bishop Ernest S. Lyght Opened the workshop by speaking about change and transition.

Transition- The act of changing from one place to another.

Bishop Lyght advised us to embrace this time of transition.  He then stressed several themes regarding transition:

  • Transition is ongoing; it doesn’t start and end with a single event-
    When Moses answered God’s call, he had no idea how long it would take.  We are called to assume the long term; not that things will return to some stable state in quick order.
  • God Equips us for the Journey-
    People complained and constantly doubted Moses’ leadership, but God never gave up on Moses.  He continually developed Moses and gave him the resources to succeed in his mission.
  • God is in the Midst of Transition-
    God doesn’t change, even if our surroundings do.  Because God is in the midst of transition, we must embrace the opportunity to travel with God.  Step out in faith, looking for a fresh beginning instead of believing in the “good ‘ole days” (as the Israelites constantly did during the exodus).  But we must keep in touch with God through prayer and scripture in order to open ourselves to His leading.

In the morning session, we sat at a table with Pastors Larry and Kee as we listened to instructions regarding the transition of “outgoing” pastors.  A booklet was given to us detailing the entire process, and we discussed issues ranging from the parsonages, to roles, and to tasks remaining to be done.


Afternoon Session:  “Incoming”

But as morning turned into afternoon, the impact of the change in pastors began to hit in a very real way.  Immediately after lunch, the topics shifted from “outgoing pastors” to “incoming pastors.”  At the start of the afternoon session, pastors were instructed to leave the table occupied by their current church members and to go to the tables occupied by their new church.  Pastor Kee left us and went to the table representing the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Bayhead.  Pastor Larry left us and went across the room to the table occupied by members of the Franklinville United Methodist Church.  During this period of “musical chairs”, the lay representatives of each church were left alone, both in a symbolic way and in a literal way.

But, just as Bishop Light reminded us to “look for God’s fresh beginning,” Rev. Jim Bolton approached our table.  As Pastor Jim sat down and joined us, God enveloped us with a sense of unity and knowledge that He is indeed in the midst of transition.

Bishop Schol addressed the attendees and called us to live in expectations.  He defined Expectations as a “strong belief that something will happen.”  We are called to expect God’s leading and grace in our lives.

Various speakers then directed us to the items outlined in the transition booklets.  We discussed the “to do list” and other details at our table.  But beyond the many “things” that must be done and plans that must be made, this period began the true sense of transition and expectation as the (future) pastor and laity of our church began the process of bonding and building.  Together we will embrace transition and look for God who is in our midst to guide and empower us through this “wilderness” of change.

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As we near the dates when Pastors Larry and Kee leave us and when Pastor Jim joins us, the Staff-Parrish Relations committee will announce further details.  Until then, please remain in prayer for for all three families and for our church.

For more information on the appointment of Rev. Jim Bolton to PUMC, Click Here.

For updates on the transition or news about our staff, Click Here.


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