The Episcopal Church of the Holy Innocents
FROM THE INTERIM RECTOR’S STUDY
What is Intentional Interim (Transition) Ministry?
All congregations in transition between Settled Rectors benefit greatly from an intentional time of interim ministry and the spiritual guidance and pastoral care of a trained Interim Priest. This is so even if the former priest left under the best of circumstances. It is especially true when a congregation has experienced an unusually long pastorate, and has been re-visioning for the future. Fr. Frank retired as your beloved Rector only three months ago after twenty years of a very positive ministry with you. And in the months immediately before he left, you began a re-visioning program called “The Way of St. Paul.”
An Intentional Interim Priest serves during the period between settled Rectors. By nature a transition pastorate is a temporary position for a specific time period that may be extended if necessary. Most churches have a new settled Rector in place about fifteen months – give or take a few months - after the previous Rector’s formal relationship with the parish ends. So, you may expect to have your new Rector in place by the end of next summer 2019, God willing.
Inevitably, in every Interim position in which I have served, I get asked “Are you our new Rector? Can you stay with us?” While it is flattering that you might want me to stay, and I am very excited about ministry with you here at Holy Innocents Church in Beach Haven, the rule is that Interim Rectors cannot be considered for the settled position where they are serving. This is clearly stated in my Letter of Agreement with the Vestry and the Bishop. The truth is I have been specializing in Interim Ministry for more than fifteen years, I really like it and plan to continue being an Interim priest until I retire.
An Interim Priest has specific training and skills to guide a congregation to identify, appreciate and build on its strengths, and identify and appropriately resolve possible transition issues and crises.
An important job of the Interim Priest is to help the congregation bring appropriate closure regarding its former priests by encouraging members to stop depending on them for their spiritual, pastoral and general congregational needs, and to transfer their allegiance regarding these needs to the interim and ultimately to the new Settled Rector. Fr. Frank and his family will always be your friends. You spent twenty years of your lives together. However, his pastoral relationship with you has ended.
Interim Priests are normally responsible for the following three broad areas of ministry:
A. The continuing worship, spiritual, educational and pastoral life of the congregation as well as basic church administration. The Interim Priest acts as the Rector or Priest in Charge of the congregation for the duration of the interim period.
B. Guiding the congregation in identifying, appreciating and building on its strengths; and guiding the congregation through the Five Developmental Tasks unique to the interim period. These are as follows:
1) Coming to Terms with its History
2) Discovering a New Identity by discerning God's new vision for future ministry
3) Leadership Changes as needed (both paid and volunteer, lay and clergy)
4) Reaffirming healthy diocesan and greater church connections
5) Preparing for new pastoral leadership and ministries
C. Leading the congregation through healing, re-visioning or renewal as appropriate to specific circumstances. You have already started this with “The Way of St. Paul” program you initiated just before Fr. Frank retired. I will be helping you to Implement the goals that you developed.
It is important that you do not rush the Interim Period, and that you do not take too long. As I mentioned, I have been doing Intentional Interim Ministry for more than fifteen years. Only one of the many churches I served as Interim Priest did not grow spiritually and in attendance and income during its interim time and that was because it had refused to deal with very serious issues. So, this is your time and I very much look forward to the interesting and exciting adventure ahead. And remember, God is always with you. Amen?!
Fr. Dan Hinkle +, Interim Rector
Holy Innocents Episcopal Church
Beach Haven, NJ
Perhaps you're a visitor on Long Beach Island. Maybe you haven't been in Church for a while and would like to start back. Whatever is going on in your life, you are welcome at Holy Innocents. Your past affiliations don't mean nearly as much to us as your present affiliation with us.
410 South Atlantic Ave
between Atlantic and Beach)
Beach Haven, New Jersey 08008
Important Message from the Interim Rector Below