Summertime in New England churches can be somewhat deceptive. The fields of ministry seemingly lie fallow. Attendance comes down and much less happens. But all the while the church quietly restores and renews itself for what lies ahead. For example, as staffing changes happen within our churches, they often occur over the summer to put things in place for the not-so-far-off church program year.
It is true of First Congregational, Darien this summer, 2015. We have big staffing news on two fronts. First, we share with genuine excitement that Gary Morello will join us in late August as our Interim Youth Minister. Gary comes to us from the Talmadge Hill Community Church, where he will continue to serve part-time.
Gary brings lots of youth group experience, palpable excitement, and contagious passion for this work. He will work with us about 15 hours each week until we call our full-time Associate Minister. In this temporary role, he’ll plan and lead youth group activities and meetings, assist with confirmation, and lead a few of the “Come As You Are” services. Gary is 26, looking toward ordination, and studying at New York Theological Seminary. We will welcome Gary with a meet and greet gathering for the youth on the late afternoon of Aug. 19. So watch for your e-vite.
(Also, by the way, the Associate Pastor Search Committee has continued its work into the summer. Under Jon Bigelow’s leadership, we’ve finished our church profile, refined our questions and interview approach. We now expect candidate profiles and to start meeting ministers, to discern the person God might send us.)
Second, working hard to fill one position, we unexpectedly find ourselves looking to fill another. Sadly, our Church School Director, Kate Nelson, will soon move on. Kate has accepted a similar position closer to home at a church in Westport, allowing her to spend more time with family. Kate has been a superb and valued leader at FCC. She has put heart and soul into a Church School that has formed the faith of our children. All are sad to see Kate go, but grateful for her splendid ministry. She’ll stay in our employ through Aug. 28, to help organize our transition toward a new Church School Director. We will lift up Kate, her faithful service and her amazing gifts at our last 9 am Summer Service, Sept. 6, Labor Day weekend.
With our new Church School year fast approaching, we quickly launch a search for a new director. We have a job description and posting, soon to be online and ready to share with any FCC member who knows of someone outside the church who lives nearby, is qualified and seeks part-time service. Understand that your referrals through networking are often how churches fill these CE positions. Let the Spirit move through you, your ideas, and your impulses. So if you know of any aspiring candidates to serve as our Church School Director, please reach out to our Christian Education Board Chair, Karen Brennan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we weren’t people of faith, all of this change might shake us. We know change is constant, but so also is God’s presence, showing us the way forward. I invite you to fully face both of these realities, and confidently seize them as opportunity.
God is good; all the time–past, present, and future. Trust God to provide for us.