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November 2018 Associate Minister's Column by Nathan Ryan

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An open letter to the congregation from your Associate Minister.

A number of you have expressed some confusion about my relationship and intentions with the church in the search for a new Senior Minister. This is understandable. I have been relatively quiet on the topic. I’ve done so because the selection process of a new Senior Minister is the work of a congregation, not the ministers.

I fear this has left some of you confused about my role and my intentions. I hope this letter will offer you some clarity. If you read nothing else (please read further, it gets good, but if you absolutely cannot stand to read beyond two paragraphs, then this is all you need) please know that I love this congregation and want what is best for it.

A good selection process for the Senior Minister is absolutely critical to a successful ministry regardless of the minister selected. This type of thing cannot be rushed. The congregation needs a chance to cast a vision for its future ministry.  

Some of you want me to explicitly express my intent regarding my interest in the Senior Minister position. The simple answer is this: until the Search Committee (which will be elected at the January congregational meeting) releases their profile of a senior minister, I cannot know whether I would be a fit.

I love the job I have now. The minute I say I am interested in the Senior Minister position, I cannot stay as the Associate Minister. As such, it would be foolish for me to say I am interested before the congregation knows what it is looking for.

Only after the search committee has done their work, and if I feel like their profile is a fit for my ministry, can I express my interest in the Senior Minister position. In the meantime my job will continue as it has been. I will dedicate my time to supporting our soon-to-be-selected interim minister.

A successful interim results in: a healthy congregation, a good search process, the space to grieve the loss of Steve, and a successful ministry. Until things change, this will be my focus.

I love this congregation and want what is best for it. Right now, we must wait.

In Faith, Nathan A. Ryan, Associate Minister.