“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
It has been a little over two years since our last full-time pastor of 23 years, Reverend Hunting, announced his retirement in April 2015. This came as a shock to many, who were saddened to hear the news. The Reverend Sue Artt, Rocky Mountain Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ, met with us to talk about what this meant for our congregation. She outlined the next steps and indicated that it would take at least 18 – 24 months for us to find and hire our next settled pastor. Probably no one wanted to believe it would take that long, but it did. Unfortunately, we also lost several members when Rev. Dave left.
We then hired the Reverend Dr. James (Jim) Reid as our interim pastor in November 2015. His main function was to lead the members of this faith community; helping with the healing process while also guiding us in reaffirming our values and beliefs. He was to help us prepare for the new pastor, new faith leadership, and a fresh start. Early in 2016, Rev. Jim formed the Transition Team (Katherine Mosier, Terry Rich, Maribeth Peiniger, and Linda Tripp) whose purpose was to review our history, help us develop who we want to be as a faith community and where we want to go in the future. Working with well-known author, Tom Bandy, and the congregation, they completed two major things: A statement of our church’s Core Values and Bedrock Beliefs, and a Mission Insite demographical study that helped define who our members are and how we compare with the people in the surrounding community. Our Core Values and Beliefs are recorded and placed in the pews in the Sanctuary as a refresh for us all.
The Search Committee was formed in October 2016. It consists of 8 members: Julie Wells, Mary Henson, Terry Rich, Bob Armstrong, Tawnya Winters, Deb Bornholdt, Darold Jones, and Jean Gabardi. Our objective: To find a solid candidate to present to our members as the potential new minister and our spiritual leader. Our first task was to write a “classified ad,” which was posted on the United Church of Christ’s (UCC’s) website in November to be viewed by those UCC ordained pastors looking for employment opportunities.
Next, using information from the Mission Insite report and surveys of the congregation, we created the Local Church Profile – a 32-page document that provides details of the position as well as information about our church: Who we are, who we want to be, and where we want to go. It, too, was posted on UCC’s website in January 2017 and prospective ministerial candidates reviewed this document to determine whether to apply for the position.
In March 2017, the committee began receiving “resumes,” or ministerial profiles. They prayerfully and carefully considered 19 profiles (17 – 20 pages each) and found 4 that seemed to match the church’s ideals for a new pastor. They conducted interviews via Skype since all were out-of-town candidates and watched recordings of sermons provided by the candidates via their church’s websites and YouTube. Of those, two candidates rose to the top and the Reverend Gaye Bosley-Mitchell was one of them.
We conducted two more interviews via Skype and then invited Rev. Gaye and her husband, Rev. Dr. Glenn Bosley-Mitchell, for an in-person visit with just the members of the Search Committee the first weekend in July. Following this visit, we came to a consensus and asked her to come for the Candidate Weekend. And the rest, as they say, is history! Here we are – on the cusp of an exciting new beginning.
Thank you to all for your faith, your prayers, your belief in the Transition and Search Teams while we worked to bring us to this exciting point in the history of our church.
Julie Wells, Search Team Chair