Interim Minister and Settled Pastor Search: What happens next?
On October 15th, Rev Rebecca shared the news with us that she will be transitioning out of the UCC Little Compton and accepted a call to serve as Senior Minister at Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord, MA. On January 7th she ended her ministry with us. This page serves as an informational update on the transition process and if you have any questions, please reach out to the Church Office.
Meet our Interim Minister: Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Donna is married to Warren Goldstein, a writer and professor of American History, who now writes speeches for the American Federation of Teachers. Their three “grown” children have six grandchildren, three Jewish, one African-American, the youngest two Mexican-American. They live variously in Northampton, Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas.
Her interim training was through the Alban Institute, where she also specialized in conflict resolution. She teaches leadership at several seminaries, most recently at Hartford, an interfaith seminary in Connecticut.
Donna Schaper (she/her/hers). is a retired UCC minister who has served in 7 settled UCC and American Baptist settings and four multi-denominational bridge settings. She was ordained in Tucson in 1973, then worked in Philadelphia, at Yale, in Amherst, then Chicago, then back to Amherst to work as Area Minister in Western Massachusetts. That was followed by Miami and then New York City. She was for 15 years the pastor at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village.
Since retiring from settled ministry, she has been a bridge pastor, briefly, in Orient, New York, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, Tiverton, Rhode Island and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico.
She is one of the original and continuing writers for the UCC Daily Devotional, which “The God is Still Speaking Writer’s Group” produces, together, daily. She was one of the founders of the Open and Affirming movement and the God Is Still Speaking Movement in the UCC. She has written 39 books, mostly in a series of “practical spiritual guides” for Rowman-Littlefield. Her most recent book is about bricks and their mortals and is titled REMOVETHEPEWS. She sometimes writes under the pen names The Dolly Mama and City Mouse Country Mouse.
Donna is thrilled to be joining the United Church in Little Compton! If you'd like to meet with her, please contact the Church Office.
Finding an Interim Minister (Complete!)
- We’ve received several applications for the job of interim minister* and have interviewed all candidates at least once. We selected Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper for the position.
- The Deacons are tasked in our by-laws with finding an Interim Minister. Deacons will work closely with our Associate Conference Minister, the Rev. Patty Kogut, to review profiles, interview, and select an Interim Minister.
- We appreciated all the guest ministers and congregation members who led worship in January & February.
- We’ve had interest in the Search Committee for a settled pastor. The Chairs of Deacons & Trustees select this group, and they plan to finalize this committee after the Annual Meeting and new lay leadership is in place. If you are interested in joining the Search Committee, please get in touch with Mary Suttell.
- *An Interim Minister is someone trained to guide congregations through periods of transition between settled ministers.
The Interim Period
- The Interim period lasts, on average, about 18 months, but could be less. The Interim Minister provides continuity in leadership, worship, pastoral care, and staff oversight.
- The Interim Minister also helps prepare the congregation for their search for a Settled Minister. They will work closely with the Deacons and Trustees to guide the congregation in a self-study and community learning process to identify the church’s imagination for the future and their corresponding pastoral needs.
- Note that the Interim Minister will not be a candidate for the “settled” position.
The Search for a Settled Minister
- Once the Interim Minister is in place and has begun the process of self-study with the congregation, it is time to put together a Search Committee.
- In accordance with our by-laws, the Chairs of the Deacons and Trustees will select a search committee.
- The Search Committee will be commissioned during a Sunday worship.
- Once convened, the Search Committee will select its own Chair.
- The Search Committee will take the data from the self-study and the congregational survey and use it to make a Church Profile.
- Our conference office will advertise our Church Profile and the open position to UCC clergy across the country.
- Our search committee will read ministerial profiles, screen candidates, conduct interviews, check references, and eventually select a candidate who will be recommended to the entire congregation for a vote.
The goal is for the congregation to elect, in a unified way, a new pastor whose gifts God can use with us and among us for the sake of God's work in the world. Please keep the church and the leadership in your prayers as we begin a new chapter. We are confident that God will continue to bless our church and guide us to find excellent new pastoral leadership. If you have questions about the transition or the process, you can reach out to the Church Office.