Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the process for reaching installation of a new senior pastor?
The process will have several steps:
· On October 14, 2018, the church celebrated Sid’s ministry.
· The TT recruited and submitted for Session approval Dr. Danny Massie as our interim pastor. Dr. Massie began his
work at FPC in December 2018.
· The TT recommend to Session a committee to propose a Pastor Nominating Committee to be elected by the
· The TT established a Mission Study group that, in conjunction with the interim pastor and with input from the
congregation, compiled an in-depth analysis of the church and its goals.
· The PNC will recruit candidates and submit for consideration by the congregation a choice for the new senior
2. How long will the process take?
"Decently and in order" seldom means quick.
· Also remember that in our "day jobs" we are accustomed to a decision-making process that is geared to a 5-day
week, not a once-a-week church-oriented schedule. Things just take longer when church volunteers are involved.
· Finally, this is not an executive search process, to be accomplished by scheduling enough "job interviews." This is a
discernment process of discovering God's call for both FPC and the future senior pastor. It takes the amount of
time that it takes.
· That having been said, we would be hopeful to have an interim pastor in place by November 1, 2018. and a new
senior pastor installed in 2020 or sooner,
3. Why do we need an interim pastor? Can't Re. Neil Dunnavant and Rev. Dolly Jacobs just fill in until the new
senior pastor is installed?
· The associate pastors already have full-time jobs and asking them to take on Sid's responsibilities would spread
· The transition will also be a period of discernment and inward-looking analysis of the FPC mission and the status of
the church, including its strengths and weaknesses. Having fresh eyes involved in that effort will help the church
and the PNC through this period. Rev. Vernon Hunter was an interim pastor during the search that brought Dr. Sid
Batts to our congregation.
4. What role will Salem Presbytery have in this process?
The Presbytery has a critical role established by the Book of Order and its own policies and procedures. It supplies
support and services to FPC, particularly in helping to match candidates with the church. The Transition Team has
already met with representatives of Salem Presbytery, and Larry Hooker will be the Presbytery's liaison with us.
Presbytery recognizes that a church the size of FPC has considerable talent and experience, so it will likely
view its role as one of support rather than one of directing us in this process.
5. What role will Sid have in this process?
· The Transition Team wants to take full advantage of Sid's experience and wisdom in the early stages of this process,
but he will bow out at an appropriate time, so that he, Cathy, and the congregation can concentrate on the
important process of experiencing both the joy and grief of this transition.
· In addition, the longstanding policy of the PC(USA) and Salem Presbytery is that retiring or departing pastors have
no contact with their former congregations after they leave, from not attending worship to not being involved in
weddings or funerals of members of their former congregations for a minimum of two years. This allows both Sid
and the Session to keep members of FPC from feeling torn between old and new pastoral relationships, thereby
avoiding pressures on the retiring pastor, the interim pastor, and the new pastor during the interim period and after
a new pastor is called.
6. What role does the Session have in this process?
Very little, except as members of the congregation. The PNC does its work on behalf of the congregation, not the
Session. The Session approved the Transition Team and will approve the committee that will nominate the PNC.
· After that, Session members will be involved in suggesting candidates or giving feedback to the PNC. They may
serve on the PNC, but only as members of the congregation.
7. Will the Session receive regular reports from the PNC and have opportunity to comment on the process or
No; the PNC does not work for or report to the Session, only to the congregation. Due to confidentiality
requirements, there can be no discussions about the process or the candidates outside the PNC.