First Congregational Church

Camden, Maine

An open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by the transition process?

The transition process is the series of steps we will take to engage the congregation in preparing to write a Congregational Profile and launch a search committee for a settled pastor. These steps will consist of multiple meetings with members of the congregation in various formats, collecting and organizing information about church life, as well as committee work to be sure we are well organized and ready to launch the search committee. Refer to our Shape of the Discernment Process document for more information about these steps.


Who is on the Transition Team?

The team member names and contact information are available on the bulletin board at church. Their names are also posted here.


What is the purpose of having a Transition Team?

The team serves as the organizing focal point for the entire transition process. There are so many steps that need to be taken it’s important to have many members of the church engaged.


How was the team chosen?

Many team members volunteered but Rev. Jenks along with the Co-Presidents and Cabinet fleshed out the team to be sure it was representative of the entire congregation.


How do we contact team members?

You can simply talk with a team member any time you see them such as after Sunday worship. You can also contact them via email and phone. Their contact information is available on the bulletin board at church. You can also use the form online at the link above. This form allows you to submit a suggestion or comment anonymously as well as optionally providing your contact information.


What do you mean by a discernment process?

The discernment process and the transition process are sometimes used as synonyms. The discernment process, however, is the heart of the transition. Here we engage in small group gatherings, conversations, and congregation-wide meetings to "discern” what the congregation’s energies, passions, and needs are. Formalizing committee policies is important work for the transition process but discerning our energies, passions, and needs is the work that will help guide us in attracting and choosing a settled minister.


How will this process take place?

The Transition Team is launching a series of small, intimate, gatherings in April. Then in May another series of gatherings will take place and in June a congregation-wide meeting will happen where we discuss the initial findings as well as hear from the committees.


What kind of information does the team hope to gather?

The team hopes to uncover consistent, strong themes that represent the energies, passions and needs of the congregation.


How will this information be used?

The goal of this process is to have a strong draft of the Congregational Profile ready for the congregation to review by June 30. Once the congregation is happy with the profile, this will be posted with the UCC and the search committee can be launched.


How will we be kept informed during the discernment process?

The Transition Team will keep the bulletin board and the website up to date with meetings, announcements and results as they are available. Also look in the weekly emails. Periodic announcements will also be made prior to worship on Sundays. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or make suggestions. Contact the team members at any time.


What are some of the questions that you will be asking of the congregation?

  • What brought you to the congregation?
  • What keeps you engaged in church life?
  • What would you like to see in the future?

Also consider:

  • What do you think we can improve on?
  • What do you think are the strengths of our church?
  • What are the weaknesses?

How can each of us become involved?

Please attend one of the small meetings that are going on now and will continue into May.

We will hold church-wide meetings later on in the spring.

The transition team is interested in your thoughts of how to make our church strong and as welcoming as it can be. Tell a member of the team or write your thoughts and give it to a member of the team. Let us know!


When will we be asked to participate?

Right now is a good time. Please attend one of the small meetings and give us your thoughts. Of course, everyone is urged to attend the church-wide meetings, and as we get near the end of the process of both discernment and the search you will meet the candidate and listen to his/her sermon and then vote.


How will we be asked to participate?

Think about the things you love about our church and the things that make it so important to you. Think about the ways that we can improve. Tell a member of the committee or write them down and give your thoughts to us. And remember that prayers are always a good idea.

Any knowledge you have of our history will be very helpful as we write our church profile.

If you would like to be on the Search Committee please tell Greg Worden.


How long a process is this?

The average is 12–18 months. After many conversations with the congregation we will complete a UCC Congregational Profile. We will then solicit candidates who are interested in our church and start the interview process. When we have a promising candidate who is interested in being our minister, we will ask him/her to conduct a service in a neutral church, attended by Search Committee members. One candidate will be then be asked to give a sermon at our church. Following that service the congregation will meet and vote on calling the candidate to our congregation.


What is the anticipated time frame for calling a new minister?

Although Greg is a tough taskmaster and keeps us working hard, right now we anticipate it will take until Spring, 2017. Pastor Deb has promised she will guide us, stick with us and pray for our success.


How does the process of calling a new minister work?

The transition team starts by meeting with members of the church, friends, family and loyal supporters. We want as much input as possible. We want to know what you like, why you come to church and what we can be working on. At the same time we are preparing a church profile. Right now we are working on our history and the ongoing services that our church provides. When we have that work done a search committee will be chosen. They will send out our profile and proposal to candidates and then interview those whom they feel are right for our church and want to be considered. Finally we will ask a candidate to conduct a service and the congregation will vote on the candidate.


Who will be on the Search Committee for the new minister?

The Search Committee has not been chosen yet. Probably some of the Transition team will join the search team for continuity, but there will be other people from our congregation who will be added. If you would like to be on the Search Committee and have the time and interest you should let Greg Worden know.

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