May 20, 2022
Dear Beloved:
 
This Sunday, you get to vote to terminate our employment. Specifically, and less harshly, you will be asked in the formal motion to join in our request “to dissolve the pastoral relationship” effective June 30, 2022. While having a congregational meeting and such a formal resolution to vote on may seem at first puzzling if not bizarre, there are good reasons behind this process, reasons based on some of the most important Presbyterian understandings regarding church leadership and ordained ministry.
 
A foundational belief of Presbyterians is that the people of the congregation get to choose their pastoral leaders.  Our Scottish forbears rebelled against the idea that a ruling bishop or the local nobility could impose a pastor on a congregation. Twenty-eight years ago, when you called us, there was a congregational meeting and the congregation voted to call us as co-pastors. We entered a covenant together then that spelled out the obligations of each side that included our pay and benefits. Each year at First Presbyterian’s annual congregational meeting you have amended that covenant when you voted on our new salary and benefit package. Now, you will vote to dissolve the pastoral relationship.
 
There is always a third party to these covenants – the local Presbytery. While the Presbytery will never impose a pastor on the congregation, it does participate to ensure that congregations and pastors treat each fairly. For that reason, we will not moderate the meeting; instead, there will be a representative from the Commission on Ministry of the Presbytery to moderate the meeting: Rev. Strother Gross. The Commission on Ministry will also serve as a resource to the Session and eventual search committee during this process. This Sunday morning in the Adult Forum at 9:15AM in the Community Room, representatives from the COM will be here to explain the transition process and answer any questions.
 
As we did in 1994, we will sign a covenant with FPC governing what we say and do after we leave here. Specifically, we will agree not to undertake any pastoral functions related to FPC and its members: we will not attend worship, preach, do baptisms, or officiate at funerals or weddings, etc. While we do not have to cut off all contact with members of FPC, we are never to offer counseling, advice, or talk about church matters. FPC, in turn, will agree not to ask us to do any of these things.
 
There is wisdom behind this covenant. Unless we step back, there will not be an opportunity for new pastoral relationships to be forged with our successors. Unless we step back, FPC will not have as strong a candidate pool from which to choose. Certainly, we would have passed over coming here if we thought there was some past pastor lingering around. The fact is we were blessed that all of our predecessors had stepped back so we could be free to build relationships with all of you.
 
In 2023, FPC will celebrate its 175th anniversary. Although we have served a long time here, our ministry represents a very short span it the long history of this community of faith. We truly stand on the shoulders of the generations that have gone before us. We know first-hand that this congregation has been well served by our predecessors. In 1998, we gathered with all of the then living pastors of FPC who could come back for the anniversary. We had a great time together, and one of us remarked that it was too bad we couldn’t have all been here together!
 
We don’t know exactly what the future holds – for FPC or us – after June 5, but we do know this: God who has been “our help in ages past,” will be our “hope for years to come.”
                                                                                                           
Grace and peace,
Carter and Kerry
The Personnel Committee serves as the search committee for the Transitional Pastor and the final hiring decision is made by the Session (as opposed to the installed pastor(s) where the search will be conducted by a search committee voted on by the congregation and where the final decision is made at a congregational meeting). The Transitional job opening has been posted on local Presbytery job sites, and the Committee is also actively networking in the search for the person God is calling to lead us during this transition. As is often the case with congregations going through transitions, we do not expect to have someone in place by the time Kerry and Carter will leave, but we will have temporary stated supply pastors to help us bridge the gap.
RSVP to picnic by 5/22: https://forms.gle/bMp4hEXvqkdvjd1E6

Click link above for details about lunch.
If you have any questions, please contact Parish Nurse, Dawn Skelly, dskelly@fpcpottstown.org
Being the Church This Week

 Sunday, May 22
Sunday School 9:15AM
Service of the Lord’s Day 10:30AM 
Congregational Meeting – after worship
Coffee Hour – after worship
Seekers’ pizza & games at Carter and Kerry’s – 6-7:30PM       

Monday, May 23
HENS – 9AM-1PM
Porter Broward Meeting – 7PM
Cubs/Troop – 7PM  

Tuesday, May 24
Yoga – 8AM – Community Room
Staff Meeting – 10AM
HENS Board Meeting – 7PM
Zoom Bible Study – 7:30PM

Wednesday, May 25
Yoga – 8AM – Community Room
HENS – 9AM-1PM
Peacemaker Assembly at Barth – 9:15AM
Girl Scouts – 5:30PM
Girl Scouts – 6PM
Theology Reading Group via Zoom – 7:30PM

Thursday, May 26
Sisters of the Way Bible Study Brunch – 9:30 AM – Donna Force’s house
HENS Graduation – 11AM - Sanctuary
Girl Scouts – 5PM
Community Meals – 5PM – Fellowship Hall
Chancel Handbells Rehearsal –6:30PM
Chancel Choir Rehearsal – 7:30PM

Friday, May 27
Yoga – 8AM – Community Room
Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.  (James 1:17 CEB) 
 
At FPC Pottstown, we believe that our time, our talents, our earthly treasures are not our own; they are gracious gifts from God. God entrusts them to us, and calls us to use our gifts and our lives to make God's love known in the world.
 
We continue to clothe, feed, educate and uplift one another, and our neighbors in need.  This work requires offerings of time, talent and treasure. Your giving makes that work possible. Thank you!