Search Updates

South Church is currently hiring for the position of Associate Pastor. Below you find more information about the processes as well search updates.

If you have any questions or input, please reach out the search committee chairs.

Upcoming Listening Sessions (click here for calendar)

  • Tues., Sept 21 at 7:00pm: Youth/Family session on Zoom (link below)
  • Thurs., Sept. 23rd at 7:30pm: Music session on Zoom (link below)
  • Sun., Sept. 26th at 8:30am: Faith Forum session
  • Sun., Sept. 26th following worship: In-person

Meeting ID: 869 0223 9089
Passcode: 01810

Previous Listening Sessions

  • Sun., Aug. 8th following worship: On Zoom
  • Thur., Aug. 12th at 7:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 15th at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Thur., Aug. 19th at 7:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 22nd at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Mon., Aug. 23rd at 8:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Aug. 29th at 11:00am: On Zoom
  • Mon., Aug. 30th at 8:00pm: On Zoom
  • Sun., Sept. 5th following worship: In-person
  • Sun., Sept. 12th: Info table at Homecoming
  • Mon., Sept. 13th at 7:00pm: On Zoom for ad-hoc Community Service teams
  • Sun., Sept. 19th following worship: In-person

9/10/21: By the end of November, we want to have completed our “South Church Profile” to paint a picture of who South Church is for potential associate pastor candidates. Check out our colorful poster with the search process steps and add a note in response to “Who are we? Who is our neighbor? Who is God calling us to become?”

9/3/21: The Associate Pastor Search Committee invites you to answer the following questions as we reopen to help shape our church profile for the search. Who are we? Who is our neighbor? Who is God calling us to become?

7/23/21: The Associate Pastor Search Committee was unanimously and enthusiastically approved by vote of the South Church Council. Commissioning of the committee will be part of an upcoming virtual Sunday worship service and again at an in-person service in the fall. The Committee has begun its work and will seek congregational input at several meetings throughout August. Stay tuned! The nine members of the search committee are: Marge Chiafery, Dennis Forgue, Sherri Hallgren, Susan Henke, Katie Holden, Mike Longo, Kath Mason (Co-chair) , Wayne Shaw (Co-chair) and Eric Stubenhaus.

The search process in the UCC is a blend of employment work and spiritual work. We use the word call to reflect that distinct blend of the practical and the sacred. A congregation does not hire a new pastor but calls a pastor, following a careful business-like search that is infused with prayerful attention to God’s direction. Candidates do not seek a new job but enter into an employment process in order to be rooted in new ways within God’s call. For your church and for the candidates, the search and call process is a spiritual journey that trusts God to be an active participant.

Holy Listening

Congregational consultant and seminary professor Craig Satterlee uses the term “holy listening” to describe the kind of listening we do when we seek to discern “the presence and activity of God in the joys, struggles, and hopes of the ordinary activities of congregational life, as well as the uncertainty and opportunity of change and transition.”[i]
This kind of listening is holy because when we engage in it, we are hoping and expecting to encounter God. Leaders and members of a congregation can listen in a holy manner in a variety of places and activities, as Satterlee describes so vividly. He believes holy listening is indispensable, because it builds intimacy in congregations and helps people connect with each other in a way that goes beyond the superficial, resulting in powerful bonds between people.
Satterlee notes that our listening is imperfect, because we are flawed people with our own agendas, but we can try to listen attentively and carefully. He writes:
Holy listening demands vigilance, alertness, openness to others, and the expectation that God will speak through them. Holy listening trusts that the Holy Spirit acts in and through our listening. We discern and discover the wisdom and will of God by listening to one another and to ourselves.
When we engage in holy listening in conversations with people, we expect to meet God in new ways as well. What a gift!

(This post is adapted from Reverend Dr. Lynne Baab’s book, The Power of Listening: Building Skills for Mission and Ministry, and it first appeared on the Gathering Voices blog.
[i]“Holy and Active Listening” by Craig Satterlee, Alban Weekly, No. 98 (June 5, 2006).

Discernment – Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen

“For Henri Nouwen, spiritual discernment is hearing a deeper sound beneath the noise of ordinary life and seeing “through appearances to the interconnectedness of all things, to gain a vision of how things hang together in our lives and in the world. Biblically, discernment is spiritual understanding and experiential knowledge, acquired through disciplined spiritual practice, of how God is active in our lives, which leads to a life worthy of our calling. It is a spiritual gift and practice that “ascertains and affirms the unique way God’s love and direction are manifested in our lives, so that we can know God’s will and fulfill our calling and mission within the mysterious interworkings of God’s love.”

“Henri emphasized that Christian discernment is not the same as decision making. Reaching a decision can be straightforward: we consider our goals and options; maybe we list the pros and cons of each possible choice; and then we choose the action that meets our goal most effectively. Discernment, on the other hand, is about listening and responding to that place within us where our deepest desires align with God’s desire. As discerning people, we sift through our impulses, motives, and options to discover which ones lead us closer to divine love and compassion for ourselves and other people and which ones lead us further away.”

“Henri believed that the Holy Spirit is an inner presence who is the deep center of our new life in Christ, a center from which discernment blossoms. Over time discernment becomes easier as we come to trust the knowing of the Spirit within us, but it always takes discipline to keep our focus. Like a sailor on the high seas, we need to remember our goal and intention, to put our trust in God, and to meditate on the qualities of Spirit that we want to embody. And we need to keep scanning our inner and outer lives to be sure that we are taking everything into account, scanning for signs of the Spirit’s presence, noticing its invitations, and listening for what Henri called “the voice of the beloved.” Discernment is a discipline and practice that requires us to cultivate trust, love, faith, hope, and courage. We cannot see with perfect clarity what lies ahead. And we cannot see the Holy Spirit within us. In fact, we have no tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit has made a home in us. Accepting and daring to put our trust in this possibility is a matter of faith. We cannot control the Spirit: I’ll end this devotion with a quote from John 3:8 – “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but” “you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”