by Reverend Bob LaVallee
Hello Folks – Congratulations on getting through the holidays! We survived! Now to enjoy/endure the winter.
I want to share with you a fairly detailed update on my status as your interim minister. You may already know that I’m in “search” for a long-term congregation. The search season began in earnest on January 2. I released my ministerial record to nine congregations and began the process of video interviews while I was on vacation. (It’s kind of like Tinder for churches and ministers.) To my tremendous surprise, the response has been more positive than I expected. I withdrew from two congregations that I realized didn’t interest me, interviewed with seven, and received three invitations to pre-candidate. “Pre-candidate” means that I fly out to a congregation for the weekend, spending that time meeting with the search committee, getting to know the area, and finally, preaching at a nearby church.
I’ll be making four pre-candidating trips total: February 7-10, February 21-24, March 7-10, and March 22-24. Based on those trips, I hope to arrive at a final choice. If the feeling of the congregation is mutual, I’ll return to the congregation in late April for a candidating week. During that week I meet with the congregation (it’s like a 96 hour potluck!) and then preach at that church on Sunday. The congregation then holds a vote about whether to call me. It’s very dramatic!
The rules of search require that I keep the identities of the congregations I’m looking at confidential. I hope to be able to confirm if I’m leaving or staying an additional year at South Valley by the end of April. Anything could happen but the Board will move forward with planning a search for a one-year interim regardless.
Talk about mixed feelings! I love the people of this church and their common work in creating a community of care and growth. It’s really hard for me to think about leaving. And yet the rules of interim ministry require that I stay for two years at the longest. I‘ll keep you posted as things progress. In the meantime, we still have lots of time together to learn and love.
And in that spirit, remember that I’m here if you need me for support. If you’re carrying a burden, I’d like to walk with you. Call 801-327-2241 to set up a visit. And I’m happy to meet you near your workplace if that makes it easier. You don’t have to go it alone.