Pastor Jen Says a Couple of Things about Interim Life

Updated: Jan 22



So here we are. Pastor Carol is gone. Interim Pastor Chris Smith will be here soon. And, well, we’re still here. You are here for each other. Your Vestry is here for you. Your Pilgrim staff is here for you. God is here for you. GOD IS WITH US RIGHT NOW in the in between before the in between.

My experiences of interim times in the past have been spirit-filled, honest, positive, and hopeful. It can feel a little awkward sometimes, especially at first, because we’re doing something new. And that is normal and okay. In fact, it might even be good—because we are beginning to sense the opening up of our community to the Holy Spirit in new ways. We are beginning to wonder what God might be calling us to as a Pilgrim community.

It hasn’t been that long since I had the opportunity to live through both sides of an interim at my previous call—including a good pastor leaving, a good interim, and another good pastor arriving. It was rich and brought growth and excitement we might not have experienced otherwise. And my husband Zach is an Interim Pastor for the Presbyterian Church USA. He’s been doing one interim gig after another since we came to the Cities in 2001. Each one is a gift, a new unwrapping of the talents and joys of the congregation. Each one is an opportunity for the congregation to listen to each other and the surrounding community to wonder about the future to which God is inviting them as they serve others.

Sure, it can be awkward for a little bit. But that awkwardness gives way to powerful servant leadership and beautiful ministry shared. In many ways Interim is an exercise in trust—trust in each other and trust in God—trust that God has something wonderful for us. I trust our new Interim Pastor Chris Smith. I trust our staff. I trust our Vestry. I trust you. I trust God.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this. God’s got this. God has beautiful ministry in store for us. Let’s take those first awkward steps together, looking out with wonder to see what is to come.

Pastor Jen

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