We are hiring the Hackmans‚Ä¶ again!
Two years ago the Session, after a nationwide search, hired Larry and Megan Hackman as Assistant Pastors for Chapel Hill. They represented all kinds of “firsts” for us: the first graduates from Gordon Conwell Seminary, the first woman pastor on our staff, our first clergy couple and, in fact, the first clergy couple in the entire denomination, so far as we know. They were also our first “Assistant Pastors.”
An Assistant Pastor is called by the Session of the church. They can serve in a pastoral role but, because they are not called by a congregational search committee, they are not voting members of the session. Assistant Pastors are called for a particular period of time. At the end of that time, in this case two years, you may renew their term, allow their term to expire and thank them for their service to the church or you can “promote” them to Associate Pastor.
An Associate Pastor in our denomination is a “called” pastor of the congregation meaning they have been “called” or invited by a congregational search committee. Whereas the Session can hire and dismiss an Assistant Pastor, the Associate Pastor’s relationship is with the congregation which must approve both the call and the dissolution of a call.
Although all of this may seem a little arcane, it is an important moment for the pastors. It confirms that the entire congregation, and not just the elders of the church, believes them to be called as pastors to the congregation. This action must be reviewed and approved by the presbytery.
I am pleased to announce that a congregational committee has reviewed our relationship with Pastors Megan and Larry and recommended to the Session, unanimously, that the congregation extend a call to them as Associate Pastors. The Session concurred unanimously and has called a congregational meeting to be held Sunday, September 28th, immediately after the first service to confirm this call. I ask you to join us for that important moment in their lives and the life of our church. And aren’t you grateful for the gift that the Hackmans have been to Chapel Hill?
P.S. Last night was our first gathering of The Table, our new mid-week worship experience. The Gathering Place was filled with people who got a taste of very rich Christian community: the Lord’s Supper, singing, prayer, digging into scriptures together. I loved the leisure of shaking every hand after worship and lingering to talk more about what the Holy Spirit had just done among us. And it was amazing, the number of people who had not been able to come to Sunday but now had another option. I think we are on to something… and I hope you will join us next Wednesday!