An Update from the Session – August 25, 2022

Dear Friends: 

Since June, when John Willingham shared his plan to retire, all of us have been adjusting to the transition before DPC. 

By announcing his retirement, to occur in the summer of 2023, a year ahead, he has given the congregation the gift of time; time to celebrate his ministry, time to tell him of his impact on our lives, and time to prepare for who will come next as Senior Pastor, Head of Staff at Doylestown Presbyterian Church. Your Session has been unwrapping this gift. 

After prayerful discussion and reflection, the Session has decided upon a Transitional/Interim Pastor to ensure a smooth transition of pastoral care and preaching as John leaves, giving the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) the freedom to search for the Pastor that God is leading to DPC without time constraints, and allowing us to celebrate John’s ministry.

Actions taken to date include:

  • invited Executive Presbyter, Ruth Santana-Grace to our June meeting to explore options for calling a new Pastor, formed a task group to consider those options;
  • in July, the task group reported its findings to Session highlighting the need to maintain DPC’s current mission balanced by an awareness that time is required to discern our future and how it relates to a pastoral search;  
  • Session selected the Interim Pastor option; 
  • this past Monday evening, Mindy Campbell, Presbytery of Philadelphia Commission on Ministry (COM) liaison joined our meeting to answer questions and outline next steps in the Interim Process. 

Moving forward, these steps will include: 

  1. form a Mission Study Task Force to discern, after extensive feedback from the congregation, who we are as a congregation today and our dreams for the future;
  2. upon approval of that Mission Study by the Session and the Presbytery, the congregation will form a PNC; 
  3. in parallel with the foregoing, Session will recruit, interview, invite and ultimately engage an Interim Pastor to serve during any gap of time between John’s retirement and the arrival of a new Senior Pastor. 

This next year is going to be one of transition. It will be a time for all of us to be prayerful for this process, the Session, for our congregation, for our Pastors and staff, and for John and Lori as they too are making a transition. This next year is also going to be a time to celebrate the 20 years of John’s ministry and who we are as the people of God in this place, in this time.  

Please click the video below to hear a personal message. We encourage you to speak to any Session members with your questions, suggestions, and concerns. More detailed information describing our process, Presbytery resources, small group schedules, the Mission Study Task Force, the PNC nominating process and membership will be made available in the coming weeks and months, all in time to encourage your involvement. 

The Session is committed to communicating in a transparent and clear way with the congregation and we value your feedback. In fact, your participation is critical to our success!

On Behalf of Session,

Clerk of Session Doug Barnett