Author Archive for Daniel DeBlock

SUMMARY – IMA Survey Winter 2019

SUMMARY – IMA Survey Winter 2019

31 Reponses As of December 26, 2019

This is a brief summary of responses to the IMA Survey of ELCA Intentional Interim Ministers conducted in the Winter newsletter of 2019. To see all responses, scroll down.

 

  • What are the most important issues facing ELCA Interim Ministers?

  • With the influx of new bishops, it is important to educate synod staff members about the philosophy of INTENTIONAL interim ministry and the importance of training – and even the idea of supporting those non-retired pastors for whom this IS their ministry calling.
  • A common definition of terms across the synods.
  • Consistency across the ELCA Synods in the following areas: what Interim Ministry is, and isn’t; 2. process for appointments; 3. compensation for “in between” assignments.
    • There is no consistency between and among synods/bishops of our role.
  • The great need for Intentional Interims and the great shortage of Intentional Interims in various synods. The failure of bishops/synod staffs to understand the specifics of Intentional Interim ministry. Synods may require pastors to receive Intentional Interim Ministry training, yet bishops/synod staff do not know much about the content of the training and thus, through their practices, contradict what a trained interim does and/or allows other pastors to serve as interims without training.
  • It seems that Synod Staff continues to treat all Interim ministers (those with training and those without) as though they are serving as place-holders. The message given to Interims appears to be don’t “stir things up” when trying to address unhealthy behaviors that contribute to unhappiness between pastors and congregations.
    • Support and standards.

In addition:

  • Inability to afford full-time pastor & the need for many interims to have full-time jobs.
  • The increasing number of ELCA congregations who are struggling financially and unable to pay for a full-time intentional interim pastor.
  • The shortage of ELCA pastors so that in many synods an interim situation may be lengthened simply for lack of any suitable candidates.
    • A significant number of interim positions are in places where there needs to be serious discussion about legacy and closure. More training is needed in this area. The United Church of Christ is miles ahead of the ELCA in this regard. (The material I’ve utilized has been extremely helpful.)
    • How to get the ELCA to keep us on the Roster as long as we are Interims.
  • Current thinking seems to be that shorter “transitional ministry” times are better than intentional interim ministry.

 

 

  • Do you favor holding the IMA Annual Membership Meeting at:

9 The Annual LuTMA (formerly NALIP} conference

6 The Annual IMN Conference

2 At both conferences

7 At neither conference

7 NO RESPONSE

 

  • Are you willing to consider involvement with IMA as a board member or a committee member?

4 Select All

5 IMA Board

1 Membership Committee

5 Publicity Committee

19 NO RESPONSE

 

  • Would you utilize the opportunity to connect with other pastors practicing Intentional Interim Ministry?

25 Yes

6 No

 

  • Would you utilize the opportunity to connect with other pastors practicing Intentional Interim Ministry? If you answered Yes:

11 Select All

7 Through geographic proximity

5 Through social media platforms, such as a closed Facebook page

6 Through conference call or video conference (e.g., Zoom) formats

1 Other: (Please describe below)

2 NO RESPONSE

 

__________________________________________________________

 

IMA Survey Winter 2019

As of December 26, 2019

31 Responses

 

  • Do you favor holding the IMA Annual Membership Meeting at:

9 The Annual LuTMA (formerly NALIP} conference

6 The Annual IMN Conference

2 At both conferences

7 At neither conference

7 NO RESPONSE

 

  • What are the most important issues facing ELCA Interim Ministers?
  • As someone who has received interim ministry training but has not been asked to serve (despite identifying myself as a potential interim), the greatest challenge for me has been learning how to enter the interim ministry network.
  • Consistency across the ELCA Synods in the following areas: what Interim Ministry is, and isn’t, 2. process for appointments;  3. compensation for “in between” assignments.
  • A sufficient number available to serve in our area (North Iowa.)
  • The great need for Intentional Interims and the great shortage of Intentional Interims in various synods.
    The failure of bishops/synod staffs to understand the specifics of Intentional Interim ministry. Synods may require pastors to received Intentional Interim Ministry training, yet bishops/synod staff do not know much about the content of the training and thus, through their practices, contradict was a trained interim does and/or allows other pastors to serve as interims without training.
  • Dealing with conflicted congregations and uncooperative members.
  • Support and standards.
  • Training of synodical leadership to use effectively; cost effective training; more detailed compensation details for varied models and time commitments
  • Inability to afford full-time pastor & the need for many to have full-time jobs; congregations who are not open to calling clergy who are not white cis males; internal conflict unresolved.
  • Develop conflict resolution skills and teaching good conflict management to church leaders.
  • With the influx of new bishops, it is important to educate synod staff members about the philosophy of INTENTIONAL interim ministry and the importance of training – and even the idea of supporting those non-retired pastors for whom this IS their ministry calling.
  • I don’t believe that it is valued by bishops and staffs

 

 

  • Dealing helpfully with congregations in pain/conflict/turmoil that do not want to put in the hard work of transformation.
    2. Helping the “former” pastor to stay out of the church activities/services/needs
    3. Negotiating a just salary when some perceive us as “almost a real pastor”
    4. Forging a solid team out of divergent church leaders, some apposing one another.
    5. Helping church/leaders to face reality when their congregation is going to closure.
    6. Encouraging generosity in touch economic times.
    7. Getting congregants focus/obsession off of “more members and more money.”
    8. Detecting when we are trying to push rope.
    9. How to step aside when necessary and let churches make their own mistakes.
    10. How to get the ELCA to keep us on the Roster as long as we are Interims.
    11. Convincing folks that Interims are worth it, and know what they are doing.
    12. Understanding young people when our average age is close or above retirement.

 

  • Current thinking seems to be that shorter “transitional ministry” times are better than intentional interim ministry.
  • It seems that Synod Staff continues to treat all Interim ministers (those with training and those without) as though they are serving as place-holders. The message given to Interims appears to be don’t “stir things up” when trying to address unhealthy behaviors that contribute to unhappiness between pastors and congregations.
  • Having enough ministers trained to fill all the spots which are going to need them in the coming months.
  • The increasing number of ELCA congregations who are struggling financially and unable to pay for a full-time intentional interim pastor.
  • The shortage of ELCA pastors so that in many synods an interim situation may be lengthened simply for lack of any suitable candidates.
  • Many Interim Pastors do not have the financial cushion (savings) I have, and they struggle with “gaps” between service and how to pay for health insurance and living expenses. This can affect their performance in ministry and their well-being during gaps. Some Synods are hesitant to have many trained intentional interims because of wanting to avoid an over-supply of intentional interims and the resulting length and frequency of gaps.
  • Congregations do not understand reason or need for interim ministry. There needs to be better preparation of congregations for the work of the interim period. Congregations see interim pastors as useful for “filling time” and “saving money”.
  1. Our synod is not utilizing its own trained interim ministers, but largely utilizes interim pastors from other denominations. Most interim positions by ELCA clergy are filled with retired pastors. The training is losing credibility among ELCA clergy in our synod for this reason.
  2. A significant number of interim positions are in places where there needs to be serious discussion about legacy and closure. More training is needed in this area. The United Church of Christ is miles ahead of the ELCA in this regard. (The material I’ve utilized has been extremely helpful.)
  • Having goals clearly defined by both the interim pastor and the congregation.

Continual training to anticipate and respond to concerns of congregations in their relationship to the interim pastor.

Continuing ed for interims.

  • We’re at yet another reformation point in the church and Interim Ministers need to be ready to help congregations navigate some turbulent and uncharted waters as we learn what is essential for the fulfilling of our ministry in the gospel and what can be jettisoned, regardless of how beloved it may once have been. ALL pastors need to be working on this, but Interim ministers and Intentional Interim pastors are in a unique position to bring some experience to bear in a non-threatening way because churches can no longer ignore the writing on the wall. Our Lord calls us into ministry in the realities of this changing culture and this is first-order work.
  • Supporting and connecting recognized and validated transitional ministry to the needs of the church.
  • A common definition of terms across the synods.
  • In our synod, fulltime ministry is becoming more rare. So this presents a financial issue for Interims.
  • We are undervalued and misunderstood (and even abused) by Synod and Churchwide personnel. There is not consistence between and among synods/bishops of our role.
    • Could annual LuTMA meetings be done by ZOOM or a similar platform and/or elections held by electronic mail using something like mailchimp? Holding an official voting meeting at one conference penalizes those who attend the other. If someone attends both, does he/she vote once or twice? Holding a digital meeting would be a way to involve members regardless of which conference they attend. Face to face meetings could be done periodically, say, every 2-3 years to hold discussions at the meetings and then vote electronically later to avoid conflicted votes. The meetings could be for discussion and the Board could develop the election questions for changes to By-Laws and elections of Board members. A key issue for you will be to identify dues-paying members to validate the voting. Membership is a key problem for small organizations to maintain clear records of payment status to ensure valid votes. Maybe people who want to attend the meeting will pay the dues to ensure they can speak at the meetings and vote. Regardless of when, where and how you hold official meetings the denominations gatherings at both conferences is valuable.

 

 

  • Are you willing to consider involvement with IMA as a board member or a committee member?

4 Select All

5 IMA Board

1 Membership Committee

5 Publicity Committee

19 NO RESPONSE

 

  • Would you utilize the opportunity to connect with other pastors practicing Intentional Interim Ministry?

25 Yes

6 No

 

  • Would you utilize the opportunity to connect with other pastors practicing Intentional Interim Ministry? If you answered Yes:

11 Select All

7 Through geographic proximity

5 Through social media platforms, such as a closed Facebook page

6 Through conference call or video conference (e.g., Zoom) formats

1 Other: (Please describe below)

I believe it is possible to assemble information that other interim pastors have found useful in one place, such as the IMA-ELCA website, so that the information is searchable. For example, the ELCA Interim Pastor Facebook page has discussed many specific situations. If a particular discussion is found to be helpful by other interim pastors, the information can be stored (WITHOUT NAMES!) on a website such as the IMA-ELCA one. We can encourage all interim pastors to contribute thoughts or articles of interest.

2 NO RESPONSE

 

Other opportunities to connect with other pastors practicing Intentional Interim Ministry.

 

  • Our synod has an interim support group but many do not attend it as it would mean an
  • additional colleague group.
  • Directly contacting colleagues myself.
  • I am now retired, but continue to support intentional interim ministry.
  • Gathering at our annual Synod Assemblies, but not just to say “Hi” and how have you been. But to gather in special workshops/seminars geared especially for Interim work. And not just one token event at an Assembly, but five of six, all with different themes
  • Perhaps a lunchtime meeting of Intentional Interims quarterly to refresh skills in guiding leadership during the “in-between” residential pastorates.
  • Within Lower Susquehanna Synod or within 50 miles of Carlisle, PA
  • I have been a regular participant in most of the IMN’s webinar classes. They have been done well and have provided an opportunity to network with other clergy to process the work of intentional interim ministry.

 

Additional Comments

 

I am retired and no longer doing interims.

Although I have served 20 interims (as well as three regular calls) I have never taken formal training. I am sure I would benefit from participation but have not thought the cost (as a non-member) productive. This is likely my last interim (though I thought my previous interim would be my last. My present interim is shared with a colleague and has been well-received by the congregation according to reports from non-members. We learn from each other and set specific areas of responsibility, I am leading confirmation, we alternate preaching/liturgy, and my partner has worked with committees on constitutional issues as well as other committees. We are unaware of others who have served in this way and it would be interesting to hear about them.

 

I am not currently doing intentional interim ministry, but am thinking about doing so as I approach retirement.

 

I am actually in a call, but maybe looking at interim in the future. I did do the interim training through NALIP and two years ago IMN training: THE WORK OF THE LEADER AND THE WORK OF THE CONGREGATION.

 

At the present time I am not serving a congregation due to continued monitoring of leukemia. It is my hope to be able to serve in some way in the future. I have been in conversation with my bishop about ways to improve a connection among the interim pastors in our synod. It is my hope that this gets done even if by someone other than me.

 

My synod has regular interim minister meetings which I attend. That suffices for me. Thanks.

 

There is a continuing need to work at developing congregations’ understanding of discerning mission in the congregation’s locale.

 

Even though I am now retired, I’m will to be involved in certain types of activities to help intentional interim ministry.

 

My congregation will be closing sometime between May 1st – August 31st 2020. I am on retirement status but am not of retirement age, and am anticipating immersing myself more in interim ministry.

 

Not to be too harsh, but if this survey is based on what’s considered to be the most pressing needs facing LuTMA, IMN, and IMA-ELCA — where to have membership meetings, serving on boards and committees, and how to stay in touch — then I’m not sure even this brief reply is going to be a wise use of my time. Like so much of our church these days, this seems to be rearranging deck chairs in a time where decisive ministry needs to take place, but I’ll continue to pay attention to the orgs noted above because this COULD be a valuable resource. Just my plugged nickel.

 

I am no longer doing Interim Ministry. You can leave my name on the mailing list. I do occasionally find items of interest to read. Thanks!

Interim Work in a Global Pandemic

Interim Work in a Global Pandemic

Pastor Sherman Bishop, IMA-ELCA Board Member

Intentional Interim Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church of Vermilion Ohio

You are familiar with the tasks of Intentional Interim Ministry, familiar because you live them day by day. Like the “Stages of Grief” those tasks are not so much a set of items to be checked off a list when completed, but the description of a journey.  They are the signposts we hope to pass while we journey with a congregation, but no two faith communities will have a matching route for each must walk at its own pace through its own terrain.

Now all of us are experiencing a major detour in that journey.  There seems to be nothing like a Global Pandemic to throw one off course.  How many of you have said in the last weeks of March, “There was nothing in my seminary curriculum or my Interim Ministry training on how to deal with this!”?  I imagine the tasks of the Interim Ministry process have slipped down your “to do” list to make room for those skills needed to pastor a church that cannot gather, to connect with a church whose members you cannot visit while working with leaders who cannot meet together all the while trying to figure out how to provide meaningful worship moments, services, sermons on platforms you may have never used for that purpose.  And let’s not forget about the issue of finances, and how to keep the congregation’s fiscal health at a level that it can pick up and move forward once the worst of this pandemic is behind us.

Let me offer, or perhaps at this point merely reinforce for you some things that are becoming part of a “best practices for ministry during a pandemic” list.  By the time you read this newsletter, you may have items of your own to add.  As we are all “learning to fly this plane while we’re building it”, I encourage you to improve this list through your own experience.

Best Practices for Ministry during a Pandemic

  1. Do what’s important right now, and it isn’t everything. The learning curve on how to be a virtual pastor is steep for many of us. If that’s what you need to do now, give yourself permission, even if other things slip.  Every week reflects on what is now “most important”, for it will change as we go through this.
  2. Transform Pastoral Care to Congregational Care. You are most likely a pastor because you care about people. All of the members of our congregations need some caring touch right now, but you can’t provide it (see item 1 above). Let the church be the church, and encourage members to reach out to everyone they can think of.  Also, recruit someone to organize the task in your place to keep regular contact with those most in need.  We asked our Stephen Ministry leaders to do that, and they have organized people (Stephen Ministers and others) to daily make calls or if someone cannot benefit from a call to weekly send cards (i.e. homebound members with dementia).  “Congregational Care” allows you to focus on other critical tasks.
  3. Don’t make the mistake of trying to ‘go it alone’, imitate, or just plain steal good ideas from your colleagues. Locally, this is a time to build on the collegial relationships you have. Do tasks together to spread out the workload and expand the benefits. For example, several pastors in the county in which I serve have each taken a day to write a daily devotional. It is then shared with all of the churches involved so that a “daily word” comes to each member’s email box. Locally with two ecumenical partners, we have covenanted with one another to be on-call if one of us is the one diagnosed with COVID-19.   In the past I only occasionally glanced at “clergy Facebook pages”, to read a thread that interests me or ask for some ideas from others.  I am now finding them to be a good source of ideas and a good place to test out ideas.  Many of us are designing the same wheel, and it’s refreshing how many are better designers than me.  Of course, there are those who seem to be stuck wanting to argue about items that are adiaphora.  Feel free to ignore them, but don’t forget to pray for them.
  4. If you are working from home, use the power of routine. Build a schedule for your week to keep you focused. Years ago a very effective pastor shared with me a few things he lived by. One was, “he (or she) who plans, wins”.  That is very important for a moment like this.  It is so easy to just allow the latest headline to pull us toward despair, or distract us from our task.  If you are working from home I am guessing that you have more than enough to do to keep your days full.  I am serving in a part-time interim (75% of FTE), but find myself now working full time. That’s because this moment demands that.  I have filled my week with needed tasks that enable me to 1) engage with the congregation and 2) keep in mind what I need to do in order to allow enough time for our church secretary to do what she needs to do without getting stressed out.  To make that happen I have a daily list of must-do tasks (see item 1 above) and keeping them enables me to get everything finished in a timely way. “Plan your work, then work your plan”.
  5. Love your neighbor as yourself – just don’t forget about loving yourself. Much of what I’ve already said falls into the category of “loving your neighbor”. You need also to be aware of the need to love yourself.  Interim work, because it normally involves helping a congregation consider needed change, exists with tension in the air. In that midst, we seek to be a non-anxious presence. To maintain that emotional balance you must allow your own spirit to be fed.  Daily devotions, prayer (I’m thinking contemplative more than intercessory), and the intentional nurture of your soul are essential.  I suggest that it is a daily #1 (see above) as you pastor through the chaos this pandemic can stir up. For me, music and good sound preaching attend to those tasks, and once more the internet is a valuable tool to fill my daily plate with good spiritual food.
  6. Linked with that is Remember the Sabbath, keep it holy, and TAKE IT! My full-time work schedule keeps me busy 51/2 to 6 days a week.  My wife, who is the CEO of a non-profit is also working from home, and her days too are filled with meetings and tough decisions. We have both found a “day off” to be necessary and so for the first time in our married life, we are able to take the same day off on a regular basis.  Taking that day of rest goes a long way toward the refreshment of my spirit.  Take that day for yourself so that you can give yourself to the important tasks of ministry.
  7. Finally, not to be least, but to be the last thing you are thinking about You are a minister of the Word. Trust in the power of the Word to work through you to bring comfort, hope, and assurance of grace. You are necessary to the people of God in your community at this moment. Your vocation calls you out in unprecedented ways at this moment. Luther said that when the wolf threatens the flock, that is when the shepherd is needed, to step forward and defend against the threat.  Thank you for what you are doing to make the promise of all God has done for us in Christ be known in new, powerful, and comforting ways to the people God loves in the community you serve.

2020 Annual Conference of LuTMA

2020 Annual Conference of LuTMA

(formerly NALIP)

June 23 – 25, 2020 Denver, Colorado

By Rev. Lois Van Orden

The 2020 Annual Conference of the Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA) will be held in Denver CO on June 23-25. LuTMA was formerly known as NALIP, the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors. The Denver conference will begin at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, June 23, and conclude by noon on Thursday, June 25, 2020.

LuTMA is the newly formed association that has transitioned from the two primary Lutheran church bodies: The Interim Ministry Association of the ELCA (IMA- ELCA) and the Interim Ministry Conference of the LCMS (IMC-LCMS), to support and renew Lutheran congregations, school, camps, and other institutions in transition.

The Conference Planning Committee and LuTMA Transitional Leadership are excited about engaging a dynamic keynote speaker, the Rev. Dr. Reggie McNeal. Reggie, as he prefers to be called, enjoys helping people, leaders, and Christian organizations determine and experience epic wins with Kingdom impact. He currently serves as City Coach for GoodCities of Minneapolis MN.

As City Coach Reggie works with community leaders around the country to build cross-domain collaborative efforts that can move the needle on big societal issues. He provides coaching and consultation for individuals and teams in becoming more missional-focused and Kingdom-biased in their ministry approaches. Reggie has helped to shape the church leadership conversation through his extensive speaking schedule and work as an author.

Attendees are encouraged to read two of his books in preparation for the conference:

Kingdom Come: Why We Must Quit Our Obsession Over Fixing the Church and What We Should Do Instead (Tyndale, 2015) challenges the church to shift its narrative from a church-centric to a kingdom-centric ministry agenda.

The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church (Jossey-Bass, 2003)

All pastors, those serving interim and permanent calls, are encouraged to register for the conference. Go to the LuTMA website (www.lutma.org) to learn more about the conference, to benefit from early registration, and to book with the hotel (link at the bottom of the “Additional Information” page).

We look forward to seeing you in Denver and engaging in a challenging learning experience with Reggie McNeal. Questions may be directed to the LuTMA Executive Director, the Rev. Lois Van Orden, at 717-579-1875 or by email, [email protected].

LuTMA Training Event

LuTMA Training Events

 

Northeast Ohio Synod – Stow, OH

Registration is open.

Contact The Rev. Karl Biermann, Assistant to the Bishop of the Northeast Ohio Synod

(330) 929-9022, ext 31

[email protected]

  • Phase I — November 9-13, 2020
  • Phase III — Rescheduled date to be announced

Open Enrollment – Minnesota

Registration is open. Click here.

Link to use: https://faithlead.luthersem.edu/class-catalog/intentional-interim-ministry-phase1/

  • Phase 1 – October 12-16, 2020 (Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN)
  • Phase III — April 26-30, 2021 (Mt. Olivet Retreat Center, Farmington, MN)

Concordia Seminary – St. Louis, MO

Registration is open.

  • Phase I — October 19-23, 2020
  • Phase III — April 12-16, 2021

PSD/Pacifica Synod – Irvine & Santa Ana, CA

Registration is open.

  • Phase I — September 21-25, 2020
  • Phase III — April 19-23, 2021

New LuTMA Executive Director

LuTMA Training Event

Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association (LuTMA)
(formerly NALIP)

LuTMA Training Event

California-Nevada-Hawaii District – LCMS, Livermore, CA

Phase I – Feb. 3-7, 2020
Phase III – August 17-21, 2020

Information and registration can be found on 
www.nalip.net
  
We have online registration for this class
You may pay via PayPal or mail a check.

Attendees will be staying at:
 Hampton Inn Livermore
2850 Constitution Drive
Livermore, CA  94551
Phone:  925-606-6400

Use code LMA when making reservations.
Website link to make reservations:  www.staylivermore.com

Costs:  
Single occupancy, Mon-Wed:  $159; Thurs-Sun: $139 + taxes & fees
Double occupancy, Mon-Wed: $169; Thurs-Sun: $149 + taxes & fees

Complimentary hot breakfast.
48-hour cancellation policy.

Reservation Cut-Off:  Thursday, January 30, 2020

Executive Director Search

Executive Director Job Description

Executive Director Application

 

Photos from the NALIP Conference 2019

2019 NALIP Conference Attendees Celebrate 25th Anniversary

 

 

 

 

Pete Alexander (IMC-LCMS) and Dick Mathisen (IMA-ELCA) cut the 25th Anniversary Cake at the NALIP 2019 Annual Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interim Ministry “Alphabet Soup”

Interim Ministry “Alphabet Soup”

Most training for Lutheran intentional interim pastors is provided by two organizations, the Interim Ministry Network (IMN) and the National Association of Lutheran Interim Pastors (NALIP). Both groups run training classes for interim pastors and hold an annual conference.

IMN is the larger group. It runs about 12 training courses a year, consisting of a 3-day course, “The Work of the Leader” and a 5-day course, “The Work of the Congregation”, with practical experience in-between. It is ecumenical and inter-faith, with members from Christian denominations as well as Jewish rabbis and Unitarian Universalists.

NALIP serves primarily Lutheran pastors from the ELCA and Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, although it is open to other persons. NALIP runs about 4 training classes each year, consisting of two 5-day courses with practical experience in-between. Both the LCMS and the ELCA have an association of interim pastors. IMA is the Interim Ministry Association of the ELCA. IMC is the Interim Ministry Conference of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. NALIP has been, a joint activity of IMA and IMC, with a 4-member board composed of 2 members from IMA and 2 from IMC, but is in the process of re-structuring as LuTMA (Lutheran Transitional Ministry Association).

2019 NALIP Conference Reflections

2019 NALIP Conference Reflections

By Lois Van Orden, Chair, NALIP Conference Planning Committee

The 2019 NALIP Conference was held at the Maritime Conference Center in Baltimore, Maryland June 18-20. Overall, the evaluations reflected a positive reception of the conference site and the workshop format with the NALIP educators presenting the topics. Additionally, offering two workshops at the same time and repeating the topics was a well-received venue for encouraging greater participation.

We give thanks for the educators who presented the following workshop topics: Peter Alexander: “Contracting, Covenants and Pre-entry Practices” and “The Big Transition: Discovering a Missional Mindset for a Post-Christian Church”; Beth Marie Halvorsen: “Using ‘Centered Flexibility’ in Crisis or Major Transitions”; Rev. Martin E. (Schroeder) Lee: “Organizational Learning and the Intentional Interim Pastor (Theory)” and “Cultivating Learning during the IIM Assignment” (Practicum); and Timm Griffin:   “FOC-US”

We appreciate Fred Poeppel who once again served as MC – with humor and as an efficient time-keeper, and for the chaplaincy leadership of Susan Williamson who offered humorous devotions based on the wit of Martin Luther. We express gratitude for the Rev. Dr. John Denninger, LCMS Southeastern District President who became the solo judicatory guest because of a very last-minute family emergency for ELCA Bishop of the Delaware Maryland Synod, Bill (William) Gohl.

Plans are already underway for the 2020 Conference to be held June 23-25 in a western U.S. location (Denver? San Diego? Other possibilities?). Excellent suggestions were offered by the conference participants for a keynote speaker. The Conference Planning Committee is engaged in contacts to determine availability, etc.

The Conference Planning Committee was presented with unique challenges this year with the unexpected illness of Executive Director Ken Ruppar. We greatly missed his expertise but thanks to his excellent leadership for past conferences, the committee regrouped, delegated tasks, and offered a well-received conference for the NALIP members. We thank the committee members: Lois Van Orden, Chair, Tom Schoech, Fred Poeppel, and Martin Haeger; and Acting Executive Director Sherrie Hofmann. We also a welcome new committee member Orinda Hawkins-Brinkley who volunteered to serve at the 2019 conference.

We look forward to the 2020 Conference and trust that all of you who could not attend the 2019 Conference, will save the date (June 23-25) for next year.