October 28, 2021
Last week, the Senior Minister Search Committee hosted a candidate from out-of-town. I am pleased to report to you that this visit went remarkably well. The brief time we had together included a driving tour of Paris, a walk-through of our church building, an in-person interview with the Search Committee, an introduction to our office manager, a meet and greet with our Elders and Staff Relations Committee, and a meeting with representatives from the Staff Relations and Stewardship/Finance Committees. To say it was a busy 24 hours would be an understatement. I am very grateful to all who were involved in making such a favorable impression, from the folks who helped make our guest feel welcome to all the people who keep our building looking so great and presentable. He enjoyed visiting with those he met, he loved the facility, and he especially loved seeing the fellowship we share with one another. I think he was very pleasantly surprised by how much at home he felt.
Our Search Committee met this week. We have decided that we are unanimous in our support of this candidate, and we have communicated that to him. Up to this point, we have simply explored this possibility together. Now, it is up to him to decide for sure whether he would like to be officially considered by our board and congregation. The next several weeks will be critical. This minister was introduced to us by a mutual friend in ministry who thought we would be a good fit for one another. He was not in the process of searching for a new church, and he is not interviewing with churches other than ours. He is very happy in his current church but feels that he would like the opportunity to serve a larger, more vibrant congregation like ours. Our candidate will need to consider very earnestly the reality of this decision. He has never lived in the Midwest and until recently had never heard of Paris, Illinois. In addition to all of the logistics, he must face many important conversations with family members and friends and eventually his current congregation. We want to show respect to him and to this process of prayer and discernment. Therefore, we feel it would be imposing and inappropriate to demand that he make a decision prior to our November board meeting which is less than two weeks away. We have instead asked that he reply to us by the end of November. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.
Now is the time to be praying. With lots of trust and prayer, we can have confidence that whatever the outcome, it was God’s will. The holiday season is a difficult time for searching and interviewing those in ministry. If this does not come to pass, our search will resume in January and we will still look forward to a bright future.
We will report to the congregation promptly when a response is received.