I am delighted to report that the Intentional Interim Call Committee has called Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan to serve as ERUCC’s Intentional Interim Minister. This past Monday ERUCC and Pastor Morgan both signed the covenant guiding our collaboration together over the upcoming 18 to 24 months. Pastor Morgan, who lives with his wife in Atlanta and whose home church is First Congregational Church in Atlanta, GA, will start living in Frederick on or near January 1 in order to lead our first Sunday service in January. He also plans to visit Frederick once or twice between now and January to find housing and begin to gain familiarity with Frederick.
The Call Committee reviewed Pastor Morgan’s profile, contacted his references, reviewed sermons he delivered at his current church, and had two Zoom interviews with him, one with just the Call Committee and a second with ERUCC staff. Among his skills, knowledge, and aptitudes, our collective discernment is that Pastor Morgan:
- Has deep experience as an Intentional Interim, having served in this role for seven congregations prior to his call to ERUCC, while prior to that having served as a Settled Pastor, a Chaplain, a Theological School Administrator and Teacher, and in other capacities;
- Uses a rigorous congregational discernment and Settled Pastor call process, and in fact teaches this process to others as part of his ministry to the broader Church;
- Is a very caring person who has deep pastoral skills;
- Is committed to social justice issues, including ERUCC being an Opening and Affirming and Creation Justice Church;
- Understands the operational and fund raising needs that congregations have, and has successfully navigated these roles in prior Intentional Interim and Settled Pastor settings;
- Is a calm and comforting person who can provide feedback and tell truths in a gracious and caring manner;
- Preaches sermons that are based on the Biblical text which help shed new understandings on God’s message to us.
On this, I want to introduce Pastor Morgan’s congregational discernment process at a high level now so that we can begin to comprehend what our coming months of self-reflection will look like. His congregational discernment process document notes:
The story of the significance of the “journey in the wilderness” has been with us since Moses led the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt to their new home, The Promised Land. Present day congregations can reenact this powerful biblical story through the process of intentional interim ministry. This potent time provides the congregation with the same challenges and opportunities which Moses and the Israelites encountered:
- To leave behind any limiting behaviors and attitudes which keep a community looking toward its past and to decide which worthwhile aspects of history, tradition, and practice will be carried into the future.
- To see more effective ways to organize for present ministry; to develop and incorporate new leadership; and to find more inclusive ways of making decisions.
- To take a fresh look at who are the others on the journey with you and how you relate to one another, the neighborhood and community, and other partners in ministry.
- To clarify your identity as the people of God and develop an energetic vision which will call the congregation to better meet the spiritual growth needs of its members to enhance their ministry, in surrounding communities and the world.
Discernment process components include:
- 3 to 4 Months: Settling In, Getting Acquainted, Selecting and Training a Transition Team
- 3 to 4 Months: Focus Point #1 – Heritage
- 3 to 4 Months: Focus Point #2 – Mission
- 3 to 4 Months: Focus Point #3 – Leadership
- 3 to 4 Months: Focus Point #4 – Connection
- 3 to 4 Months: Focus Point #5 – Future
Pastor Morgan will share more details with us when the time is right. My goal is to make sure from the start that we know there is a plan that we will be pursuing in collaboration with Pastor Morgan. I would add that Pastor Morgan told the Call Committee when we discussed this process that the three to four month time period is not a fixed period of time but one conditioned on whether the congregation was willing to do the work required in each of these steps.
In addition to thanking Pastor Morgan for his discernment to serve with us at ERUCC, we owe thanks the Central Atlantic Conference Minister Rev. Freeman Palmer for identifying Pastor Morgan as a potential candidate and to Intentional Interim Call Committee members Ave Barr, Robin Cooney, Darryl Glick, Matt Hueting, Marc Kline, and Eric Weakley for their commitment of time and energy in discerning this Call, with added thanks to Will Duncan and Rodney Martin for participating in discussions about Pastor Morgan’s covenant with ERUCC.
I praise God that the Holy Spirit connected Pastor Morgan and the ERUCC congregation. Our work now begins!
Peter Brehm, ERUCC Consistory President