United Church of Christ New York Metropolitan Association
      Interim Ministry Liturgy


A Service of Promise
An Interim Minister, a Congregation and the Metropolitan Association

Association Representative:
Friends in faith, I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, the head of the church, who is not without witnesses in any age.   I greet you as well on behalf of all the congregations of the Metropolitan Association, of which you are one in God's love, the church's service and the faith we share. Our Association without you, would not be complete.   Grace to you and peace from God, who is and who was and who is to come.

Sisters and brothers, let us responsively remember these words from the Apostle Paul:

I want you to know the truth about gifts from the Holy Spirit.
There are varieties of gifts,

But the same Spirit gives them.
There are varieties of service.

But the same Lord whom we serve.
There are varieties of working,

But it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Association Representative:
Beloved, you have asked the Rev. {pastor's name} to serve among you as Interim Minister. He/She will pray for and with you, teach you and learn from you, offer you pastoral guidance as together you do the work of ministry in Christ's church.

The gifts of interim ministry to a local congregation are as different as each congregation going through transition. As well as the ongoing need of the congregation for pastoral leadership, a change of pastors presents your church with a unique opportunity:

--to reflect on your past ministry (where God has led you),

--to assess your   mission (what God wants from you now),

--to consider your strengths and weaknesses (how God has blessed you),

--to open your church to new directions (where God is leading you), and

--to search for a new pastor in cooperation with the association and conference (who God is calling to be your next pastor).

Attending to these opportunities completely now promises significant advantage to your next settled pastorate.

Another goal of interim ministry is to reaffirm your connections with the United Church of Christ. Representing the Metropolitan Association and the New York Conference, we are holding you, your interim minister and this time of transition in our prayers. As well, we promise any help we might offer.

{Pastor's name}'s service among you will be, by definition, limited, ending before your next settled pastor takes up her or his ministry. As interim minister, {Pastor's name }is not eligible to be considered for the settled position. And, even as he/she begins his/her ministry with you, he/she knows, and asks you to understand, that that all his/her professional and pastoral relations must end before the next settled ministry begins.

Association Representative: (to Interim Minister):
{Pastor's name}, will you work diligently with this congregation to fulfill the needs of this interim ministry, giving leadership as you see fit, seeking help as you need it, and always trusting in God to guide you?
          Interim Minister:   I will.

Will you be faithful in worship leadership, in pastoral care, in working with the governing and program bodies of this congregation, and in the ministry of administration?
          Interim Minister: I will, relying on God's grace.

Will you strive to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards at all times, in keeping with the expectations and traditions of the United Church of Christ, as God gives you guidance?
          Interim Minister: I will, with God's help.

Association Representative (to the members of the church, who are invited, if they are able, to stand):
People who are {church's name}, will you open yourselves and your community to the changes and the opportunities that God is offering you in this interim ministry?
          Members of the church: We will, relying on God's grace.

Do you affirm {Pastor's name}as your interim minister, promising to labor with him/her in the ministry of the Gospel and to give him/her due honor and prayerful support?
          Members of the church: We do, with God's help.

Association Representative: Let us pray togetherů.

Eternal God, you have called us-- Interim Minister , People and Association-- to work together to serve you in this household of faith and in the world, which you have entrusted to our care and keeping.  

Send your Holy Spirit on us, that we may keep with honor and faithfulness the promises that we have made this day.  

Help us to be committed in our love, creative in our service, and always open to your promise of new life, that your church may prosper in the mission you place before it.  

Following Jesus' example, may we be worthy servants; uniting in the love of Christ, may our ministry be to the glory of your holy name.   Amen.