Mission and Ministry Board Approves Timeline and Search Committee for General Secretary Search

During its Annual Conference meetings in Tampa the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board approved a report from its General Secretary Transition Team, which included naming a seven-member Search Committee and included a proposed timeline for the search.

Called to the Search Committee are:

Current Mission and Ministry Board members:
Connie Burk Davis (convener), Mission and Ministry Board chair-elect, retired attorney/mediator, Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren, Mid-Atlantic District
Jerry Crouse, Mission and Ministry Board Executive Committee member, pastor and school guidance counselor, Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren, Missouri and Arkansas District
Jonathan Prater, pastor, Mt. Zion-Linville (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Shenandoah District
Patrick Starkey, Mission and Ministry Board Executive Committee member, pastor Cloverdale (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Virlina District

Outgoing Mission and Ministry member:
Pamela Reist, past Mission and Ministry Board Executive Committee member, pastor, Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District

District executive:
David Steele, Middle Pennsylvania District executive minister and outgoing Annual Conference moderator

Former Annual Conference moderator:
Belita Mitchell, pastor of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District

“We sought to be sensitive to the diversity of the denomination as we formed the committee,” said Mission and Ministry Board chair Don Fitzkee, “although it is difficult to cover the full diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, theology, geography, etc. in a seven-member committee.”

The approved timeline for the search is:

July 2015: Executive Committee begins planning for hiring an interim General Secretary in the event that Stan Noffsinger does not complete his full term.

July 2015: Board approves Transition Team report/process/timeline; clarifies that Executive Committee has authority to name interim when necessary; approves proposal for Search Committee and names members; engages in more conversation about leadership qualities needed for such a time as this and other guidance for the Search Committee.

July-October: Search Committee meets, organizes, and prepares job description and job announcement for approval/review by the board in October.

Oct. 2015: The Executive Committee brings proposed salary and benefits package/range for board approval; board hears Search Committee report and approves job description and position announcement.

After the Oct. board meeting: Job opening is announced; candidates begin to be identified.

Nov. 2015 to March 2016: Interviews by the Search Committee (Search Committee sets deadline for applicants).

March 2016: The board receives report from Search Committee and the committee presents a candidate to the board for a question and answer session and vote. (If this process is not ready by March, candidate is presented in June.)

Annual Conference 2016: A new General Secretary is introduced (or voted on, named, and introduced if this process is not completed in March).

July- Sept. 2016: New General Secretary begins work.

The Transition Team report approved by the board also provided some guidelines for the calling of an Interim General Secretary, should one be needed. Stanley Noffsinger’s contract extends until the 2016 Annual Conference, but his service to the church could conclude prior to the end of the contract. An Interim General Secretary would be hired with the understanding that he or she shall not become a candidate for the General Secretary position.

Primary tasks for the Interim General Secretary would include:

— Serving as a caretaker, carrying out essential daily functions in cooperation with executive staff and the Leadership Team, and delegating tasks as necessary.

— Continuing the momentum on the Strategic Plan until a permanent leader is in place.

— While not performing an organizational audit, nevertheless remaining attentive to organizational issues, and the health of staff and board relationships, and working at maintaining/improving organizational health.

(This report was provided by Mission and Ministry Board chair Don Fitzkee.)

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