We are writing to update you on some matters we’ve considered recently and to encourage us as a body during this uncertain time. Like all of you, we too are working through what this unsettling time means for us individually and collectively and we ask you to continue to pray for our body and about these issues.
First, we want to give a huge shout out and thanks to all of the church and pre-school staff and all of you who worked so hard over the last six weeks to help us pivot quickly to this new reality. With little time to prepare, we so appreciate the time, energy, and creativity you have poured into our lives.
The Session Transition Team (Debbie Dininno, Kevin Hula, Kristin Monopolis, and Jack Weber) is continuing the work of looking for an interim pastor. They have reviewed resumes and are conducting online interviews over the next few weeks. They are also working with our church consultant to obtain the interpreted results of the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT). Thanks to all of you who participated and provided information for this in March. We plan to share a public summary of the information in the coming months. The Transition Team is still planning to have an interim pastor in place on July 1st or as soon as feasible after that.
As you may recall, John Schmidt’s last day with Central has previously been set as June 30, 2020. However, in the event that Central does not have an interim pastor in place to start on July 1, the Session has asked John to stay for up to three more months until the end of September. John has graciously agreed to stay until September 30th or until the new interim has been hired, whichever comes first. We believe that this arrangement gives Central the flexibility required during this time, but also the stable senior leadership John provides for a short while longer if needed.
This brings us to celebrating John and Debbie’s work at Central for the last 17 years. Due to current events, we are canceling the June 14 picnic. We are planning alternate opportunities to celebrate and say goodbye to the Schmidts later in the summer and will update you on these in the coming weeks. In the meantime, look for additional information about the legacy John Russell Outreach Fund (this was going to be presented at the now-canceled Block Party celebration on May 1). And as a reminder, if you would like to give to the personal gift to the Schmidts, please contact Art Moorshead at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland officials are planning for how to come out of the current “stay at home” orders and looking for indications that it is safe to do so. At this point, we do not know when this will happen or what it may look like. But we are considering what different scenarios may be for out worship and life together. Please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment as we navigate these changes.
While many things are uncertain at this time and many are struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and grief, we trust in God’s love, care, and provision for Central and for each of us. We know God is with us and the Holy Spirit is at work in this situation even though we can’t be with each other in the same ways. Dear ones—as hard as it may be, this is the time for each of us to draw closer to Jesus, deepen the relationships we have with other Christians, and serve and bless our neighbors.
Luci Davis for the Central Presbyterian Session