December 21, 2017

Dear Members and Friends -

Session has unanimously voted to offer the position of Transitional Pastor to Rev. Heather James...and she has accepted!

As you know, Heather has been serving as Temporary Supply Pastor since October. We were careful to explain that her service was intended to be a bridge between Gary's retirement, through the season of Advent, until such time that we could select a Transitional Pastor. And now we have!

To review the process over the past several months, our search for a Transitional Pastor began last summer by a Session screening committee assisted by Rev. Tom Kirkpatrick, our liaison from the Presbytery of Olympia's Commission on Ministry, and Rev. Christine Long, Executive Presbyter. We reviewed more than twenty Personal Information Forms (or resumes) of pastors who were referred or applied directly for our consideration. Shepherd of the Hill is a vibrant congregation within the Presbytery and we've been supported and guided well by our partners in ministry who care deeply for SOTH.

After we began to schedule interviews in November with a number of the pastor candidates, Heather also sought the advice of COM about being considered for the Transitional Pastor position. The timing of Heather's entry into the candidate pool was intended to be sure we gave due consideration to all who were qualified and interested, and to seriously discern God's will for Shepherd of the Hill.

Heather went through two rounds of interviews, with the screening committee and the entire Session including elders recently elected to begin new terms next month. In addition, we held second interviews with two other outstanding candidates. After those interviews, we concluded, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that Heather was the best person to lead us during this transition.

We are pleased to welcome Heather with excitement and anticipation for all that God has ahead of us on the journey through our season of transition. During this search process, your Session learned a great deal about the path of discovery that transition represents. This is not a time to be focused solely on the future and the search for a new installed pastor, when we have so many in our community and world who need to know God's love through us.

Together in Christ,

Session Elders
Shepherd of the Hill