By now many of you at WPC may be asking yourselves “What’s happening in the process to call our next pastor?” Here’s some more information for you. Knowing we were going to be doing a study to help the church take a look at itself and at it’s future, I asked the Session to approve forming a transition team to manage that process. They did and over the last month the Nominating Committee found 4 people who have said yes. They are Leif Hartmark, Victor Manieson, Linore Southworth, and Larry Volk. I am grateful for their willingness to add these responsibilities to the other things they were already doing for the church. While the process of finding the team went on, I was playing phone and email tag with Keli Rugenstein, a local counselor with pastoral and social work experience. She is a designated consultant for the “Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT)” we will be using. She was traveling some in June so the Transition Team and I will be meeting with her for the first time on July 11. I anticipate that the process of gathering responses from the congregation could begin in August and continue into or through September. We want to have as many people in the church complete the survey as possible. It can be done by hand or online. The Team will be sharing information on how each person can access the form and fill it out. The group that developed the CAT, Holy Cow! Consulting, will use the responses to issue a report they call the “Vital Signs” report. This reports the findings and provides some interpretation of the information. The Team will then have time with a Holy Cow! consultant to increase our understanding and interpretation. Good interpretation will help WPC members keep their eyes ahead on what best serves the future of the church. The Team’s next task will be on how to share the information and interpretation with the congregation. While the responses are being gathered and the report then compiled, the Team will be gathering information on the community around the church and in the greater Albany area. What do trends in public perceptions of church, in population growth or decline, in the economics of the area, mean for this church in the future? The Team will gather information that can help the church leadership take that into account. There’s an analogy comparing how we move into the future as an institution to traveling in a rowboat or a canoe. In a rowboat we work hard, but largely gaze backwards on what is behind us. In a canoe, we work hard with our gaze on what is coming. The CAT and its interpretation are meant to help WPC canoe, with your gaze on what is to come. Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.