As we approach that date, we put together the information below to remind us about the minister we’re searching for and our new vision. We want to let you know what you can expect during the Call process and how you’ll participate during the pandemic. When the process allows, we’ll also share the candidate’s profile.
On September 27, 2020, we adopted a new vision to continue growing and reaching out to people beyond VAPC with the compassionate love of Jesus. As we seek to live out our calling as a missional church, we’re searching for a minister who will engage with our church family to nurture the relationships and faith that strengthen us. We need a leader who can equip, encourage, and help us to bear the fruit of God’s love beyond ourselves. Our minister needs to be:
To be any of these, our minister needs to be an exceptional communicator and invested in the interpersonal connections that unite us. They also need to be passionate about mission and outreach and committed to being a member of the Varsity Acres community.
Inviting a candidate to Preach for the Call is an exciting milestone. However, it’s only one part of the journey. The complete process, established by the Presbyterian Church in Canada, involves several different groups, each with its protocols and required documentation.
This overview highlights key steps in the process and offers additional details where you have an essential role to play. You can read about the entire process in resources created by the Presbyterian Church in Canada:
Our Search Committee met for the first time in June 2020. They worked with your input to develop the congregational profile, including the Minister of Word and Sacraments’ position description.
The Session reviewed and approved the final profile, which the Search Committee then presented to the congregation. After that, we sent the profile to the Presbyterian Church in Canada to advertise the pulpit vacancy.
The Search Committee received and reviewed submissions from interested candidates and set up interviews with those best suited for the role. One candidate stood out among the others. After additional interviews, listening to several sermons, and engaging with references, the Search Committee presented the candidate’s name to the Session. The Session affirmed the Committee’s process and decision and invited the candidate to meet the congregation and Preach for the Call.
A significant part of your role in the Call process is discerning, as members of Varsity Acres Presbyterian, whether the candidate is called to lead our congregation. To do that well, you need opportunities to hear the candidate speak and get to know them. These opportunities include meet and greets and a recorded worship service. We’ll also provide a written profile of the candidate when we are able.
The meet and greet is an informal gathering for fellowship and conversation. It’s a chance to talk with the candidate and get to know them and their story. Physical distancing means this typically in-person event will need to be a series of Zoom conversations. To help ensure the discussions are more approachable for everyone, we’ll hold a few online gatherings, each with a limited number of spaces. Dates and signup details are coming soon.
It’s important to say the meet and greet is not an interview. We encourage you to approach the conversation as though you were meeting a visitor exploring our church. Do talk about life, community, and faith, but it is not the time to challenge them on complex theological issues. Rest assured, the candidate is rigorously interviewed throughout the call process.
There are many ways a minister can approach worship, prayer, and preaching. By planning and leading a worship service for the congregation, we have an opportunity to hear and see the candidate lead a worship service. Preaching for the Call helps us, as a community, assess whether the candidate is the leader to inspire and guide us in our ongoing faith journey.
Currently, in-person worship is not possible. In alignment with the recommendations of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, we’ve asked the candidate to record a full service. On April 10 and 11, we’ll send out a link, and you’ll have a 48-hour window to watch or listen.
After the meet and greet conversations and hearing the candidate Preach for the Call, we’ll hold a congregational meeting. The Rev. Dr. Jean Morris, Interim Moderator, will invite individuals to respectfully share their perspectives on the candidate’s suitability for Varsity Acres Presbyterian Church.
We would typically hold a vote on whether to proceed with the Call at this congregational meeting. If the vote is to proceed, we invite professing members to sign the Call forms to approve the Call. Adherents are welcomed and encouraged to express their agreement.
Because of physical distancing requirements, we’ll need to make adjustments to our voting process. In the days following the congregational meeting, the Elders will contact every member and adherent. They will ask if you support the Call, and if you do, whether they can indicate that by attaching your name to the Call sheets.
Following a positive vote, the Rev. Dr. Jean Morris, Interim Moderator, the Session, our Presbytery, and the candidate and their Presbytery work through several pieces of due diligence. It will still take a few weeks before we know whether the candidate will become our new minister.
The paragraphs above are a very simplified overview. In its entirety, the process includes several different groups and lots of documentation. If you are looking for more detail, you can read the resources created by the Presbyterian Church in Canada:
If you have questions about the general Call process, you can contact our Interim Moderator, the Rev. Dr. Jean Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please know, however, the Call process imposes limits on what information can be provided to whom and when.