Pastoral Excellence Sustainability Campaign Helps Build Strength in Ministry, Youth Participation

5/18/2011

 

Pastoral Excellence Sustainability Campaign Helps Build Strength in Ministry, Youth Participation
Rev. Terry Martinson, who is in his 40th year of ministry with Old South Union Church in Weymouth, MA (http://www.oldsouthunion.org) as Senior Pastor, is a man who burns with the fire of faith and commitment. Martinson’s church, spiritual home to 475 members, now offers youth ministry programming to more than 500 youth from around Weymouth. The youth come, says Martinson, “from [many faith groups within] the community, because we have created a comfortable place for them. This is a wonderful and very supportive church.” 
Old South Union is a church whose leaders understand the importance of supporting and celebrating their pastors so that they can offer a dynamic and nurturing ministry, both now and in the future. The church has a long and proud history stretching back nearly 300 years (the church was founded in 1723). The church is, says Martinson, “Committee run, with strong connections to both social action, youth, and the nurture of early-career ministers.” 
Rev. Jennie Barrett Siegal is one such pastor.   Barrett Siegal’s first call was as a Pastoral Resident at a congregation in Wellesley, and she was then called to be Associate Pastor at the Old South Union Church. Both she and Rev. Martinson are involved in the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ’s (MACUCC) Pastoral Excellence Program (PEP), and Barrett Siegal leads a group for clergy in their 20’s and 30’s. Both ministers are also involved in Communities of Practice, where clergy can gather together, share concerns and learnings, and lend support to one another to strengthen each others’ ministries. Additionally, Martinson leads a New Clergy community of practice group, lending his experience to those entering the ministry.
“The goal of the Pastoral Excellence Program is to create excellent pastors, and they help to create excellent churches,” said Rev. Martinson. “So PEP is enhancing not only the pastor’s skills but the pastor’s connections to others, making them stronger and more accountable ministers. PEP gives them a resource to go to and check out how they are doing through a community of practice, sharing how others do things. Everyone benefits from this program,” said Martinson – “the pastor, the leadership of the church, all the members, including our children and youth.”
Old South felt so strongly about the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Endowment Campaign, a program to ensure the continuation of PEP, that the church’s leadership made a 5-year commitment of $50,000 to the program. The first year’s offering for the program was taken on Confirmation Sunday, when youth are celebrated and welcomed into the church as they embrace a life of Christian faith. That day seemed like the right one, said Martinson, to invite all who were worshipping to think about the possibilities for the future of the church’s members and its ministry.
 “When your pastor is on the ball,” said Rev. Martinson, “congregations benefit. When pastors learn new things, congregations are served. When pastors are supported, congregations are supported.” So far the congregation has raised nearly $12,000, Martinson reported.  Support has come through individual pledges and a special offering, at which more than $6,000 was raised. The MACUCC Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Endowment Campaign will help to ensure that the UCC in Massachusetts will have the best possible pastoral leadership, both now and in the future.   
You can join other pastors and congregations by making a pledge of support, payable over three to five years, or taking a special offering for this Campaign over each of the next five years. Find out more about this important program: visit http://www.macucc.org/pages/detail/2147. You can also contact MACUCC Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development Andrew Gustafson: (508) 875-5233, ext.231 (email: gustafsona@macucc.org), or Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development Sue Dickerman: (508) 875-5233, ext.233 (email: sdickerman@macucc.org).


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