Churches in Transition
It is often not the changes that will raise anxiety, but the transitions! They are not the same thing.
- Change is situational: the move to a new site, the retirement of the founder, the reorganization of the roles on the team, the revisions to the ministry plan.
- Transition, on the other hand, is psychological; it is a three-phase process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of a new situation that the change brings about.
Managing transition involves not just
- Letting go of the old ways and the old identity people had. This first phase of transition is an ending and the time when you need to help people to deal with their losses.
- Going through an in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn’t here yet. We call this the discovery zone; it’s when the crucial psychological realignments and
- Coming out of the transition and making a new beginning. This is when people develop
the newidentity, experience the new energy, and discover the new sense of purpose that makes the change begin to work.
Because transition is a process by which people unplug from an old world and plug into a new world, we can say transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning.
(Taken from Managing Transitions by William Bridges)
Our transition process in the diocese is to help congregations through each of these stages. We have checklists, articles, exercises and a listening ear to help not only guide through but to discover more about parish community with limited anxiety. If your congregation is entering into a clergy transition, please be sure to contact Peggy Bean at or 414-272-3028 to begin the process of saying goodbye in order to say hello to a new beginning.
Resources for Churches in Transition
Clergy Compensation and Employment
Letter of Agreement for Rector Part A
Letter of Agreement for Priest in Charge Part A
Final Year of Priest-in-Charge Agreement
Mutual Ministry - Part B
Sample Covenant Agreement of Mutual Expectations Part C