During last Sunday’s congregational meeting, Session shared the following message with the congregation. After the meeting, several people approached us to ask if this statement would be published. Since not all River Glen members attended the meeting, Session agreed that it would be a good idea to share it here, in the Enews. If you have any questions, please direct them to a member of Session.
“The Session would like to share some things with you before we get to the discussion and questions.
“It is with great sadness that we stand before you today to discuss the negotiated dissolution of Pastor Jess' call with River Glen Presbyterian Church. We want to do our best to be as open and transparent as we are able about the big question - why is this happening?
“Unfortunately, many factors have led to Jess’ decision. Consistent long hours, never being able to get caught up with the workload, unresolved conflict, a shortage of volunteer participation, constant change, and the many challenges of the pandemic are some examples of the stressful issues that she has been dealing with. We had hoped that we could help her work through these issues, but we understand that burnout has physical effects that are unavoidable. Ultimately, the decision to leave River Glen was an extremely difficult one for Jess. We are all grieving her departure, but we love and care about her, so we want Jess to do what is right for herself. Please be praying with us for God to bless her and her future ministry. Please also be praying with us for the next pastor that God will call to our church. Jess, the Presbytery, and we as Session have high hopes for the future of River Glen. We have faith in God's goodness!
“While we do the work of forming an Interim Pastor Nominating Committee, and later nominating a full Pastor Nominating Committee, or PNC, we will use what we have learned as we discern how our next pastor will be supported by Session, our teams, the staff, and the congregation.
“Session has been guided by the Presbytery of Chicago in the process of dissolving Jess' call and you have received a copy of the terms of the dissolution. The Session has voted to approve these terms, which follow a standard protocol for a transition like this in the Presbyterian church. We have discerned that they are both equitable and financially workable, and hope that you will agree and trust that we have wrestled with and prayed about them in our meetings. We are recommending that you vote yes to dissolving Jess' call here at River Glen, the minimum severance term length that the Presbytery recommends, which is one month for every year served, and the vacation payout as determined by our employee handbook. Session is united in our desire to part amicably under these terms.”
The meeting went smoothly, and the motion to accept the request to dissolve the pastoral relationship with Pastor Jess was approved by an overwhelming margin. We praise God and ask for his blessings as we begin the search for the pastor who will lead River Glen Church in its next chapter.
Peace and blessings,
Your Session - Tom Barto, Bob Carr, Brian Gilbert, Rich Gorecki, Paula Hebert, Bill King, Christy Palangattil, Andrea Sung, Kalina Waszak.