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Senior Pastor Transition

This page is being updated weekly.  The newest updates are at the top. For previous updates, please scroll down.

7.4.24 Update [NEW]

Last Sunday, the Congregation voted on two important topics for our pastoral transition process. First, they voted in new language to our church bylaws, which provides for a process to consider a sitting pastor for our senior minister position. We also voted in an eight-member Transition Team, who will be taking on the next phase of our transition process, as provided in our new bylaws. Special thanks to our DCC members on our Transition Team and blessings to them as they take on the next phase of the work:

Dee Brook
Dianne Dorn
Bette Felton
Carol Gilliland
Laura Beaver
Dan Northway
Syd Dent
Hazel Furber-Dobson/Luci Beaver –youth rep shared position

We also have one alternate if needed: Randy Jang.

To review the new bylaws language, please click here


6.27.24 Update

The Church Council met to discuss the recommendations from our NCNC Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Davena Jones, to review our church bylaws regarding our process for attending to a vacancy in our Senior Minister position. The council voted to create additional language for our Bylaws to make clear the process when we have a called DCC Minister interested in the position. We spent the majority of our meeting creating this language and have shared the draft language with the congregation for the past few weeks in print as well as in the past Thursday e-news. We will have a short congregational meeting immediately after church (in the Sanctuary) on Sunday, June 30th, to vote on this language change. A copy of the language changes is here.

Additionally, the Council discussed the membership of our 8-person Transition Team who will assemble this summer to begin the discussions outlined in the bylaw’s changes; we would like to also vote on this slate of people at our June 30th Congregational Meeting. The representatives are:

Laura Beaver
Dee Brook
Syd Dent
Dianne Dorn
Bette Felton
Carol Gilliland
Dan Northway
Hazel Furber-Dobson/Luci Beaver –shared youth position

Alternate: Randy Jang


6.20.24 Update 

The Church Council met earlier in June to discuss the recommendations from our NCNC Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Davena Jones, to review our church bylaws regarding our process for attending to a vacancy in our Senior Minister position. The council voted to create additional language for our Bylaws to make clear the process when we have a called DCC Minister interested in the position. We spent the majority of our meeting creating this language. We will have a short congregational meeting immediately after church (in the Sanctuary) on Sunday, June 30th, to vote on this language change. Please contact Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy if you have any questions.

Additionally, the Council discussed the membership of our 8-person Transition Team. We currently have SEVEN members interested in participating but need at least one more to serve. To be completely representative of our community, we are looking for a Youth Representative. PARENTS– Please think about your child serving if you think they would be willing–we would like to also vote on this slate of people at our June 30th Congregational Meeting. Please contact Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy if you are interested in participating.

To view the proposed updates to the bylaws, please click here.


6.13.24 Update

The Church Council met this past Tuesday to discuss the recommendations from our NCNC Conference Minister, the Rev. Dr. Davena Jones, to review our church bylaws regarding our process for attending to a vacancy in our Senior Minister position. The council voted to create additional language for our Bylaws to make clear the process when we have a called DCC Minister interested in the position. We spent the majority of our meeting creating this language, and will share the draft language with the congregation this coming Sunday, June 16th, as well as in upcoming Thursday e-news. We will have a short congregational meeting immediately after church (in the Sanctuary) on Sunday, June 30th, to vote on this language change.

Additionally, the Council discussed the membership of our 8-person Transition Team. We currently have five members interested in participating but need three more to serve. To be completely representative of our community, we are looking for a Youth Representative, as well as more male-identified people. Please think about serving if you fit one of these roles–we would like to also vote on this slate of people at our June 30th Congregational Meeting. Please contact Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy if interested.


5.30.24 Update

The Moderator Team had a wonderful conversation with our NCNC Conference Minister, the Reverend Doctor Davena Jones, about our next steps in calling our new Senior Pastor. Specifically, we discussed the following:

  • Our current work on engaging the congregation in the discussion around who we are as a church and the qualities we are looking for in a Senior Pastor.
  • The condition of our current Bylaws and that they don’t adequately address how to consider an internal candidate.
  • Her recommendations on our next steps.

Rev. Davena’s recommendations are for us to first convene a Pastoral Transition Team who will develop the job description, letter of call and compensation package for our new pastor. Simultaneously, we will be meeting with our Church Council to discuss the issue of our bylaws, and how to handle the consideration of an internal candidate, since we know that Rev. Todd is interested in the position. We have had some issues in the past as a church when we have had to consider an internal candidate, and we are hoping to make the process clearer. Rev. Davena said that it is disingenuous to conduct an external search first, prior to considering an internal candidate, but our bylaws don’t provide a process for that. Once the Council determines how to deal with this situation, either through adding a section to the Bylaws that addresses internal candidates, or another solution, we will inform the congregation.

Based on our discussion, we will be assembling a Pastoral Transition Team, looking for 8 representative DCC members who are available this summer to work on our next steps in the process. The Council will be reviewing applications and shall nominate the 8-member team at our June 11th Council meeting.  At a short congregational meeting on June 30th, the congregation can vote to confirm and officially elect the Pastoral Transition Team. If you are interested, we have a short application that you can access by clicking https://forms.gle/WzaZtSW1SZ6bBNLr5.


5.2.24 Update 

Pastor Transition Meetings

We are beginning our pastoral transition activities this month with three opportunities for our church to start our discussions on selecting a new Senior Pastor. We want to begin by discussing some important questions that will help to define what our next steps as a congregation might be, as well as what qualities we are looking for in a Senior Pastor. These questions are:

  1. Who are we as a church? What are our non-negotiable tenets that we support?
  2. How does our church define and relate to our community? What are our expectations for the pastor’s relationship to the wider community?
  3. Who is God calling us to become as a church that lives up to its Vision/Mission of “Loving God, Loving Each Other and Being God’s Love in the World?”
  4. What are some activities, traditions and work that are important for us to continue as we move forward that we want our new pastor to support?
  5. Our new Senior Pastor must have the following qualities (list qualities under each category):

Ministerial Leadership
Pastoral Care
Organizational Leadership

We hope everyone sets aside time to reflect on these questions and participates in one of three meetings to discuss. Alternatively, you can submit your answers to the questions above prior to our final meeting in May, either via email or reach out to us to schedule an individual conversation. All of the meetings will cover the same content and questions. See the e-News and bulletin for Zoom meeting details.

    • May 14th, 6:30pm, Zoom Discussion
    • May 19th, 11:00am, Second Hour Discussion–Kairos Hall
    • May 22nd, 6:30pm, Zoom Discussion

If you have any questions about these meetings or our ongoing process, please contact our Moderator Team (Rev. Todd Atkins-Whitley, Heidi and Steve Bridgeman, Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy).


4.25.24 Update 

Service of Release

This coming Sunday, April 28th, will be a “Service of Release” for our Senior Pastor, Eric Sherlock. A Service of Release is a formal ceremony, attended by the members of the congregation and our Bay Association representatives to formally release our pastor from his duties of pastoral care to our community. It’s not simply a “goodbye,” but a formal covenant of no contact.

Once the Service of Release is over, and Pastor Eric leaves DCC, church members and the pastor are not to engage in any form of communication including, but not limited to, texting and social media. This is outlined within “The Ordained Ministers Code” under the Ethics of Ministry from the United Church of Christ Manual on the Ministry, as it relates to a departed pastor. This section reads:

“I will not perform pastoral services within a parish or for a member of a parish without the consent of the pastor of that parish. I will deal honorably with the record of my predecessor and successor. I will not, upon my termination and departure from a ministry position, interfere with, nor intrude upon the ministry of my successor.”

We want to emphasize this ethical responsibility because these departures are difficult. There may be the temptation to turn to Pastor Eric for advice and counsel. Also, you may be tempted to call him for funerals, weddings, and other pastoral services. This is a natural inclination because we have a relationship with him. However, in the long term, this will neither serve us, nor Pastor Eric once he has departed. Requests of this nature put him in an awkward position of saying “no”. As a congregation, we will need time to move through the interim and search process with a focus on the present and future. We also need to give our next pastor an opportunity to establish his/her leadership and develop a relationship with you.

We all want to wish Pastor Eric Godspeed and blessings on his new vocation in counseling–be sure to reach out to him prior to his departure to send him forth with our love. Please let Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy know if you have any questions. We will provide more information soon about our upcoming Congregational Input Meetings, coming up in May.

  • May 14 — Zoom meeting, 6:30pm–7:30pm
  • May 19– In Person Second Hour, 11:00am–12:00pm (in Kairos Hall)
  • May 22– Zoom meeting, 6:30-7:30pm

4.18.24 Update 

Danville Congregational Church is having a service of Godspeed to celebrate and honor the ministry of our Senior Pastor, Eric Sherlock, on his final church service with us on Sunday, April 28th. The church will be sending him off with gifts and good wishes, and during our coffee hour, there will be cake in Koinonia Hall. Additionally, Jeanne Strauss, the Moderator from the Bay Association of the United Church of Christ, will join us for Pastor Eric’s Service of Release. Please join us!


3.28.24 Update

The Moderator Team has met to discuss the schedule of activities to help our church prepare for our Pastoral transition, and we have identified three dates in which our congregation can come together to participate in conversation around what we are looking for in the future leadership of our church. We envision presenting the church with questions to respond to, and an opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas. We plan to begin these activities in May, after our busy Lenten season, and after Pastor Eric has departed. People can attend one or all of these opportunities, but they will all have the same content. These opportunities are noted below:

  • May 14 — Zoom meeting, 6:30pm–7:30pm
  • May 19– In Person Second Hour, 11:00am–12:00pm (in Kairos Hall)
  • May 22– Zoom meeting, 6:30-7:30pm

As always, if you have any questions or comments about our Pastoral Transition, please feel free to contact Barb DeBarger or Kyra Kennedy.


3.21.24 Update

Our Senior Pastor, Rev. Eric Sherlock, has submitted his resignation from Danville Congregational Church, effective May 2, 2024. He is going on to pursue his passion for helping people in need by becoming a full-time therapist at a private practice in Walnut Creek. We will miss him greatly and pray for God’s blessings in his career change.

Our Church Council met and has voted to have our Associate Pastor, Rev. Todd Atkins-Whitley serve as Acting Senior Pastor, taking on the additional pastoral duties during this transition process. Pastor Todd is more than capable for this role; he supported the church doing similar work during Pastor Eric’s three-month sabbatical two years ago. The Council has also agreed to support hiring visiting ministers to share the preaching role as well as support Pastor Todd with some of the responsibilities related to his call here among us. Once we have identified these people, we will alert the congregation. We are thrilled that Pastor Todd has agreed to these additional duties; it will provide for seamless operations and support at DCC.

Over the next several weeks, we will be inviting the church to join conversations—both in-person and on Zoom—designed to invite our entire congregation to weigh-in on what we are looking for in a Senior Pastor. Once we have identified the dates and have held these meetings, we will assemble a transition team to move on our next steps in calling our next settled Senior Pastor. We envision this team to be a representative group of our congregation, able to voice our needs and desires for leadership, taking into account the information gathered at these congregational input meetings. We ask the congregation to pray for us as we go through this process.

We will post a weekly update on our transition process in our Thursday e-news and in the Sunday bulletins. If you have any questions about our process, please feel free to contact our Moderators, Barb DeBarger and Kyra Kennedy.