Pastoral Search Process

Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
2 September 2020

In March 2020, the Pastoral Search Committee here at Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church concluded many months of work -- both by the committee itself and by the congregation -- by recommending that Rev. Dr. Leslie Foley be called as our settled pastor. The process was interrupted by the Coronavirus and COVID-19, but on August 23 the church met via Zoom for discussion on that recommendation, and then the membership voted by written ballot. Those ballots have now been received and tallied.

I am pleased to announce that the membership has voted in favor of the recommendation, and so Westbrook-Warren Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, is calling Rev. Dr. Leslie Foley as its settled pastor. Roy and I notified Leslie this evening via Zoom, and she has accepted the call. Please join me in welcoming Leslie as our settled pastor!

We will find an appropriate way to celebrate, but for now please say a prayer of joy and thanksgiving as we move into this new phase of our ministry at Westbrook-Warren. We offer a very big thank you to the Search Committee for all their work guiding us through and finding room for the Holy Spirit in this process.

And thanks to you -- the members and friends of WWCC -- for your patience and prayers through this process.

Martha Day, Moderator
Roy Leighton, Vice Moderator

Information prepared for the congregational meeting held on Sunday, August 23 via Zoom.

The purpose of the meeting was to hear comments, ask questions, and share opinions on the Search Committee’s recommendation to call Rev. Dr. Leslie Foley as our settled pastor. A vote was NOT taken at the Zoom meeting; ballots were mailed to members by US Mail. Ballots were to be returned to the church by end of day September 1, 2020.

Get more info on the meeting:

  1. Call to Congregational Meeting

  2. Letter from the Moderator

  3. Pastoral Search Committee Steps Taken (also listed below)

  4. Info and Questions

  5. Zoom info and meeting details (including practice sessions prior to meeting)

Pastoral Search Committee Steps Taken

Summary August 2020

  • Table Talks were held

  • Church Profile was created using the following guiding principles (see Church Profile)

    1. Who Are We?

    2. What Are We Called To Do?

    3. Who Is Our Neighbor?

  • Profile was submitted to the Church Council for approval

  • Profile was submitted to UCC Conference Minister for approval

  • Decision was made to request profile from Transitional Minister

  • Decision was made to interview Transitional Minister

  • Search Committee decided unanimously that Rev. Dr. Leslie Foley, BCC is the person who God is calling to lead our church.

  • A meeting was held to determine compensation and benefits package and an agreement was reached pending congregational vote.

Martha LaViolet, Stan Roth, Bonnie Wright, John Spearen, Lorena Delcourt

Search Committee Members

  • John Spearen

  • Martha LaViolet

  • Stan Roth

  • Lorena Delcourt

  • Bonnie Wright

Have a question?

Survey Results

We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the Hartford survey (either online or on paper). We have received 54 responses.

Here are the results of the survey. Interesting reading!

Questions about the Search Process

When did the search start?

The transition started when Rev. Ed DeLong retired in June 2018. Rev. Leslie Foley is serving as our transitional pastor. The Search Committee was formed in January 2019.

How was the search committee selected?

Members of the Church Council submitted suggestions. The Moderator and Vice Moderator then used those suggestions to form a committee. They sought to represent a cross-section of the church.

1. Why do we need to do a Search when we have a perfectly good pastor here right now?

2. Why are we even doing this process when we know that Leslie is going to end up the minister at the end?

We are using the UCC (United Church of Christ) process to guide us as we search for a settled pastor. This process focuses on 'calling', not hiring, a pastor for our church. 'Calling' requires discernment which means we must take our time with prayerful attention to both logistical detail and to the movement of God's Spirit. Through this process we will define our needs as a church and we will then begin our Spirit-filled search for a settled pastor. Only God knows where this search will take us!