Transition Team

Transition logo

Since our senior pastor retired in September 2016, we have been in transition. In December 2016, Pastor Paula Harris joined our congregation as interim pastor. She is leading our Transition Team through the process of self-reflection as we prepare to search for a new senior pastor.

Update: April 2017

Why is Associate Pastor Liz Rossing leaving the congregation on May 21?

After significant research and reflection, the Church Council determined that our congregation can no longer afford to keep two full-time pastors on staff. We are sad to lose Pastor Liz, as she has been a strong spiritual leader for us. Pastor Paula Harris is staying on as interim pastor until we call a new senior pastor.

Where will Pastor Liz go after leaving Church of the Resurrection?

Pastor Liz is currently working with the Greater Milwaukee Synod to find another congregation at which she can serve. In the meantime, we have worked out an agreement to financially support her until she finds another position.

What does this mean for the future of our congregation?

Our first priority is to attain financial stability, and becoming a one-pastor congregation will help us do that. In the future, we hope to be able to bring other part-time staff members on board to help us continue in our ministry.

Update: March 2017

Who is on the Transition Team and how were they chosen?

The members of the Transition Team are: Pam DeRosier, Beth Earnest, Erin Gould, Mark Haddix, Randy Kohn, Andy Matter, Barb Maloney, Jeff Rick, Katie Rick, Paige Schaber, Amy Skoug, Elizabeth Wahmhoff and Russell Zell. The members were chosen to represent a variety of ages, groups, interests and experiences within our church community.

What have Pastor Paula, the Transition Team and the Church Council accomplished so far?

  • Pastor Paula and the Staff Support Team have met with all staff members to clarify their roles and update their job descriptions.
  • We developed a financial stability plan, and the congregation approved a budget for the transitional period of January through May. The Council will present a budget for the remainder of the year to the congregation on May 7, 2017.
  • Pastor Paula and Transition Team members led five Cottage Meetings during which approximately 50 church members answered questions about which aspects of our church are most important to them. At the end of February, the Transition Team collated those responses into a document for the Church Council.

If you would like to review the responses from all sessions, follow this link!  Cottage Meeting Summary

What comes next?

  • The Church Council and Transition Team will meet on March 28 to discuss findings from the Cottage Meetings and determine whether Church of the Resurrection is a pastoral-size (with all programs originating from the pastor) or program-size (with the pastor providing guidance as laypeople lead programs) church.
  • Members of the Transition Team are beginning work on our church’s Ministry Site Profile, which we will give to our synod when we are ready to begin the call process.
  • At its next meeting at the beginning of May, the Transition Team will discuss a plan for determining who are our church’s neighbors, and which programs we should be focusing on the most.

Why isn’t the process moving faster?
We are following a proven process given to us by the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA. We want to take our time to ensure we are making the right decisions for our church.

Q&A from September 2016

Why did Pastor Stein leave our congregation?
Pastor Stein has been in the ministry for 40 years. He was ready to retire and enjoy life with his wife, Cathy.

Why didn’t Pastor Stein and Cathy stay in our congregation after he retired?

Pastors are members of the churches they serve. When they retire from being the pastor, they are no longer members. This is a good thing, since the next pastor needs to build relationships with members of the church as a part of their new ministry. Having the former pastor around would not be helpful for that process. In addition, a retired pastor wants to find a new church home where he or she (and their spouse) can participate as members of the church without the responsibilities and expectations of being that church’s pastor. Pastor Stein addressed this question in more detail in a newsletter article and letter to the congregation.

Why do we need an interim pastor? Why couldn’t we hire a senior pastor right away?
When a pastor leaves a congregation, the congregation experiences a loss. This loss, when acknowledged, can best be resolved during the time of transition before a new pastor is called and installed. An interim pastor, appointed by the bishop, in consultation with the Church Council, provides support and nurturing when needed during the transition by assisting, coaching, mentoring and/or advising the congregation during its transition period. Our synod has been using this process for many years to great success.

Why can’t our associate pastor, Pastor Liz Rossing, take over as senior pastor?
Pastor Liz began her ministry less than two years ago, and we would like to give her time to grow as a spiritual leader before taking on a senior pastor role.

Learn more about the process our church is undergoing by reading the InterimMinistryManual.

For more information and answers to questions not found here, e-mail our Transition Team at