The Art of Transitional Ministry

by Jan Nolting Carter

Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos.

– Saul Bellow (1915–2005)

mosaicMy kids’ school has a wonderful art teacher. In a time where art in so many schools has been diminished or cut out entirely, Cindi invites the kids to try new things and to believe they are each artists. One of my favorite projects my son Seth did was a mosaic. A couple of years ago, he surprised me with it as a birthday present. This month’s NEXT Church blog theme is “The Art of Transitional Ministry.” Ten colleagues and I will offer you a mosaic of perspectives about what it means to be in transition, each a snapshot or a facet of a much greater, God-given mosaic of change, and each written by someone who is an artist — an artist who works with people and systems in the midst of change. Together, we are a mosaic of people and ideas.

Many of us are engaged in intentional transitional ministry, formerly understood as interim ministry, although some of us are not. My friend Stuart Malina offers us words from the art world as the music director of the Harrisburg Symphony and principal guest conductor of the Florida Symphony. Bill Carter offers us the metaphor of jazz for transitional ministry. Helen Blier offers us thoughts on holy listening from her perspective as director of continuing education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Some of us teach the art of transitional ministry across the country in connection with the Transitional Ministry Consortium (TMEC): Bill Lawser, Libby Rollins, Paul Rhebergen and me. Others are engaged in artful transitional ministry of that invites us to think of different kinds of transition: bi-vocational churches, post-split churches and even personal transition — Beth Scribienski, Cathi King and Robin Curras.

We invite you to join us this month as together we think about the mosaic of The Art of Transitional Ministry.


jancarterJan Nolting Carter serves St. James Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsburg, PA as its Interim Pastor. She has served six transitional positions in the Carlisle Presbytery in varied contexts. In 2016, she joined the Transitional Ministry Education Consortium Faculty on the team teaching at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. For fun, Jan loves sharing hospitality, photography, nature and spending time with her family.

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