Journey's beloved founding pastor retired at the close of 2022 as planned and we have entered into our next phase seeking an intentional interim pastor equipped to walk with us through a time of discernment, self-discovery and planning for our future ministry. Those interested in learning more about this process or expressing their interest in serving as our interim pastor may contact our Pastoral Search Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the instructions included in the church profile and position description.
Church Profile and Interim Pastor Position Info
Our Mission, Core Values and "Personality"
Journey United Church of Christ is a God-centered church family welcoming all to join us on our journey as we worship joyfully and live, learn and grow as servants of Christ through our faith and actions. Our core values center on Life-Long Learning; Engaging Worship; Extravagant Welcome; Real Relationships; Serving Selflessly; Speaking Truth to Power; and "the Church is a Body, not a Building."
That last statement from our Core Values best describes what Journey UCC is all about. We are a small, enthusiastic, friendly, welcoming, Open and Affirming, WISE for mental health congregation in New York’s Capital Region. Many members have come to Journey unchurched or from dissatisfaction with “traditional” churches. We practice active outreach with a focus on social justice, and we prefer to invest our resources in people and mission rather than in the maintenance of physical space—so rather than own our own building, we make use of available space in the community. We believe in collaboration with an innovative spirit. Our worship is vibrant, engaging, and interactive with a coffeehouse atmosphere.
Journey UCC’s History
The idea that became Journey began in 2007 when seven friends met to discuss the idea of starting—and becoming—a different kind of church from the ones they had been part of. As Journey grew, it migrated from a living room to a bar, to other shared spaces—local commercial rentals, the conference room of the Bethlehem Comfort Inn (that’s fun to say), a maker space, a high school cafeteria, a small office building, an apartment building basement, a Shriner's ballroom, online via Facebook and Zoom during the covid-19 pause, to our current site in the fellowship hall of a mission-compatible church. Through all of these moves and transitions, our founding pastor, Sandy Damhof, was a common thread holding us together. As Journey has grown and flourished, we have also become a magnet and church home for a number of working pastors ordained in the UCC or affiliated churches who are employed by other organizations in their ministries or semi-retired, providing a robust and versatile community of backup worship leaders and small group facilitators.
Journey UCC By-the-Numbers
Active Membership: 60
Sunday Morning average attendance: 35
Church School: No separate class; children are incorporated in the service with a shared “Montessori-type” lesson and a designated play space and rocking chairs. Confirmation classes are provided when needed.
Members serving on Boards and Committees: 16 (fluctuates with need)
Missions Giving 20% of the budget total—10% OCWM, 10% other community giving as voted on by the church leadership team.
Results of most recent stewardship campaign compared with the previous year: Roughly a 5% decrease from 2022 to 2023
Journey UCC’s Ministries
Music—our Music Director and a small group of regular singers work together on a diverse mix of music from many genres and eras selected by the Worship Team.
Fellowship—includes twice-monthly Deep Listening group, monthly Book Group for Women, short-term themed study groups for Bible study or study and discussion of recent theological work, and various gatherings outside of Sunday worship, some purely social like fire pits, trail walks, game nights, even cooking, both in-person and via Zoom.
Service—We provide dinner and dessert several times a year for the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, serve as the Family Promise host congregation four weeks per year, contribute to monthly themed collections of tangible goods for the benefit of local mission partners, send care twice-annual care pages to college student congregates, participate in food and faith nights with strong ties to the Protestant Campus Ministry at University of Albany, enjoy semi-annual work days at the Regional Foodbank farm, are active in an inner-city medical and outreach ministry, support the Engeye medical and educational ministry in Uganda, host Mission Moments with community partners, and participate in the Capital Pride Festival as both an exhibitor and a marching unit.
Journey UCC Staff
Church administrator (average 10 hours/week), Music Director, set-up coordinator for staging and clean up of our shared Sunday worship space.
Journey UCC’s Mission and Purpose
Journey United Church of Christ is a God-centered church family welcoming all to join us on our journey as we worship joyfully and live, learn, and grow as servants of Christ through our faith and actions. Our Core Values center on Life-Long Learning; Engaging Worship; Extravagant Welcome; Real Relationships; Serving Selflessly; Speaking Truth to Power; and The Church is a Body, not a Building.
Interim Pastor Responsibilities
Either a ¼ time role (10 hours weekly) that focuses on worship, preaching and transitional work with the congregation; or a ½ role time (20 hours weekly) that would also include pastoral care and some administrative duties. Journey’s worship currently takes place Sundays at 10 am in person and online.
The Hopes of Our Congregation for the Interim Period
Since Journey has had the same pastor for the last 15 years, from our founding on, the most important thing we need is to figure out who we are, where we’re going next, and how we can keep on “being Journey” without Sandy’s leadership and support. We’re generally an upbeat, enthusiastic flock of “rainbow sheep”—but we are also going to be processing some very real grief and anxiety in the coming months, especially as many of us came to Journey with spiritual wounds left by less-than-welcoming church communities.
How We Hope Our Interim Will Lead Us Through the Transition
Following the retirement of our founding pastor after 15 years, Journey seeks an interim pastor who can help us continue to be the unique group we are, grieve the loss of our founding pastor, and dream into who God is calling us to be. This congregation has never been through a pastoral transition and has some fear of the unknown. We could use help to develop a more robust lay leadership pool and discern what kind of settled pastor would be a good fit for us.
Annual salary up to $27,000 for half-time service, plus UCC pension contribution (14% of base salary); continuing education and/or books: $750; mileage allowance up to $800; and four weeks of vacation.
For information or to apply:
All UCC candidates and Formula of Agreement Partners please apply through the UCC Ministry Opportunities page in keeping with the covenanted search process while forwarding a letter of interest to email@example.com. Others may reach out directly via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to apply.