Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) Many congregations feel obliged to have long interim periods between pastors, during which all vestiges of the departed incumbent are erased, as if the transition were a traumatic divorce and remarriage, rather than a normal fact of institutional life.


  1. My wife, a former Roman Catholic, continually marvels at (or is disgusted to behold) this Protestant distrust of clergy. She too wonders what the problem is with those who are trained to direct church life actually directing church life. Though I am now retired and serving as an interim pastor, I see the problem you are talking about — and I strive for brief interims, in which the former pastor is not denigrated but respected and valued for what he or she enabled.

  2. While I understand the author’s comments, nowhere do I read where he defines the role of an Interim in terms of evaluating (adding value to) the former pastorate, recognizing history, or helping to determine how and where the local church is headed. An interim, like a settled pastor is embraced by a congregation during moments of pastoral need (weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.) yet these elements fail to be addressed.