It’s important to mark the endings and beginnings of a pastoral transition, rather then just talking about them. Consider creating rituals, actions or activities that dramatize them.
Some suggestions others have offered:
- Check the Book of Worship for rituals that can be adapted to your setting.
- On the evening of a pastor’s last Sunday, host an evening worship service with the new pastor also present to receive something like keys from the departing pastor.
- Someone from the former church goes with the moving pastor to their new church on the first Sunday, and “hands over” the arriving pastor from the previous congregation.
- On the last Sunday, do a ritual of passing stoles, and perhaps some fun things.
- Former church gives things to the departing pastor that s/he will need at the new church.
- Create a ritual using the “A Good Goodbye” material.
- Use physical symbols in a ritual on the first Sunday; examples: Chairperson of Worship Committee might hand a chalice and plate to the new pastor, Trustee Chair might hand keys, SPR Chair might hand a stole.
- Develop a litany that could span two weeks, and the first half is read as one pastor departs, and the second half is read as the new pastor arrives.