The Art of Transitional Ministry - Cancelled

Oct. 5–9

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ALERT: All conferences, events, and public lectures for the fall semester have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to digital formats. Please read the full statement.


Leading a congregation through transition is challenging and rewarding. Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing neighborhood, it takes knowledge, skill, and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of transition in a way that allows a congregation and its leaders to thrive. The Art of Transitional Ministry offers training in the skills and understanding necessary for leading a congregation in transition. There are two week-long courses of study. Both weeks are being offered concurrently.

Week one is the basic education course for pastors and congregational leaders who are serving or are considering serving in congregations that are in the midst of transition. This intensive 30-hour course provides basic understandings for consciously leading congregations through changes in context, identity, and leadership. The week one training is appropriate for any temporary transitional ministry leaders, including interim and designated pastors, as well as installed pastors serving congregations in the midst of change.

Week two is for pastors and leaders serving in congregations in the midst of transitions in leadership, culture, context, and ministry. Participants will use their current ministry situations to reflect on the leader’s role and tasks in times of transition. Completion of week one and current service in a transitional or interim ministry position is required for participation in this course.



Julie Donohue Thompson

Julie Donohue Thompson currently serves as transitional pastor at The Presbyterian Church on the Hill in Ocean, New Jersey. She has served in churches large and small, in settings urban, suburban, and rural, but primarily in “tall steeple” churches in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia, and New Jersey. Thompson is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, where she attended while working in campus and youth ministry.

Thompson enjoys long-distance running and racing and finds them to be apt metaphors for pastoral ministry.


Stu Ritter

Stu Ritter has served as a transitional pastor in the PC (USA) since 1999, leading congregations of 250 to 1,500 members in 10 presbyteries. He is currently stated clerk of Northeast Georgia Presbytery. Earlier, he worked as a city planner, administrator, and consultant in organizational development. He also taught social research and leadership development at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Judaism, and Cornell University. Ritter is a graduate of Cornell (BA), UNC-Chapel Hill (MA), and San Francisco Theological Seminary (MDiv).


Barry Williams

Barry Williams’ roots are in southwest Louisiana, where he grew up learning a bit about Cajun culture and cooking. He attended Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, earning a BS in business, then attended seminary in Austin, Texas, and went on to serve churches in the suburbs of Houston, Dallas, and Ft. Worth before moving to work with a congregation in Salina, Kansas. In 1996, the Williams family moved to southwest Missouri. Springfield has functioned as “home base” for Barry as he served as an interim/transitional pastor in the region. He has been part of the PC (USA) interim ministry education faculty since 2000. His interests include fly fishing; cooking; and staying in contact with family, friends, and colleagues.


Bill Carter

Bill Carter loves his work as a pastor, which he has done since 1985. Serving as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, Bill is a jazz pianist who frequently weaves his music into his ministry. A faculty member of CREDO and longtime moderator of his presbytery’s committee on ministry, he has played piano duets with Dave Brubeck, presented a jazz concert based on the psalms with Walter Brueggemann, and sung improvisations with Bobby McFerrin. He may be the only pastor in the PC (USA) who takes a week of vacation to tour with his jazz quartet (www.presbybop.com).


Libby Rollins

Libby Rollins has been involved in interim ministry for 17 years, serving seven congregations of various sizes, settings, and needs. She joined the teaching team 10 years ago and has taught weeks one and two at a number of sites.

Registration and Fees

Week I: The cost is $495 and includes the program and meals (three breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners) and daily coffee breaks.

Week II: The cost is $495 and includes the program and meals (three breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners) and daily coffee breaks.

Please read the registration and cancellation policy before registering.

Lodging and Site Information

Due to campus construction, the program will take place in two locations: Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Center, 20 Library Place, Princeton, New Jersey, and Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton, New Jersey. It is a 10-minute (1/2 mile) walk from the Erdman Center to Nassau Church. Location details will be noted in the schedule sent to you by email before your arrival.

Onsite lodging is available at the Erdman Center for an additional nightly fee. Information on booking a room for this event is included in the registration confirmation.

Free parking in the Seminary’s library lot is provided for participants. There is no parking available at Nassau Church. Transportation between the venues will be arranged for those requesting an accommodation.

Meals included in the program will be offered at Nassau Church and the Mackay Campus Center on the Seminary campus.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Pastor at Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, New Jersey

Alison VanBuskirk, Class of 2015

“My call as a pastor centers on shaping a community where people can connect and be real with each other and God.”