Pastoral Succession

On October 31, 2017, Pastors Dennis W. & Christine Y. Wiley officially retired from their pastoral duties at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ. As we know all too well, they have faithfully led this congregation for over 30 years and we are beyond grateful for their service to this church and this community. This page was established to ensure members remain up-to-date on the succession process.

Process to Call a Pastor

  1. Pastor announces intention to leave
  2. Duties, responsibilities, and roles of Succession Committee
  3. Assignment of Interim Subcommittee
  4. History, overview, educational, and spiritual process by pastor with help from committee
  5. Survey of congregation, stakeholders, community, and neighborhood
  6. Drafting church transitional document
  7. Selection of Interim Minister by Succession sub-committee
  8. Congregational goodbye to vacating ministers
  9. Work of Interim Minister underway in Congregation
  10. Search Committee meets with UCC Search and Call Associate and DCBC consultant for overview of search process and orientation to church profile
  11. Writing, drafting, and completion of church profile
  12. Receive candidate profiles and work through discernment of best
  13. Congregation meets the candidate through worship and meetings followed by congregational meeting to vote
  14. Newly called pastor arrives and begins ministry
  15. Installation of Pastor


1. When is the last day Pastor Dennis and Chris will be official pastors at CBUCC

Our pastors will officially retire and leave CBUCC on October 31, 2017.

2. Will they remain members of CBUCC or will they join another church/congregation

Pastors Dennis and Chris will continue to maintain their membership at CBUCC. However, they will not attend or participate in any CBUCC services until at least one year after the permanent pastor is installed.

3. I have heard we will have an Interim Minister immediately after our Pastors retire. Why do we need an Interim Minister?

We looked at a number of "best practices" for churches in transition and the information shows it is best to have a period of time between the current pastor leaving and selecting the next pastor who will lead our congregation into the future. This period allows time for grieving the former pastors' departure, but also offers an opportunity for reenergizing, clarification of our vision, and spiritual renewal. The specialized training the Interim Minister will bring to this process means we will be able to continue to cultivate and grow a spiritually healthy and strong congregation.

4. Is it possible the interim minister can or will become our permanent/settled pastor?

No. The interim minister is a temporary position intended to assist our congregation in our transition period and in searching for a permanent/settled pastor.

5. Will the interim minister come from within the current team/staff of ordained ministers already serving at CBUCC?

If any of our ordained ministers apply to the Interim Minister position, their application will be reviewed and considered along with all other applicants who apply to the Interim Minister position.

6. How long will it be before the interim minister comes on board and how long before the permanent/settled pastor comes on board?

The Succession Team is already putting a plan together for both position. We plan to have the interim minister begin at CBUCC around November 1, 2017 and six to twelve months later we hope to bring the permanent/settled pastor on board.

7. What will be the process to select the interim minister

We will closely consult the recommended UCC and DCBC procedures for the interim minister selection process. We will be looking for an ordained minister with specialized experience in leading a congregation through a transition period following the retirement/resignation of its pastor(s).

8. What will be the process to select the permanent/settled pastor?

We will also consult the recommended UCC and DCBC procedures in order to develop the process for selection of the permanent/settled pastor. Our congregation will have a great deal of input regarding what skills and abilities we will be looking for in that person. Early next year we will survey the congregation and ask a series of questions that will assist the Succession Team in building the job vacancy for our future pastor.

9. Will lay leaders such as Trustees, Deacons, and Servant Leaders be required to step down once the permanent/settled pastor comes on board?

No. These positions are elected by the congregation, and individuals elected to serve will remain in their positions until others are elected to take their place.

10. Will ordained ministers be required to step down if they hold ministry positions when the permanent/settled pastor comes on board?

Ordained ministers who hold ministry positions should be prepared to submit their resignations should the permanent/ settled pastor request them to step down.

11. What role will the congregation play in the final selection of the interim minister?

Since the Succession Committee has been authorized by the congregation to identify the best candidate to assume the Interim Minister position, the congregation will be asked to affirm the candidate recommended by the Succession Committee.

12. What role will the congregation play in the final selection of the permanent/ settled pastor?

Since the permanent/settled pastor must be “called” by the congregation, the final selection will require a 2/3 majority vote of approval by the congregation.

13. Is there anything the congregation can do in preparation for the retirement of our pastors?

Yes. While we all will deeply miss them when they retire as our pastors, each of us must work to continue to pray and support the ministries of our church. We often refer to ourselves as the “Miracle on South Capitol Street.” If we remain steadfast and unmovable, we will continue to be “The Miracle” and honor the legacy of Pastors Dennis and Christine Wiley.

About Covenant

Affirming our African heritage, our vision is to build an inclusive body of biblical believers who continue to grow in Christ as we love, serve, and fellowship with the community and each other.

Service Times

Sunday School
9:00 AM

Sunday Morning Worship
10:00 AM

Bible Studies
NOON & 6:30 PM


Get in touch

Covenant Baptist UCC
3845 South Capitol Street
Washington, DC 20032



Connect with us

CFPDC Logo White