Transition Announcements

This page will contain updates on the transitional period – check back for updates.

Moderators can be reached at moderator@countrysideucc.org and the Transition Leadership Committee can be reached at tlc@countrysideucc.org.

Welcome

Pastor Anna Crews Camphouse, Interim Minister of Engagement and Formation (Job Description | PDF), and Pastor Tracey Perry, Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care (Job Description | PDF).

ALL CHURCH ZOOM MEETING

Countryside Welcomes Our Two New Ministers!
Sunday, May 2, 11:00 a.m. via Zoom.
Following the 10:30 a.m. service.

Meet our new interim Ministers, Pastor Anna Crews Camphouse and Pastor Tracey Perry, learn about other opportunities to meet our new ministers and receive updates from the Countryside Moderators.
Get the Zoom link HERE.

Announcement

Reverend Elka Tracey Perry will be joining Countryside Community Church as Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care 

Press Release

Congregational Letter from the Moderator Team

April 13, 2021

Dear Countryside,

Your Moderator Team, with Church Council’s approval, is excited to make another announcement.  Reverend Elka Tracey Perry will be joining our church as Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care on May 1, 2021.  She worked as a government contractor for years and for a period at the Pentagon.  Pastor Tracey, as she prefers to be called, felt called to ministry.  She has served congregations in Colorado, Maryland and Washington, D.C.  She is excited to work with the members of Countryside, especially in congregational care, which is a particular love of hers.

When asked why this position interested her, Pastor Tracey, said, “Pastoral Care, preaching and teaching God’s Word, and engaging the youth and church at large, are my areas of interest, and where I thrive.” Her preaching style promises to engage, challenge, and teach the congregation in new ways.  She says, “I’m a teaching preacher…I’m not pro-Democrat or pro-Republican.  I’m pro-Jesus.”  We discovered that she is somebody who finds healing and hope in laughter.

Pastor Tracey brings experience in social justice work and loves to invite the larger community into her church work.  Pastor Tracey has been a Keynote Speaker at Women’s Retreats, and a Guest Speaker in churches. She has sat on panels for racial justice, and she spoke on a research study panel on “Race, Religion and Policing”, for Yale University. She has worked with the police department, in collaboration with other Pastors, to assist and bring about healing and faith based guidance, to the police officers, for interaction with minorities and Black communities, in Maryland. Pastor Tracey taught a curriculum she created, for a class for Pastors and lay leaders in Washington D.C., on race and preaching.  She has experience with interfaith dialogue, having partnered with other faith traditions in the past.

Pastor Tracey likes communication and discussed it at length during her interview process.  She knows that we are a community dealing with grief and transition and sees this as the first challenge moving into this position, to make sure that people feel heard and know that they have a place in our church family.

She wants to get to know as many people as possible in her first days and weeks with us, and brings a great passion and ability for pastoral care and community building.  Pastor Tracey and her husband, William, will be joining our church family as soon as possible, as she hopes to be in Omaha before the first of May.

She will complement the gifts and skill sets of Rev. Dr. Anna Crews Camphouse and Dan Loven-Crum in our new collaborative leadership model.  These three will comprise the Executive Leadership Team during our interim period. We are excited by what she will teach us, and the opportunities this leadership team will bring to strengthen Countryside and lead us in the ministry to which God has called us.

With joy and love,
Tracey Halvorson, Moderator
Aubrey Fitzke, Vice Moderator
Diane Poots, Vice Moderator Elect


Announcement

Reverend Dr. Anna Crews Camphouse will be joining Countryside Community Church as Interim Minister of Engagement and Formation 

Click HERE to view an Introductory video from Pastor Anna.
Congregational Letter from the Moderator Team

March 31, 2021

Dear Countryside,

Your Moderator Team, with Church Council’s approval, is excited to announce that Reverend Dr. Anna Crews Camphouse will be joining our church as Interim Minister of Engagement and Formation on May 1, 2021. Dr. Crews Camphouse comes to Countryside from Eastern Sierra Shared Ministry in Owens Valley, California, where she is currently the Senior Pastor.  Dr. Anna has over twenty years of experience in intercultural communication, community organizing, mentoring, political action, church management, and health advocacy.  She has a background in ICU nursing, decades of pastoral experience, and a doctorate in pastoral care and counseling, which is a unique combination of attributes the Transition Leadership Committee (TLC) felt would help lead Countryside through the end of the pandemic and into a collective future where our heart for love of God and neighbor shine brightly.

Pastor Anna, as she prefers to be called, impressed everyone with her energy, creativity, and experience.  She shared her vision for the first 100 days working within our community.  Highlights of that vision included recognizing that a primary need of our congregation is working through our collective grief.  When asked why this position interested her, Pastor Anna said, “The thing that gives me life, is the creativity involved in the Engagement Minister.  Freedom to be me. This is the thing I like better. I don’t usually get to do this because I’m [currently] in the ‘senior’ pastor role…. It’s in my wheelhouse.  This sounds like fun to get up and do in the morning.”  Pastor Anna has a love of small group ministry and believes that this is the best way for members to feel engaged in the congregation–especially in a large church like ours. She will also complement Dan Loven-Crum in his role as the Interim Director of Vision and Stewardship, combining his wisdom of all things Countryside with her fresh look at how we can most fully live into our partnership as the Christian presence on the Tri-Faith Commons.

March 30, 2021   Pastor Anna grew up in what she calls U.C.L.A.—the unknown corner of lower Alabama. She has spent most of her adult life in California serving churches throughout the central and southern California regions.  She is passionate about social justice, climate justice, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, intercultural work, and interfaith collaboration.  Anna’s husband of 17 years is Rev. David Camphouse.  After twenty years of pastoral ministry, David is looking to have a change of career, exploring opportunities in human resources jobs in Omaha.  They have three children whom Anna has been homeschooling this year due to the pandemic. Sophia is twelve and in the 6th grade.  Paul and John are identical twins who are eight years old.  They are in the second grade.  “It would be a great joy for my family to have the pleasure of rearing my children in a faith community that shares my values.” She will be traveling to Omaha to start at Countryside on May 1 and her husband David and children will follow soon afterwards. We look forward to welcoming Pastor Anna to Countryside Community Church!

The Personnel Committee is also very close to having a candidate to recommend to Church Council for the Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care position. Things are getting very exciting for the future of Countryside!

With joy and love,
Tracey Halvorson, Moderator
Aubrey Fitzke, Vice Moderator
Diane Poots, Vice Moderator Elect

Press Release


Information Congregational Informational Meeting – January 24

This all church meeting included updates from the Transition Leadership Committee and Restart Task Force.  Also, a look ahead at February and Lent.  See below for copies of the presentations, recording of the meeting, and contact information shared during the meeting.

Presentation Slides and Meeting Recording

January 24 Meeting Recording | YouTube

Re-Opening Task Force Presentation | PDF

February and Lent Church Look Ahead | PDF

Contact Information

Contact the Moderators –  moderator@countrysideucc.org

Contact the Transition Leadership Committee (TLC) – tlc@countrysideucc.org

Contact the Re-Start Task Force – taskforce@countrysideucc.org


Transition Leadership Committee’s (TLC) Request

Calling all Church Members.  Please help in brainstorming, reaching out, praying for potential interim candidates. The more we as Countrysiders are reaching out and thinking about and praying for our next candidates, the wider and deeper the pool of individuals there are to hire the best interims.  Please use the attached sample letters to modify and send to any potential candidates you may know.  Or send names to tlc@countrysideucc.org and the committee can reach out to them on behalf of the church.

Transition Letter Invitation to Local Leaders | Word Document

Transition Letter Invitation to Colleagues | Word Document


Congregational Informational Meeting on Zoom – December 27

Russ Schertz, moderator, hosted an informational meeting for the congregation on December 27. At the meeting Rev. Darrell Goodwin, members of the the Transition Leadership Committee (Tracey  Halvorson, Stacey Warner, and Aubrey Fitzke) and Dan Loven-Crum presented information about the transition process and next steps as we go into 2021.

Links to information shared at the meeting

Q&A’s from the Meeting | PDF

Recording of the Meeting | Video

Job Description – Interim Minister of Engagement and Formation | PDF

Job Description – Interim Minister of Worship and Congregational Care  | PDF

Contact the Moderators –  moderator@countrysideucc.org

Contact the Transition Leadership Committee (TLC) – tlc@countrysideucc.org


Mary Scifres Hired to Guide Countryside Through Transition

In light of the many changes, challenges, and opportunities we are facing at Countryside, your Transition Leadership Committee has hired a transition and turnaround specialist, Rev. Mary Scifres, to coach and consult with us on our transition journey. Mary comes to us at the recommendation of her colleague and our friend, Marcia McFee. As coach and consultant, Mary guides churches and leaders to reclaim their purpose and refocus their mission, unifying and energizing their ministry in the process. Experienced with churches, Conferences, and leadership teams from across the nation, Mary brings both demographic expertise and a broad perspective of regional differences, cultural shifts, generational challenges, and leadership needs. Trained in organizational development, Mary works with teams to achieve conflict competence, unified sense of purpose, and clarity of direction and rejoices when her churches begin moving forward together with renewed energy and enthusiasm. We look forward to this same clarity of focus and renewal of hope as Mary works alongside us in this time of transition. Visit Mary’s website (www.maryscifres.com) to learn more about Mary and her work.


Associate Minister Resignation – December 2020

Congregational Letter from the Moderators and Transition Leadership Committee 12/9/20

Congregational Letter from the Church Moderator 12/7/20

Resignation Letter from Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander 12/5/20


Transition Update – November 2020

Transition Leadership Committee (TLC) members Aubrey Fitzke, Diane Poots, Stacey Warner, Dan Loven-Crum and Tracey Halvorson have been meeting frequently with Countryside leaders, staff, and groups, as well as outside Countryside advisors, experts, and references. We developed
a hybrid model of leadership that encompasses the priorities identified in the feedback we have received. At the October meeting of all Boards, we shared the Interim Model of Collaborative Leadership. Collaboration was the key priority that we heard from both staff and Countryside members. This model and the job description were approved unanimously by Church Council at their October meeting, and will be submitted, with our updated church profile, to our conference minister for approval to post on the UCC website. Our new Interim Associate Minister of Worship and Congregational Care will be responsible for leadership of worship and our interim discernment process leading to assembling a search team and calling our new settled pastor. This person will also lead our worship planning, music and arts, A/V and pastoral care areas. In this interim leadership model, we also prioritized our existing staff resources, especially Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander and Dan Loven-Crum, and although a new voice will lead worship and discernment, we expect the voices and talents of both Chris and Dan to be strong influences in the planning and implementation of both worship and the discernment process. Chris, as the Interim Associate Minister of Engagement and Formation, will lead our Tri-Faith Initiative partnership and faith formation, through work with youth and family ministries, Center for Faith Studies, member engagement, and representing Countryside on the Tri-Faith Initiative Board. Dan will act as the Interim Director of Vision and Stewardship, lead our financial stewardship and growth, and oversee operations, visioning, Countryside Foundation, and staff development. Chris and the new minister will share equally in administering the sacraments of communion and baptism, and officiating at weddings and funerals. It is important to know that this is the interim model for collaborative leadership at Countryside.
We have taken great time to discern the three main public facing responsibilities the Senior Minister position has led in the past, and divide those evenly among the three leaders. We intentionally choose the two main distinct areas of leadership and responsibility for each individual leader, to not overload any one of the three leaders, but allow all three to have input in every area. This model will continue to be a work in progress throughout our interim time. The discernment process will be our opportunity as community to evaluate how this model fits us, and decide what changes, if any, need to be made before the search committee is formed.  We are excited for this new opportunity that God is leading us to, and we ask you to continue to
share feedback with us and keep us and our leaders in your prayers.
Joy and peace,
Tracey Halvorson and the Transition Leadership Committee
tlc@countrysideucc.org

Questions & Answers
Question: How will salary be structured?
We are leveling the salary playing field among the Leadership Team, to allow for expectations
among these three to be similar regarding time commitment, responsibilities, workload, and
leadership expectations.
Question: In a collaborative setting, who has the final say?
In a collaborative leadership team environment, each of the three leaders will be fully
responsible for decision making “final say” within their area of expertise. They will do this in
collaboration with the other two leader’s input and help, where appropriate. Also, a new
Leadership Relations Committee will be available to help if the decision comes to an impasse,
and they are unable to resolve it themselves.
Responsibilities need to be stated specifically, not generally.
Each leadership position will have a clear job description. There is a fair division of the
responsibilities needed to lead Countryside among the three members of the Executive
Leadership Team, with advice and oversight for them by the Leadership Relations Committee.
This model will be fine-tuned as we move forward, based on input from these three leaders, the
Leadership Relations Committee, Church Council, staff and Moderators.
Interim Designations
To be clear, the Interim designation in each job title in our Interim Model of Collaborative
Leadership is a reference to the interim nature of both this collaborative leadership model, and
the job title and responsibilities of our three leaders during our interim period. Chris and Dan
themselves aren’t “temporary” interims for anything but their job titles and leadership roles.
They will continue as staff beyond the interim period, as their job descriptions are defined by the
congregation-wide discernment process.


Senior Minister Resignation – September 2020

On September 1, Countryside Community Church announced the resignation of our senior minister, Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes. In the letter sent out to our congregation the Moderators acknowledged, “Eric’s painful, but prayerful, decision that now is the right time to step away and follow his next calling to Portland, Oregon.” His last day at Countryside will be November 30, 2020. The Council will vote on a motion to establish a Transition Leadership Committee consisting of the following members: Tracey Halvorson, Aubrey Fitzke, Diane Poots, and Stacey Warner. Dan Loven-Crum will be a non-voting member of this team. This team is not a settled pastor search committee but rather a team to determine:

  • Countryside’s immediate and long-term needs as we prepare to call our next senior minister.
  • The best fit forward for Countryside in this transitional interim time.
  • How best to work within Countryside bylaws to establish a search committee.

We wish Eric and Melanie all of our love and blessings as they journey to their new home in Oregon.

September 1, 2020: Rev. Dr. Eric Elnes Resignation Letter

September 1, 2020: Congregational Letter