Beginning Ministry Together is about the transition period between the announcement that one pastor is leaving and the time when another pastor is well settled. The message brought by Roy Oswald and colleagues Jim and Ann Heath is that this is not an impossible time to be survived only with a lot of expert help. Rather, even though the task is complex, committed congregational leaders can handle it—with the help of people who have been on this journey before. Oswald describes how clergy and congregations can better end and begin pastorates. He shows them how to say good-bye and discern their needs for the future—how to use the open space between pastorates for evaluation and preparation for a new day.
Roy M. Oswald is a senior consultant with the Alban Institute with a number of Alban titles to his credit. He has provided leadership for hundreds of conferences and training events in the U.S. and Canada. A variety of denominations have called on him to focus on the pastoral role and the dynamics of parish leadership. He also frequently consults with local congregations and judicatories where his planning model utilizes norms, myths and meaning statements from a church's past. Roy Oswald is identified with research into the transitions clergy make when they enter parishes for the first time and for clergy in longer pastorates. More recently he has headed studies of the candidacy process, leadership needs of small congregations, and new methodology for assessing ministries using clergy/lay teams. James M. Heath is a retired teacher of classics at Bucknell University and a transition companion in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Ann W. Heath is a retired elementary school teacher and a founding member of Union-Snyder Habitat for Humanity.