We want to keep you informed of our “transition processes” as soon as reasonably possible.
When we learned of Senior Pastor Jeff Hoffmeyer’s decision to resign, that reality immediately raised a number of issues in terms of our ongoing church leadership.
In order to address those issues, the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry advised us to set up a Transition Team with Session’s approval. This team determined that, with our church now functioning with only two of our four pastoral positions being filled, it would be most wise and helpful to find an Interim Pastor as soon as possible.
As we began an initial search for an Interim Pastor, the Transition Team received recommendations from Presbytery and also became aware that our prior Interim Pastor, Dr. Gareth Icenogle, would soon be completing his second Interim position (this one at Laguna Presbyterian Church) since he concluded his time with us in 2017. We contacted Gareth to see if he might be available and interested in again being an Interim Pastor with us. He said he would be! When we asked him what might be his earliest availability, he stated that he would be finishing his Interim with Laguna at the end of November, and, that he could start with LCPC on December 1.
The Transition Team sought input from most of our staff who had previously worked with Gareth and received overall positive feedback. They then called a special meeting of Session this past Wednesday so that Session could “Zoom” interview Gareth and bring any questions or concerns they might have directly to him. After a good discussion, the Session voted overwhelmingly in favor of inviting Gareth to be our Interim Pastor, starting December 1.
We then sought the necessary approval from our Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, which they provided at a meeting held on Thursday evening. (Note: Calls to an Interim Pastor only require a vote of the Session, unlike calls to an Installed Pastor).
So … we are grateful to share this good news with you that Gareth, who knows and loves our congregation (and considers LCPC his “home” church), will be joining us starting December 1. Welcome “home” Gareth!
We asked Gareth to create a video introduction which you can view above. We hope you’ll watch his message to our church.
October 22, 2020
Dear LCPC member,
We are writing to let you know that at Wednesday evening’s Session meeting, Jeff Hoffmeyer submitted his resignation as Senior Pastor of La Canada Presbyterian Church.
After much thought, prayer, discernment and consultation with Presbytery, Jeff has discerned that this call was not the right fit for him, or for LCPC. Session understands and accepted Jeff’s decision, as did Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry.
Jeff joined LCPC in May 2017 after an 18-month national search with a charge to implement a new vision for our church, which was developed by a visioning committee made up of LCPC members in 2016. Under Jeff’s leadership, the important foundational work of that effort is nearly complete, in spite of the global pandemic. In addition, Jeff's sermons, his leadership of Bible studies, and his emphasis on building community through Life Groups encouraged and inspired many to a deeper faith and closer walk with Jesus. His exuberant "Good morning, Church!" demonstrated the joy in Jesus that he wanted to share with us all.
As is customary in the Presbyterian church, Jeff’s desire to dissolve his call requires some procedural steps to complete, starting with a congregational meeting. Therefore, Session has called an online congregational meeting to be held on Sunday, Nov. 1st, at 11:30am, following the 10:30 a.m. service, to vote on the dissolution of the pastoral relationship between Jeff and LCPC. At this meeting, the congregation also will be asked to approve the terms of severance that have been negotiated with Jeff and approved by Session.
Also on that day, at 4pm, there will be a drive-through celebration of Jeff and his ministry in the LCPC parking lot. This is an opportunity to thank Jeff for his ministry and to wish him and his family well as they begin the journey to Jeff’s next calling.
Session is working with the Presbytery to identify, interview and onboard an interim pastor to help lead us through the next phase of this process. In the meantime, Associate Pastors Chuck Osburn and Cindy Frost will serve as Acting Interim Co-Pastors.
While Jeff's ministry at LCPC did not last as long as either Jeff or we had hoped, we know that in everything God has purpose and plans – for Jeff and for our church. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Thank for you keeping Jeff, his family and LCPC in your prayers.
La Canada Presbyterian Church Session Ruling Elders
Greg Jones Jack Gunther Lisa Corbett Lynne Graves
Brent Assink Katrina Harbers Mike Webster Grace Cho
Robert Cox Doug Faber Jim Hartman David Lamb
Catherine Rayer Virginia Frederich Courtney Thomas Ross Coleman
Lauren Diehl Clarissa Weirick Elizabeth Toms
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
- Why did Jeff resign and what were the factors in his decision?
After 3 ½ years as Senior Pastor, Jeff discerned that his call to LCPC was not the right fit for him, or LCPC. After much thought and prayer, Jeff determined that there was a lack of alignment between his leadership style and LCPC’s needs. Therefore, Jeff has chosen to resign and dissolve the Call between him, the Presbytery, and LCPC. Session and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry agree with Jeff’s decision to resign.
- Did Jeff confer with the LCPC Session?
On October 15th, Jeff conferred with the Session before announcing his resignation. The ordained Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders were asked to affirm Jeff’s decision, and they did so on October 21st.
- Does Presbytery have to approve this resignation and dissolution?
The Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry has already approved this resignation. After the Congregational Meeting, the Committee on Ministry will proceed to take the action to Presbytery to concur in dissolving the relationship.
- Is Jeff receiving a severance package, and who prepared the severance package?
Yes. The Session approved a committee of six people to prepare the severance package, in coordination with the Personnel Committee, Financial Management Committee, Senior Pastor, and Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry. The six people on the committee were: Catherine Rayer and Lauren Diehl (the Chair and Vice Chair of the Personnel Committee), Greg Jones and Brent Assink (the Chair and Vice Chair of the Financial Management Committee), elder Gini Frederich (Ruling Elder for Youth Ministry), and Mike Gibney (a member of our church and a member of the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry.)
- How were the elements of the severance package decided?
LCPC has a long history of being generous with its departing Senior Pastors. The committee considered historical information, Presbytery guidelines, the current financial situation of the church, next year’s budget increases, and the fact that Jeff is not leaving for another call.
Some may ask how this package compared to Gary Dennis’ severance package. As you know, Gary and Jeff brought different levels of experience and served different lengths of time as LCPC’s Senior Pastor. The two packages are unique to each individual and his circumstances.
- What will happen to Jeff’s home in LCF?
The home will be sold, LCPC’s loan will be repaid, and profits will be allocated in accordance with Jeff’s housing agreement. LCPC is not on the title. Jeff is responsible to put the home on the market and a sale date is undetermined at this point.
- Should we worry about our usual December financial giving?
LCPC members have been exceedingly faithful in past years and throughout this year. God enables givers to meet their obligations and call to support the ministries of LCPC. We fully trust his grace will lead end of year funding that will keep LCPC whole. While LCPC revenue has declined in the last few months, LCPC has benefited by special gifts, grants, the PPP loan, and reduced expenses. Provided giving in December 2020 follows the trends of the previous years, with the reduced expenses, gifts, grants, and PPP loan, along with the normal release of some reserve funding used for Operating Budget offsets, financials should close 2020 with LCPC’s reserve accounts largely intact.
- How will Jeff’s decision impact the church financially?
Although revenue from giving had reduced somewhat during this COVID time, LCPC members have responded well to the Arise capital campaign and other financial commitments in designated gifts in support of endowments and church ministries. Significant giving is God’s work in the lives of those able. His grace toward the hearts of donors and givers will not wane.
- Will there be a send-off for Jeff and his family?
Yes. On Sunday, November 1, there will be a congregational meeting immediately following the 10:30 am online service—at which the congregation votes to dissolve Jeff’s call. That day, there will also be a drive-through good-bye party in LCPC’s parking lot so that members and attendees of LCPC can share their good wishes for Jeff and his family.
- What happens next? Do we search for an Interim Pastor?
LCPC will work with Presbytery to call an Interim Pastor. In the meantime, our Associate Pastors, worship committee, and staff will prepare a preaching schedule for our staff and guest preachers. Additionally, the Session will work with staff and Presbytery to ensure that all areas of responsibility are covered until our Interim Pastor is called.
- Will we need to go through the whole PNC process again for our next Senior Pastor?
Yes. According to Presbytery processes, once the Presbytery approves the effective dissolution date of the existing pastoral relationship, the Session will propose a committee to choose a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). Upon Session and Congregation approval, the PNC will begin their search process. Once the PNC selects their final candidate, a report is finalized and approved by the Presbytery and the Session. A Congregational meeting will be called to approve the PNC’s recommendation and the Session’s “Call.”
- We are in the middle of a pandemic, an unfinished capital campaign, and a time of deep division in our country. This does not seem like the best time to be making a leadership change. Why now?
As previously mentioned, this discernment appropriately included our Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, the Session of our Church, and many of you. While the timing does not seem ideal, we will successfully transition to the next phase of this process—as we have done before. LCPC will continue strong in our ministries, in supporting our mission partners, and remaining a beacon of Christian love and salvation in the Communities we serve.
- How is the staff reacting to this news? Specifically, Chuck and Cindy?
Chuck and Cindy are saddened by Jeff’s resignation, but they understand it. Chuck and Cindy are seasoned pastors who understand the rigors of leading and managing a vibrant and diverse church like LCPC.
As well, our dedicated and hard-working staff members are all professionals who recognized that leadership changes are a part of any large organization. Many of our staff members have prior experience with such changes, including ones involving Gary Dennis and Gareth Icenogle. Our staff members are committed to and focused on carrying out LCPC’s mission and ministries. Please keep them in your prayers as we transition to a new chapter.
- How do we find unity as a congregation during this time? Some people will feel sad, confused, and angry over this news. How do we respond?
Our hope is that we will all aspire to these words from Colossians 3:12-15:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace…”
LCPC has been built and sustained by faithful members for more than 70 years. We are a vibrant and diverse church with a worldwide footprint of mission and ministries, anchored in the love of Christ. God’s faithfulness has carried us through many seasons, and God’s faithfulness will carry us through today and the days to come. Of course, we will have differing experiences, feelings, and opinions. It will take time for us to come to terms with this difficult news. And, amidst all of this, we are an LCPC family—brothers and sisters in Christ—and we are called to peace.
LCPC’s leadership—Our pastors and directors, our Session, and our Deacons are united in Christ, and we are here for you. We will continue to lead with prayerfulness, faithfulness, and love.