Summary of Meeting with Bethlehem Lutheran on January 18, 2024

Summary of Meeting with Bethlehem Lutheran on January 18, 2024

It was a very successful  first meeting. Canon Rich Simpson opened the meeting with prayer and then we introduced ourselves. It was quickly clear that we are all in agreement about finding a way to share Pastor Dan’s time and that Pastor Dan is excited about this opportunity to serve both parishes. Everyone was interested in making a plan that would be mutually beneficial to both parishes and would support Pastor Dan in this new role, and we worked together well. It was made clear that we are agreeing to a trial to see how this works out rather than making permanent commitments. 

The folks at Bethlehem Lutheran were open about the fact that they have financial urgency and are hopeful Holy Trinity can cover 50% of Pastor Dan’s compensation package. Despite the urgency, they are looking at this in a positive way that will be mutually beneficial and support the spiritual growth of both parishes rather than acting from a place of scarcity and fear. We agreed with this perspective.

As the Lutheran folks were clear about their hope that we could cover 50% of Pastor Dan’s compensation package, Susan shared that there is a possibility Holy Trinity could not cover that amount. The Lutheran folks were open to that possibility but obviously would like to know as soon as possible what we can bring to the table. Pastor Dan, Terri and Mike didn’t have exact figures, but said Pastor Dan’s annual salary package is between $90,000 and $95,000 annually.

Canon Rich expressed his hope that we would be able to find a way to cover 50% as it easier from a logistics standpoint to have a 50/50 sharing. Boundaries and expectations will be difficult, at least at first, but with a 50/50 sharing it would be a little easier.  It is important for us to provide definite information about this as soon as possible but it was clear this meeting was not the place to finalize that decision.

It’s clear that this will not be an easy discussion for us, but it is one we need to have as soon as possible. To proceed in good faith and full transparency, we need to be clear about what percentage of Pastor Dan’s compensation we are able to cover.

We also discussed some of the dynamics involved for both parishes. While it will be new for Bethlehem Lutheran to adjust to having a half-time priest, they are ready for this and are aware that this will be an important focus of work for them. Their process is different than ours. While both Terrie and Mike were confident that everyone in their parish is aware of what is coming and of the meeting on Thursday, there has been no official announcement or formal discussion. Decisions are made by the congregation, not the Council. They have an annual meeting on February 4th during which the congregation will be formally presented with this option and will vote whether or not to authorize the Council to proceed with conversations about partnering with Holy Trinity. Both Terrie and Mike expect the vote will be affirmative.

Adding to this is learning to share their priest with another parish. Pastor Dan will also have to balance the loss of a full-time relationship with the Lutheran parish with the excitement of forming new relationships. While we are used to having a part-time priest, we have never had to share a priest with another parish. This will require working things out, not only with Pastor Dan, but also with the Council at Bethlehem Lutheran, which will be new for us.


  1. Holy Trinity Vestry needs to decide what percentage of compensation we can support as soon as possible. This discussion will start with the Executive Committee, perhaps in combination with the Finance Committee, and then brought to the Vestry.
  2. Once this is decided we should work on a draft of a Covenant.
  3. We will email a copy of the Mutual Ministry Covenant that was approved by the Vestry in June 2022 to Terrie Novack to help them with their transition
  4. February 25th: Pulpit Swap so Holy Trinity and Pastor Dan meet each other in shared worship and fellowship, and Mother Judith will lead worship at Bethlehem Lutheran
  5. The Vestry will meet with Pastor Dan after the 25th, either later that same day or on another day that week as a formal interview as we consider calling him to be our Priest-in-Charge. We can make the decision at that meeting (after he leaves) or in another meeting.
  6. March 10th 1-4 pm: Vestry/Council retreat at Holy Trinity to work out the details: new times for worship, percentage of time for each parish, coordinating other meetings/activities that Pastor Dan needs to attend for both to ensure we don’t schedule on the same day/time.

Submitted by
Lynn Garland, Senior Warden