PNC Updates for Members


What is the Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC)?

When a church is without a pastor, or after the effective date of the dissolution of the pastoral relationship, the congregation shall, with the guidance and permission of the Committee on Ministry, proceed to elect a pastor in the following manner. The session shall call a congregational meeting to elect a nominating committee, which shall be representative of the whole congregation. The committee’s duty shall be to nominate a minister to the congregation for election as pastor. Public notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting shall be given at least ten days in advance, which shall include two successive Sundays.
PNC Members: Jessica Cerino, Carole Cook, Robin Hoy, Josh McMahon, Anita McNamara, David Seaman, Pam Shaw, Alan Smith, Gary Zanfagna.


2017 Mission Study Report

The downloadable document is the final report derived from the Mission Study Task Force congregational meetings. Click the title above to download the document. The report contains a short summary, a section with analysis of the input collected at the Mission Study Task sessions and an appendix with background information used for the Mission Study.

The Presbyterian Church in Westfield (PCW) Mission Study report has been approved by the PCW Session, and by the Elizabeth Presbytery on May 8, 2017. The report will now be provided to the PNC for use in their efforts to call a Pastor-Head of Staff. Additionally, the report will be made available to our staff, Session and Deacons for use in ongoing efforts as they assess and consider priorities, ministries and programs. The Mission Study team is grateful for the open and sincere participation on the part of the congregation without whom this document would not have been possible.

Questions regarding the content of this document may be addressed to the co-moderators of the Mission Study Task Force; Alan Smith and Martha Kieczykowski at or
PNC – Pastoral Nominating Committee
PCW – The Presbyterian Church in Westfield MSTF – Mission Study Task Force
MIF – Ministry Information Form
PIF – Pastor Information Form
September 2018 Update

Your PNC continues to actively work through the summer sourcing and assessing new potential candidates. We are working with more than 70 network contacts who are helping us with suggestions for handling the search process, praying for us, as well as sharing potential people for us to reach out to.  We are receiving strong affirmation that we are on the right track and encouraging words for us to stay the course as the Spirit continues to work within the process.  Our hope and prayer is that the pastor the Spirit is calling is among those we are connecting with. The congregation shared written prayers with the PNC following the July 22nd services. These provided some strong encouragement to the PNC members and at a very important time in our journey as a PNC. And we used them as an opening devotion and prayer for an interview we were conducting the following week. Our thanks and appreciation for these and other prayers from all of us on the PNC.  

August 2018 Update

The PNC reached our one-year anniversary of meeting the second week of July.  We continue with energy and focus on finding our next called Senior Pastor.  We can tell you that we have had lots of laughter and some disappointment and tears. We have actively been discerning what a “call” is and what characteristics we are looking for in our next called pastor.  We have learned and added to our collective view from each one of the many conversations we have had with past pastors, network contacts and possible candidates. The PNC has gotten close with several candidates, but the Spirit was not willing, so we continue to search.  In most cases it was not the right time in the candidate’s life to move to New Jersey. Currently we are looking at approximately 20 possible candidates and are conducting individual and team interviews.  We are also speaking with an additional 50 networking connections. Among those are some very influential pastors in our denomination including Tom Tewell, Todd Jones, Tom Kort Scott Black Johnson, Jim Singleton, David Joynt and many others. The key characteristics we are looking for in a candidate include: excellence in preaching and teaching from the scriptures; strong pastoral leadership from both the front and from behind; a strong sense of joy and magnetism to break through the secular distractions around us; and administrative experience to lead a large church. We have learned that it is very difficult to find candidates in the 40-55-year range.  Therefore, we are speaking with younger and older candidates than we originally thought we would.  We also have been told that the PNC is providing a mission when we speak with possible candidates because it assists them in evaluating and assessing where they are in their own call process. We want to thank all of you for the prayers that you wrote on Sunday, 7/15/18 for the PNC and our future minister.   We had an interview with a possible candidate on 7/18/18 and used your prayers to open the conversation.  Thank you also for your continued prayers.

July 2018 Update

What happens at the PNC meetings? Each meeting is opened with a devotion and opening prayer by a PNC member on a rotating basis. We spend time reviewing and discussing PIF’s; discussing what we have learned from speaking with networking contacts; determining if there are follow up actions; speaking with potential candidates; and planning for visits with candidates- either here in New Jersey and at the person’s home church.  Each meeting is closed in prayer. Everyone has taken on different roles in helping the PNC process to move forward.

  • Jessica Cerino and Robin Hoy are the “technology gurus”. We are now using the Google Hang Out app when we meet with possible candidates via technology. Jessica manages the Google Docs files which all PNC members have access to.  She also corresponds with potential candidates once the PNC decides we are not going forward with that person.
  • Carole Cook typed the PCW MIF on the CLC website. She copies new PIF’s from the CLC website and puts them into Google Docs. She does networking and reaching out to potential candidates.
  • Josh McMahon writes and performs the role of editing when the rest of us write something that will be published. He does networking and reaching out to potential candidates.
  • Anita McNamara is our “go to” person to open interviews/discussions with prayer when we meet with potential candidates.
  • David Seaman does networking and reaches out to speak with potential candidates.
  • Gary Zanfagna does networking working with several of the seminaries.
  • Alan Smith is the PNC Co-Chair. He usually chairs the meetings and takes the minutes. He has become a recruiter because he loves talking to networking contacts and possible candidates. He helps the PNC to identify what we have learned from each person we speak with.
  • Pam Shaw is the PNC Co-Chair. She chairs the meeting as needed. She updates and distributes the weekly PNC Timeline/Agenda to all members. She writes the monthly PNC report to Session and the Spire article.
  • Warren Braunwarth is our representative from the Presbytery Committee on Ministry. He helps us to understand and navigate the PNC process and keeps us out of trouble.

  Every member of the PNC has a voice and a vote when making decisions.  We all respect and listen to each other’s opinions. The great thing is that we laugh a lot.  There are times over the past year when we have been excited, sad, hopeful, and discouraged but we push onward as we search and discern who God had chosen to be our next minister. Thank you for your continuing prayers and patience.

June 2018 Update

The PNC has received and reviewed over 80 PIF’s.  We are still in different stages of the interview process with several candidates.  We have had highs and lows over the past few weeks. We are discussing with the candidates the things PCW is doing during this interim time.  We have shared that a Task Force of Session is reviewing the rolls and that we are no longer a congregation of 1200 people.  The PNC has interviewed both male and female candidates. The candidates have ranged in age from late 30’s and early 40’s to mid to late 50’s. After the second interview each member of the PNC expresses his/her thoughts about the candidate and an evaluation is filled out.  The evaluation includes critical areas identified by the PNC that our new Pastor, Head of Staff should excel in. This is the evaluation we are using: Critical Areas in which Pastor, Head of Staff Should Excel:

  • Worship Leadership – substance, impact, challenge, “loving” and confident – not just desiring to “be loved.” Skilled at preparing AND delivering impactful sermons.
  • Teaching – heart for sharing knowledge, spiritual maturity, innovative/creative.  Personally growing and sharing.  Great preaching/teaching during worship.
  • Administration – leads with enthusiasm, energy and vision, stable and confident, inspires/earns respect, works collaboratively with staff.
  • Pastoring and Nurturing – Has a heart for congregant care and knows how/when to delegate as well as lead.
  • Fellowship/Service – Can inspire by example, is active in mission and community outreach.
  • Leadership Development – Positive mentor, develops talent, able to master systems and inspire high performance and deep engagement.
  • Evangelism – Communications to drive evangelism and engage in worship – blogs, PowerPoint, multi-media.   

The PNC thanks you for your continuing support, patience and prayers.

May 2018 Update

The PNC has received 80 Pastor Information Form’s (PIF). We are currently in different stages of the interview process with 3 women and 4 men. Our best possible candidate’s names have come to us through referrals and networking. The Tuesday afternoon small group has been doing a study (DVD with a book) called “Making a Difference” by James A. Hornish. He states: “My pastoral experience has confirmed that when a congregation is centered on a clear, compelling, and commonly held mission, faithful disciples can handle diversity of conviction about practices that are on the circumference of their life together. The mission that unites them is stronger than the differences that would divide them.”

During the Mission Study process the congregation affirmed that our current Mission statement is still valid. The PCW Mission statement states:

As a community rooted in grace, our mission is to:

  • Invite people into a relationship with God
  • Grow together as devoted followers of Christ, and
  • Serve others through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our mission drives the decision-making process at PCW. The Session, Deacons and staff use the PCW mission when discussing and deciding the key things that each commission/committee will work on; evaluating suggestions and new ideas; and determining if some things will no longer be done. The PNC is looking for our next Senior Pastor to assist the congregation in implementing our current mission. We ask all candidates that we speak with if he/she has a concern about coming to our church which has an established mission. Thank you for your continued prayers for the PNC and for our next Senior Pastor.  

April 2018 Update

The PNC has received over 70 PIF’s and conducted over 5 interviews. We continue to review PIF’s and interview possible candidates. We are still meeting weekly-even by telephone conference call-when the weather prevents us from meeting in person. Leslie Dobbs-Allsop, the Interim Presbytery Leader for Elizabeth Presbytery, attended one of our meetings. She provided some additional contacts and made suggestions of other ways for us to get the word out that PCW is looking for a Senior Minister.

We have found that the best candidates come to us through referrals. We continue to welcome contact names for possible candidates or networking contacts. Email if you have any referrals.





March 2018 Update

The PNC has received over 65 Pastor Information Forms (PIF’s). We continue to participate in preliminary interviews with possible candidates. Our best source of qualified candidates has been by “referral” or “word of mouth”. Please contact any member of the PNC by email at, if you know a minister that might be a good candidate or have a suggestion of someone we should speak with. We are in the process of reaching out to the Synod and large presbyteries around the country. The PNC is excited to have had input in the creation of the new tri-fold information brochure that was developed by Communications, Outreach and Welcome and Worship Commission. This brochure describes the opportunities that PCW offers for all ages; includes a list of staff and their contact information; and includes our Vision and Mission statements. The brochures are located in the pews, Westminster Hall & in the Church Office.  

February 2018 Update

The PNC has received over 50 Pastor Information Forms (PIF) so far. We had a few preliminary interviews in January. We continue to receive PIF’s and referrals through networking. Please speak with any PNC member if you have a name of a minister who might be a candidate or if you know someone we should talk to that might have names for us. The PNC uses PCW’s Mission statement when responding to questions from candidates during our interviews. We are very clear with the candidates that PCW currently has a vision and a mission. We are looking for our new Senior Minister to help us continue to implement the current vision and mission- not create new ones. Watch out for the new PCW Information Brochure in the pews with our mission and vision on the back panel. The goal is for all commissions, committees and congregants to evaluate all of the things we are doing to make sure that they further our mission. If not, it may be time to stop doing that particular thing and look for something new. Please continue to be aware of and live out PCW’s Mission Statement:

  • Invite people into a relationship with God
  • Grow together as devoted followers of Christ, and
  • Serve others through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our future Senior Minister whom God has already chosen for us. Also- thank you for praying for the PNC that we discern who that person is that God has chosen.
January 2018 Update

The PNC has received over 40 Pastor Information Forms (PIF) so far. We begin having preliminary interviews in January. We will also continue to receive PIF’s. Networking has provided many leads of possible candidates. Please speak with any member of the PNC if you know of a minister who might be a candidate or if you know someone we should talk to that might have names for us. Please continue to live out PCW’s Mission Statement:

  • Invite people into a relationship with God,
  • Grow together as devoted followers of Christ, and
  • Serve others through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our future Senior Minister whom God has already chosen for us. Also, thank you for praying for the PNC that we discern who that person is that God has chosen.


December 2017 Update

The PNC has received 38 Pastor Information Forms (PIF) so far. Twenty-four were matched by the Church Leadership Connection (CLC) and 14 were self-referred. We are in the process of reviewing the PIF’s. We will continue to receive additional PIF’s through further CLC matching and self-referrals.

Through networking over 50 people have been identified to speak with about suggestions for names of potential candidates. This list has been broadened to include Seminaries. Thank you for your suggestions and please continue to speak with any PNC member to give them names of people you think we should contact for referrals.

The PCW website has been updated. At the top right corner of the website is a PNC Update link. When you click on that link it takes you to a screen with two boxes. One is for Pastor Candidates and the other is for Church members.

Feel free to check out both boxes to see all of the information that is available. Thank you for your continued prayers.


November 2017 Update

Good news!!!! Members of the PNC met with Elizabeth Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM) on Thursday night, 10/5/17, to present PCW’s Minister Information Form (MIF).  The COM was very supportive and approved our MIF with a couple of suggestions and minor changes.

The PNC loaded our MIF onto the Church Leadership Connection (CLC) website. The MIF was reviewed and electronically signed by PCW’s Clerk of Session and a Presbytery representative.  The CLC matched PCW’s MIF with Personal Information Forms (PIF’s) from pastors looking for positions in their data base. The MIF is posted under “Opportunity Search” on the CLC web site. Prospective pastor candidates can view PCW’s MIF and self-refer his/her PIF to the PNC.  We now have access to the matched PIF’s and a self-submitted PIF.

The PNC has shifted into “networking mode”. We are speaking with many people asking them for suggestions of prospective candidate’s names. If you have a suggestion of someone we should contact or minister’s name that should be considered please reach out to any member of the PNC.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.

October 2017 Update

The PNC gave the congregation an update of our status on Sunday, 9/17/17, when the PNC was commissioned at all of the worship services.

We have completed the Minister Information Form (MIF). The draft MIF was emailed to the Session asking them to advise the PNC if there was anything in the MIF that was surprising or concerning to them. The Final Draft MIF will be distributed to the Elizabeth Presbytery Committee on Ministry on 9/28/17.  Members of the PNC will attend the Committee on Ministry meeting on Thursday, 10/5/17, to present the PCW MIF and to answer questions.  We are hopeful that the Committee on Ministry will approve the PCW MIF at that meeting.

Once our MIF is approved a member of the PNC will enter it into the Church Leadership Connection data base which is located at the PC(USA) offices in Louisville, Kentucky.   The MIF will then be read and approved by PCW’s Clerk of Session and the presbytery. Both will electronically sign the document.  The MIF will then be available to be seen by perspective candidates.

We encourage the congregation to share suggestions for prospective candidates as well as provide continued prayers.