The Transition Team

We want to make sure the congregation knows who has been appointed by the Parish Committee to serve on The Transition Team through the spring of 2021.

Gina Halsted and R.L. Smith serve as co-chairs

The other members are:
Chris Hamilton
Kathy Huber
Ken Hurd
Liz Wilkinson

Elizabeth Robbat Kelly was also appointed, but she has stepped down and is now serving as the Transition Teams liaison to the Youth Programs Committee

“Can We Talk…About Spirituality”?.

Throughout the month of May, the Transition Team will be facilitating group discussions related to spiritually…how you first started to understand the spiritual realm, why you came to First Parish and what might First Parish do in months and years to come to make the church more spiritually inviting to YOU.

As of this posting there a six (6) sessions left to sign up for…space is limited…only eight people max per session. To sign up go to

Sign Up for April’s Manish Follow Up Discussions

Two identical sessions (April 14 from 3:00-5:00PM and April 22 from 7:00-9:00PM) will offer attendees the opportunity to converse openly and frankly about Manish’s ministry at First Parish and his “Passport” video. These will be facilitated conversations, with both structured and unstructured time that will allow people time to voice their views and hear others.

PARENTS NEEDING CHILDCARE ON APRIL 14….please leave a Doodle Note giving your name and the names and ages of your children needing childcare. Thank you.

Click here to sign up for this discussion on the Transition Team’s Scheduling Doodle

The Transition Timeline

The Transition Team, both for the edification of the church as well as for itself has developed a first cut at a plan for the next 12 months or so. Nothing here is carved in stone; we all know how quickly things can change putting a monkey wrench in the best of plans. The Transition Team is committed to openness, honestly and transparency throughout its duration.

Spring 2019

Structured small group conversations have proven to be a popular and effective way to strengthen relationships, understanding and a sense of community. To build the congregation’s capacity for ongoing dialogue on weighty subjects, 15 people from the Transition Team, Parish Committee, Deacons, and other interested parties have been trained in the use of Reflective Structured Dialogue, a powerful process for facilitating conversations.

In response to feedback from some parishioners, this April the Transition Team will host two identical sessions offering attendees the opportunity to converse openly and frankly about both Manish’s ministry at First Parish and his “Passport” video. These will be a largely unstructured events, allowing people time to voice their views and hear others.

Urged by several of the Deacons and others the Transition Team will continue to offer opportunities for discussion this spring. A new program called “Can We Talk …?” will be offered throughout May and will focus on sharing of spiritual journeys. In these small group sessions of up to 8 people, participants can share personal stories and spiritual perspectives that inform why they attend church and The First Parish in Lincoln.

Summer 2019

Planning for the fall and winter will occur over the summer, as the Transition Team develops ideas for small and large group discussions that we be offered in the fall and winter of 2019-2020.

Fall 2019

The fall is a time of renewed energy and excitement. It is when many of us come back together again after being away for the summer. The fall is also when the Transition Team will begin leading the congregation through an exploration of identity. As a congregation, we will become better acquainted with our history and our roots. We’ll consider our strengths…those things we are most proud of where we showed our best selves, and our weaknesses things that may have hurt us individually or as a church body. We will consider deeply our current wants and needs. We’ll explore our core values, revisit, articulate and document both our vision and our mission. Lastly, we’ll discuss the relationships and connections that First Parish has and could/should build outside of itself…in Lincoln, in neighboring communities, in Boston and its suburbs and exurbs, within Massachusetts and the in the world.

Winter 2019/Spring 2020

The work of self-reflection and exploration in the fall and winter will help the congregation to be better able to make some important decisions. Additionally, a survey in the winter will provide the quantitative data needed to inform the creation by the Transition Team of a church profile. The profile, which is a necessary requirement by our two denominations to embark on a ministerial search will be reviewed and discussed with the congregation. The survey results, along with what has been heard in all the conversations, dialogues, and identify work over the past 12 months the will help guide the next Search Committee as they begin the search and selection process.

May/June 2020

The Search Committee will be named May or June of 2020. The Parish Committee is charged with determining the size of the committee as well as developing and sharing the process of exactly how the members will be selected.  A fully detailed compensation package showing ranges for all salary and benefit considerations will be voted on by the congregation before the search starts in earnest.


The Transition Team will stay intact through June of 2021 when (hopefully) our new mister will be called by the congregation. Through it all, the focus by be on the revitalization of First Parish in Lincoln, so our new minister can be welcomed with enthusiasm and zest.

Five Focus Points of an Interim Period

As we travel through our interim period, we will be discussing and reflecting on all five areas represented above. Until we have a firm grasp of the answers to these questions, it would be unwise to undertake a search process. Finding the answers to these searching questions is one of the reasons we have chosen to have our interim period span three years.

Welcome to the Shared Ministry Review

A Shared Ministry Review (SMR) is one way that churches evaluate their mission and priorities, their ministers and staff, and the organizational structures that support them. Some churches only evaluate personnel or programs as is done in some business. A Shared Ministry Review is a more complete and complex process, sometimes called a Whole Church Review, that understands that people work in a context that contributes significantly to performance outcome. The SMR is a systematic effort to assess the strengths and concerns of the whole church (e.g., key personnel, leadership and organizational structure, finances, and spiritual life) at one point in time.

The team of Chris Andrysiak, Mimsy Beckwith, Dan Boynton, Nick Covino (chair), Jillian Darling, Erika Heilman, Joan Mansfield, Joe Robbat and Liz Wilkinson will work with a consultant, Rev. Dr. Claire Bamberg, LMFT, PCC, to review data from a number of sources (e.g., demographics, committee charges and reports, 20/20 Visioning interviews, peer congregation performances and group evaluations); conduct three Open Meetings (Finance, Spiritual Life, Organizational Structure); meet with stakeholder groups (e.g., Outreach Committee, YPC, Deacons, Care Committee, PC); and interview staff. The committee is interested to hear from all members of the First Parish with answers to the focus questions listed below through one of these mechanisms or by a signed communication.

Open and focused meetings will seek to identify: what members value about First Parish; the role that it plays in members’ lives; what members wish to see in the next three years; and what requires attention to realize that. Both the parish’s financial performance and organizational structure will be reviewed and compared with several peers for bench-marking.

This type of review is a first for First Parish. Those who may want to learn more about its rationale and process can go to: One aim of this SMR will be to distribute data so that the congregation will share a common set of facts and be able to work towards a common vision and shared goals. This will be particularly true for Finance and Organizational information. Thanks to the generosity of R.L. Smith, we will use this website to post information and share our work as it progresses.

Respectfully, Nick Covino