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The Pastor Search Committee and Church Council are very pleased to inform members and friends of Medford Congregational United Church of Christ  that we unanimously and enthusiastically recommend Pastor James Matichuk for the position of 3-year designated term pastor with the opportunity to transition to settled pastor after the initial 3-year period. (You may remember that per UCC guidelines, our church is not currently in the financial position to offer a settled pastor position.) 


Many of us have gotten to know James over the past several months through his preaching for us each second Sunday. Others have gotten to know James as he has provided pastoral care or attended various team meetings. Some haven’t yet had an opportunity to meet or know James so we are planning an informal meet and greet on Saturday, July 13 from 1 - 4p in Lidgate Hall. James will offer a short presentation at 1p to share more about his background and why he feels called to be our pastor. Afterwards there will be an opportunity for informal Q and A. Refreshments will be available following the Q and A so that folks can have informal conversations with James. Regardless of how little or how much you’ve gotten to know James, ALL are invited and encouraged to attend on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, July 14 at 10a, James will preach during our regular worship service. A congregational meeting will follow worship for a vote of the congregation. Assuming the vote is affirmative, James will begin in this full-time role on August 1, 2024. The Search Committee will be available during the congregational meeting to answer your questions. 


Our vacancy was listed in the UCC Ministry Opportunities where hundreds of ministerial candidates had the opportunity to see it. On May 18, 2023 we received our first application. In the year since, a total of 10 people applied to become our next pastor. We screened every application carefully and offered interviews to 9 of the 10 candidates. We conducted one pre-interview and six full interviews with six candidates that we believed were potential matches for our needs. Each interview was 60-90 minutes in length. After each interview we debriefed for another 30-60 minutes considering the strengths and any concerns about each candidate. In some cases, we discerned the candidate was not the right fit. In two instances, the candidate accepted a pastorate with another church. In one case we were unable to successfully negotiate a call agreement. We remained steadfast and faithful believing that God would provide the right person at the right time. 


The Pastor Search Committee had its first meeting on January 22, 2023 to select a chair, establish a meeting schedule, and begin our research by reading and discussing the “Guide to Pastoral Search and Call” and “Introducing the New Local Church Profile.” Over the next couple of weeks we created group norms, wrote a prayer that was used to open most meetings, and began to create a survey to gather your input into the type of pastor you wanted to walk alongside us. We then conducted and analyzed the survey and used your feedback to write the Church Profile (which was updated twice during the process to reflect that we had resolved our sanctuary heating issue and again to update the salary package). We created an interview protocol and a reference check protocol. We met numerous Thursday afternoons. We had a few joint meetings with Council. We consulted with Tyler Connoley, Conference Minister, multiple times. We met with the Open and Affirming Coalition. We watched numerous online sermons of candidates we were considering. And, we exchanged what had to have easily been more than 100 emails! 


We appreciate the trust you placed in us to conduct this search. We hope the information shared here demonstrates the intentionality and diligence with which we have been engaged in this process for the last 18 months. 

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, July 13 from 1-4p in Lidgate Hall and in the sanctuary Sunday, July 14 beginning at 10a for worship and the congregational meeting.


Pastor Search Team Church Council

Mark Angle-Hobson, Chair Kathleen Davis

Pam Coye Edgar Hee

Patty Jensen Lori Lundine

Len Nordeen Marlene Olson, Co-Moderator

Violet Rene Rich Rohde

Sherry Straus Jenny Stout

Peter Ware Jim Talley, Co-Moderator

Jill Wolcott

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