Art of Transitional Ministry

Art of Transitional Ministry


Leading a congregation and faith community through transition is both challenging and rewarding. Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing neighborhood, it takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of transition in a way that allows a congregation and its leaders to be open to possibilities, go deeper and thrive. The Art of Transitional Ministry offers education in the skills and understanding necessary for leading a congregation and faith community in transition. Leaders and participants come from several mainline traditions, which creates rich opportunities for additional learning.

The Art of Transitional Ministry Program is broken down into two week-long courses of study offered concurrently along with Spouse Track.

Week I
The basic education course is designed for pastors and congregational leaders who are serving or are considering serving in congregations that are in the midst of transition; yet, it is valuable continuing education for all faith leaders as we are all in the midst of change within our culture and world. This intensive 30-hour course provides basic understandings for consciously leading congregations through changes in context, identity, and leadership. Week I is appropriate for any short-term transitional ministry leader, including interim and designated pastors, as well as installed/appointed pastors serving congregations in the midst of change. It is also appropriate for clergy and laity serving in denominational bodies that need to understand congregations in transition. Additionally, personnel representatives and Committee on Ministry members are especially urged to take this opportunity to become familiar with the concerns of pastors serving in temporary roles (interim, designated and traditional ministries).

Week II
For pastors and leaders serving in congregations and faith communities in the midst of transitions in leadership, culture, context, and ministry. Participants will use their current ministry context to reflect on the leader’s role and tasks in times of transition. Completion of Week I within the past five years and current service in a transitional or interim ministry position (widely defined) is required for participation in this course. This course will provide an opportunity for going deeper into the work introduced in week I and beginning to understand our role as leaders in contexts of change and transition. Registration is limited and there are several homework assignments to prepare for Week II, so early registration is advised.

Spouse Track
Designed for spouses of pastors considering or already in interim positions. Spouses of registrants for both Week I and Week II are encouraged to participate. Regardless of the level of involvement in the transitional ministry context, it is important for spouses to understand the unique characteristics of this specialized ministry. Through a variety of activities, spouses develop a basic understanding of transitional/interim ministry, explore their fit within its rewards and challenges, and learn ways to support their spouses in all types of ministry settings. This track is designed for both education and renewal; time for rest, reflection and self-care are provided, and the schedule allows for more free time than is afforded for those participating in Week I and Week II.

Travel Accommodation and Opportunity for Families

We encourage participants who are flying to the conference to arrive at Reno-Tahoe International Airport and to arrange shuttle transportation with the South Tahoe Airporter. Itineraries can be sent to

ATM participants can enroll their children in Camp Zephyr, a day camp run by the Zephyr Point Summer CREW. Camp Zephyr runs M-F 7:45AM-5:15PM. This is an opportunity unique to Zephyr Point! For more information about this option, visit our Camp Zephyr page. Contact the Program Team at or (775) 588-6759 ext. 113 with further questions. 


Rev. Renae Extrum-Fernandez

Renae is a native Californian and Elder of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She completed her M.Div. at Boston University School of Theology. Since 1984, she has served as a local church Pastor in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Mateo and Sacramento, all multi-cultural congregations. She also served 6 years as a District Superintendent, specializing in transitional pastorates. She served as a transitional interim pastor in 2014-15 in San Mateo. Renae has received training in Alinsky Community Organizing, Church Planting, Consulting in Congregational Renewal and Pastor Planter Coaching. She is a trained and practicing Coach for Cross-cultural ministries. She also completed training by the Academy for Missional Wisdom to create emergent missional communities of Wesleyan faith and practice.

Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler

ATM2016JenniferHopeKottlerJen is a spiritual director, certified life and leadership coach, writer, retreat leader, and preacher who is passionate about assisting others to deepen their walk of faith and discover what God is calling them to be and do in the world. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jen has previously served as an Interim Assistant Pastor at the Fox Valley Presbyterian Church outside Chicago and as the Associate Pastor at Park Avenue Christian Church (Disciple of Christ, United Church of Christ) in New York City, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Sojourners in Washington, DC, and Associate Executive Director of Protestants for the Common Good in Chicago, Illinois. She has written for Sojourners magazine, Sojourner’s God’s Politics blog, Morning Walk Media’s Fresh Day and the Huffington Post.


Rev. Kevin Buchanan

Kevin has been ordained since 1980 and began as a consultant for youth ministry for the Presbytery of South Florida and served two congregations as youth minister. From there, he served as a solo pastor and an associate pastor in Missouri, Oregon, and California. When he married Astrid in 2002, he served in transitional ministry at congregations in San Leandro, San Rafael, Windsor, Turlock, and San Anselmo, California. He served in long term transitional ministry (otherwise known as installed) in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Kevin currently is serving as the transitional pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Rev. Gavin Meek

Gavin has served in ordained ministry in the PCUSA for over 30 years, over 20 of those in interim/transitional ministry, serving eight congregations in seven states and two presbyteries. Presently, he is serving as the Transitional Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of New Harmony consisting of 65 churches in twelve counties in the northeast corner of South Carolina. He has been a part of the interim ministry faculty for eleven years and has taught at Montreat, Union Seminary in Richmond, Princeton, and NYC. He and his wife, Jen (Kottler), whom he co-leads Spouse Track with, are avid travelers, he has been to 49 states and well over 60 countries. They enjoy hiking, tennis, good food, good wine, and a wee dram with friends.

Rev. SanDawna Ashley

SanDawna is the Executive Presbyter for the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery.  She has served as Assistant Stated Clerk, Manager for Call Process Support and Teaching Elders Ministries in the Office of the General Assembly. In her work, she provided training, consultation, coaching, and resources for presbyteries in support of congregations, COMs, call seekers and calling organizations.  Her pastoral service includes serving as senior pastor and solo pastor of congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Illinois. SanDawna holds degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) with a concentration in leadership development and congregational transformation, Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary Masters of Divinity in the Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Care (M. Div.) and Georgia State University Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). She has served as faculty for Transitional Ministry Training for five years.  She is married to Rev. Murphy Ashley, Jr., the mother of Jay, mother-in-law of Rachel and grandmother of Christian and Olivia.  Her family is completed by their 4-year-old Keeshond, Joy.


Rev. Renée Rico

Renée confesses to be both excited and challenged by the opportunities of ministry in these times in the church. Renée began her “accidental intentional interim” ministry career straight out of seminary, serving in churches across the West as interim solo, head of staff and associate pastor positions, as well as in a United Methodist congregation. Now in her 8th interim position, she currently serves as Transitional Pastor (Head of Staff) at University Presbyterian Church in Fresno, CA. She has served on and led faculty teams for education events on The Art of Transitional Ministry for the PCUSA since 2002. Outside of church, Renée has many interests, including a love of Mexican food, knitting (she teaches and designs her own line of patterns) and spinning, and is a certified aquatics fitness instructor. Her two cats, Izzie and Brandy, are her companions at home

Rev. Barry W. Williams

ATM2016BarryWilliamsBarry’s roots are in Southwest Louisiana where he grew up learning a bit about Cajun culture and cooking. He attended Centenary College in Shreveport, La., earning a B.S. degree in Business, then seminary in Austin, Texas and went on to serve churches in the suburbs of Houston, Dallas, and Ft. Worth before moving to work with a congregation in Salina, Kansas. In 1996, the Williams family (Brenda, his wife, and two sons, Stephen and Peter) moved to Southwest Missouri. Springfield has functioned as “home base” for Barry as he served as an Interim/Transitional Pastor in the region. He completed his 14th interim in August of 2019 with FPC in Jefferson City, Missouri. He has been part of the PCUSA interim ministry education faculty since 2000. His interests include fly fishing, cooking, and staying in contact with family, friends, and colleagues.

Program Costs

Individual Rate
Week 1/ Week 2 $345
Spouse Track $100

Program costs do not include the cost of books/texts for required reading. Participants will need to purchase the required reading texts which you will be informed of upon registration.

Room and Board Rates

Room Style Rate
Double Occupancy Room $420
Private Room (single occupancy) $650
Commuter (meals only) $240

Registration and Balance due 14 days before event start date. To Register click on the “Register Now” button at the top of the page. Be sure to make a note of all dietary needs, mobility issues, and roommate requests during the registration process

  • Includes Sunday dinner through Friday sack lunch; No Wednesday dinner; afternoon and evening are on your own to rest and explore Tahoe.
  • Program fills quickly. Please register early.
  • Participants are expected to stay the duration of ATM and any late arrivals or early departures must be coordinated in advance of the program with faculty. Please direct inquiries to
  • The $100 deposit is non-refundable/non-transferable.