IMN Virtual Cafe’


IMN is more than an interfaith association of transitional colleagues working with congregations during times of transition. IMN is a community of practice. Members have knowledge, expertise, stories, successes, and challenges to share about working effectively with congregations during times of transition.  The IMN Member Support Team offers a new opportunity for IMN Members to be in community with one another.

The IMN Virtual Café is a monthly opportunity to share a conversation about a transitional topic. Open to settled clergy, interim clergy, lay leaders, transitional clergy, and judicatories. Using Zoom video conferencing, or your telephone, you will be in a topic-specific 90-minute conversation with your colleagues and a host with experience on that topic.

Next offerings are now available:

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Approaching Conflict with Confidence
The Rev. Dr. William Carl Thomas

The virtual cafe will present:

  1. Knowing what to look for in yourself and others
  2. Managing personal anxiety through techniques that promote self-reflective practice
  3. Confronting corporate anxiety through careful listening which reveals teachable moments that guide hard conversations

Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Dealing with Entry/Exit Anxiety
With Rev. Dr. Marvin Morgan

The Rev. Dr. William Carl Thomas, a member of the IMN Faculty with the designation Professional Transition Specialist, is currently working while retired as the Interim Rector of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Wilson NC. His doctorate, Intrapersonal Intelligence Mediated By Self-Reflective Adaptive Practice That Manages Anxiety: Learning To Lead By Giving Space, serves as the foundation for this virtual cafe. Learn more at his website

Rev. Dr. Marvin L. Morgan, UCC. Marvin is the Interim Senior Pastor at St. John Evangelical United Church of Christ in Collinsville, IL. Dr. Morgan, a Certified Intentional Interim Minister (IIM) and Church Consultant, has served as a UCC pastor and interim pastor for 50 years, in NC, NY, GA, TN and IL. During this same period, he also served as Director of the Atlanta Police Dept.’s Chaplaincy Program, a Fulton County government chaplain, a theological school faculty member/administrator and as a community organizer with the UFCW’s Justice@Smithfield Campaign. He is currently serving the 900 member St. John EUCC congregation, located about 12 miles northeast of St. Louis, MO.


Register Below:

These offerings are FREE to PAID IMN members. The first 15 members registering for each IMN Virtual Café are guaranteed a spot in the conversation. Others after the first 15, will be saved for future dates of the topic.  To register click on the topic below and add to cart. Complete the information on the shopping cart and SUBMIT.

Ellen Goudy will contact you in a separate email with the call accessing details.

Approaching Conflict and Confidence

June 3, 2020-1:00 pm EST

Dealing with Entry/Exit Anxiety

July 1, 2020-1:00 pm EST


Membership Fee
New Member - Add $115.00
Renewal - Add $115.00
Clergy Spouse - Add $50.00
Judicatory - Add $155.00

Volunteer Opportunities:

One-time Contribution to IMN

PAST offerings:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Agreements and Contracting
Rev. Arlen Vernava

This Cafe is a oncour offering from May 1, 2019. Arlen and others will discuss the basics of contracting and what to know before you start negotiating. Dialogue on how to create the best transitional ministry agreement/contract that clearly outlines the responsibilities of both parties, get what is important for you as well as how to sell the best YOU!

Rev. Arlen Vernava has served, since 1985, both settled and interim congregations in the Northeast and provided leadership to ecumenical and interfaith groups and organizations. Vernava is an IMN Professional Transition Specialist, an IMN Faculty member, Team Lead for the IMN Education Team and a Senior Consultant with Design Group International. His ministry includes coaching executive leaders during organizational change and transition, helping congregations and organizations live into their vocation, and serving as embedded strategic interim during a congregation’s seasons of change and transition. In March, he completed a year-long course of study and certification in Coaching and the Enneagram, through the Madanes School of Enneagram Coaching in Israel.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Having the Answers
Pegi Ridout

Anxious systems look to leaders to solve their problems and give them the definitive answers. The pressure can be intense and stressful. Leaders, for their part, can be tempted by the admiration that comes from being the problem-solver and solution-bearer. However, succumbing to that temptation fosters dependency, sets the leader up for failure, and permits the faith community to not take responsibility for itself.

Instead of providing answers, a wise and well self-differentiated leader will shift the system by asking good questions. What makes good questions? How do we develop them in a tense environment? How does a leader withstand the pressure of providing solutions?

With that introduction, it wouldn’t be right to say, “Join this virtual café for the answers.” So, let’s explore these questions together!

Pegi Ridout has been an Intentional Interim Minister in six congregations and at a retreat centre. She is a member of the IMN Faculty, a Professional Transitional Specialist, a consultant in intentional interim ministry and with Credence & Co., and a conflict mediator. In 40 years of ordained ministry, she has served churches of all sizes in Southern Ontario, Canada.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern

Well-Being in Ministry
John Stonesifer

This conversation is a session on clergy well-being.  In addition to presenting insights from John’s doctoral work in this area, he will lead a dialogue on well-being focusing on the areas of: heart, soul, strength and mind.

The Rev. Dr. John DeWitt Stonesifer is an Episcopal priest with 35 years in ordained ministry. His focus the last twenty years has been on interim ministry, leading him to serve in parish, life-care community and school settings.  He is currently serving in his 22nd interim position. John is a graduate of Clemson University (B.A.) and the Virginia Theological Seminary (M. Div.). Post-graduate work has included studies in marketing and church management at the Theological College of the Bahamas (M.B.A.), Appreciative Inquiry with Clergy Leadership Institute and Mediation Training with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, and credentials as a life and business coach. John earned his Doctorate in Ministry (D.Min) from Louisille Presbyterian Theological Seminary for his work on interim leadership.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM Eastern

The After Pastor: Following Sexual Misconduct
Karl F. Fickling

There is so much baggage on a new pastor who follows a pastor who left due to immoral behavior, that the literature has given the new pastor a special name: The After Pastor. This workshop would give direction on how the interim pastor can tackle the situation, and in effect, become the After Pastor. This would spare the next installed pastor from most of the fallout and consequences that the subsequent pastor normally must endure. Without addressing what has happened to cause the previous pastor’s departure, the subsequent installed pastors often find themselves to be “unintentional interims.” They eventually help their churches through the crises, and they make a difference, but then they find they need to leave after only a short tenure. While we will name the various forms of breaking trust within congregations, the major focus of the workshop will be on the reparation steps one can, and must take, in any circumstance of major pastoral misconduct.

Karl F. Fickling 

Interim Church Services for Texas Baptists (the Baptist General Convention of Texas). He celebrated his tenth full-time year in this position in January, but he served part time for a decade before that. Much of this time, he was teaching interim ministry as a faculty member of the Center for Congregational Health. He has partnered with New England Baptist, to train interim pastors, for over 10 years, and this year began a new partnership to provide interim training for the Baptist General Association of Virginia. He also serves as an adjunct faculty on the faculties of Dallas Baptist University and B. H. Carroll Theological Seminary.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Living the Interim Life: Navigating a life away from your home
The Rev. Terri Thornton

There is the work of the Interim Minister, and then there’s the life of the Interim Minister on the road. How do you maintain a balanced physical, emotional, and spiritual life, as well as your relationships with your significant other and family, while living in “not really your home?” What are the practicalities of housing and maintaining two distinct living situations? How do you determine what is a reasonable distance away from home base you’re willing to consider for Interim positions? What are the struggles and financial considerations of living in a secondary locale? Should you accept living in the Rectory or choose other space? What should the congregation provide and what should you ask for in your contract? What if you’re not used to living alone for an extended period of time.

The Rev. Terri J. Thornton is an Episcopal Priest, Accredited Public Relations Counselor, and a certified Intentional Interim. She’s served as a settled pastor and as an interim in a variety of congregational settings. Thornton also maintains a consulting partnership with her husband, Jim, and both have experienced life as road warriors and living for extended periods in interim situations. She brings to the interim experience more than 35 years in the global marketing and communications fields in the corporate and non-profit sectors, particularly in the areas of new product introductions, change management, crisis communications, and event management. She also currently serves as a pediatric hospital chaplain.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Management of Staff
Rev. Margret O’Neall

Times of transition are often challenging for church staff, who may welcome, resent or even fear the arrival of a transitional ministerial leader.  Staff team dynamics, shared leadership in ministry, balancing responsibility and authority, relationships with congregation members and leaders ….. the intensity in all these areas may be heightened in transitional times.  Bring your questions or situations, and we will draw upon the shared wisdom of the group to explore a range of possible responses

Rev. Dr. Margret A. O’Neall is an accredited Interim Minister and Professional Transition Specialist serving Unitarian Universalist churches in times of transition and development.   Margret holds academic degrees in Community Development and Sociology, and earned her Master of Divinity from Meadville-Lombard Theological School.  She entered intentional interim ministry following a 35-year career working in the public and private sectors, and her call to ministry follows her passion for the transformational process that individuals and organizations may engage with intention in times of change. Since entering the ministry in 2009, Margret has served interim ministries in Sarasota, FL; Buffalo, NY; Schenectady, NY and Phoenix, AZ, and is now serving a 5-year Developmental Ministry in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 At 1:00 pm Eastern Time

Closing A Church/Mergers
Rev. Helen Prior

As church leaders sometimes we are required to accompany congregations as they navigate difficult conversations.  Among the most challenging and heart wrenching topics is church closure.  For a healthy new beginning, a well thought out ending needs to be planned.   How do we discern with church leadership and then the congregations which new options are necessary?  Sometimes dissolution is the healthiest option, but often folks want to stay together.  If amalgamation is the future path what could congregations do to look for in a potential amalgamation partnering church, and identify the form of amalgamation they prefer?  Ultimately minister becomes match maker, assisting congregations as they meet, date, court, marry and move in, all the while addressing legacy questions and goodbyes.

Rev. Helen Prior is an Ordained Interim Minister in the United Church of Canada. She has served four pastoral charges as a settled minister and completed six intentional interim ministries in Saskatchewan, and southern Ontario.  She has served as faculty since for the Interim Ministry Network since 2015.  Helen has a reputation for using her pastoral skills and sense of humour to invite congregations into dialogue, and helping polarized groups come closer together.  Among the six interim ministries Helen helped one church find an appropriate neighbouring church to amalgamate with.  In another instance the congregation had been in conflict for over 20 years, so she co-ordinated conversations for discernment which led to successful disbanding and closure.  At present Helen is serving a church newly amalgamated from three founding congregations.  When away from work Helen enjoys travel, good music being walked by her pups, and spending time with friends and family.


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