Partners for Sacred Places (Partners) is the only national non-sectarian, non-profit organization devoted to helping congregations and their communities sustain and actively use older and historic sacred places. Partners helps congregations and others with a stake in older religious properties make the most of them as civic assets in ways that benefit people of all faiths. Partners was founded in 1989 on the premise that:
1) Older sacred places are vibrant and productive centers of congregational life and outreach that benefit the public at large; and
2) They are often at risk when congregations experience declining memberships and resources.
Transition Services is one of Partners' fastest growing areas in both programs and consulting services. The Program Director will work with other Partners’ staff and outside consultants to create and offer both in-person and virtual workshops, webinars, and consulting services to congregations, clergy, and judicatories with the goal of assisting congregations reimagine and repurpose historic religious properties in a way that continues their community-serving roles.
Partners’ Transition Services are designed to empower faith communities to faithfully and creatively deal with a challenging period of transition, and adopt a community-minded approach that sustains their sacred places as uses and/or ownership changes.
The term Transition encompasses a breadth of possibilities involving a change or transformation of a congregation and its relationship to its property. Partners’ guide, Transitioning Older and Historic Sacred Places organizes options for Transition into the following categories:
- Remaining in place with new uses and/or sale of nonessential assets. This set of possibilities allows a congregation to retain a sustainable presence by sharing space and maximizing the potential of the property to support a range of uses and organizational partners.
- Retaining a presence while changing ownership. A number of creative solutions such as selling to a new owner who allows the congregation to remain, or working with the congregation’s judicatory to retain a building until a new ministry or programmatic purpose emerges, can retain the presence of a faith community even when ownership must change.
- Using financial and development incentives to stay. There are a number of development tools that can provide resources and new circumstances that can permit congregations to remain in place and provide for the care of their buildings.
- Shepherding/encouraging new uses. This category focuses on the ultimate transition, where the congregation yields its ownership of the property to make way for new owners and new uses.
- Serve as the primary point of contact for general inquiries on and communications concerning Transition Services.
- Report directly to the Senior Director of Programs. Work closely with Senior Director of Consulting Services.
- Perform any administrative tasks associated with Transition Services.
- Travel regularly to the Pacific Northwest and other locations as needed.
- Supervise Pacific Northwest Coordinator.
- Network with judicatories, congregations, clergy, and other non-profits interested in issues around transitions of sacred places.
- Work with program, consulting, and marketing staff to create a 3-year plan to grow Transition Services.
- Working with Partners’ senior staff and consultants, create an advisory group for Transition Services.
- Develop in-person and virtual transition workshop and webinar materials, including training and evaluation materials, for three audiences: 1) clergy and lay leaders considering transition of their properties, 2) interim clergy facing transition, and 3) judicatory and clergy association staff.
- Work with program and consulting staff to adapt current Partners' Consulting Services tools (such as Asset Mapping, Discovery Studies, etc.) specifically for congregations in transition.
- Working with other Partners staff, present half to full-day workshops (including hybrid (with virtual and in-person components), and fully virtual). Workshop activities will include a self-assessment, discernment, and an evaluation process, leading to workable plans for the future.
- Working with Partners staff, present webinars on the topic of transition, both directly and via ecumenical and para-church organizations which offer educational content to clergy and lay leaders.
- Support individual congregations and judicatories interested in or already involved in the process of transition, through individual coaching as well as the use of both newly developed resources and those already in Partners’ Consulting Services toolbox, including Asset Mapping, Design Charrette, Discovery Study, Space Assessment.
- Regularly evaluate resources and programs.
- Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree (Master’s preferred), and experience working in religion or community development.
- General familiarity with and comfort working in diverse faith traditions
· Willingness to learn more about congregational structures/challenges
- Knowledge of nonprofit organizational structures and operations
· Flexibility to work independently, as well as collegially as a member of a team
· Requirement to be based in the Philadelphia office
· Willingness to travel at least once a month
- Proficiency with basic office technology
· Commitment to the mission and vision of Partners for Sacred Places
Skill set required
- Clear and effective communication skills (public speaking, discussion facilitation, writing)
- Experience in teaching or training groups
- Demonstrated ability to establish priorities and multi-task
- Community organizing