The Graceful Exit Project is an initiative started by me, Carolyn Hipkins, a former United Methodist clergywoman. It's aim is to help pastors who have been forced out of their pulpits survive the experience and thrive beyond it.
I am a pastor who was forced from my pulpit when my last church closed. I was not appointed to another church and left the United Methodist Church in May 2010. I am now a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, MD.
This blog originally started out as a tool to be used in my job searching efforts. I had read some articles on the need of personal branding and building an online presence. I had also taken some workshops on these same subjects. One of the suggestions I heard often was to start a blog. The logic was to show oneself an expert in one's field and to show technical savvy. So I started this blog. I am interested in the non-profit field and was going to do more writing on subjects related nonprofit issues. But whenever I did post it was mostly on issues related to career development and job searching.
I've been praying for a long time about what ministry God would have me do. What has come to mind is to develop a clergy outplacement assistance ministry. This blog is the beginning of that ministry.
Its rather difficult to find statistics on clergy terminations. But what statistics are there show that 1100 - 1300 pastors a month are forced from their pulpit. (1) Others show one pastor is terminated every six minutes. A forced exit is a traumatic experience. The pastor is let go with little or no severance and guidance about what to do next. This contains posts about surviving the job loss, job searching, and other topics. I am sharing what I've learned as I go on my journey. Hopefully other pastors will find the posts helpful.
While this blog is directed towards pastors the information will be helpful to anyone who has endured a forced exit.