The Last Pastor: Faithfully Steering a Closing Church

Book, 2020, 215 pp
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Gail Cafferata was heartbroken when the church she pastored voted to close its doors. It may have been the right decision, but it led to a million questions in her mind about her call, leadership, and future. She began to think that other pastors who close churches perhaps go through this same experience. This led her to conduct a sociological study of over 130 pastors in five historically established denominations (Episcopal, Lutheran, United Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ) who were called to serve churches that closed. This book tells the results of that study, which consisted of many interviews, and the hard-won lessons learned by these courageous pastors.

Gail Cafferata received her PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago and then went on to serve for twenty-two years as a medical sociologist in universities; the National Center for Health Services Research; Children's Hospital, Boston; and other nonprofits, writing over twenty-five academic and government publications. In 1997 she received her MDiv from Episcopal Divinity School and served a Northern California congregation for nine years before it closed.

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