I think that clergy who plan to retire, change appointments, or move into new local church settings in 2020-2021, should rethink their options. As Michelle Morris writes in her blog (https://www.grownupbible.org/blog/2020/4/20/hey-anybody-listening-aka-pastoral-transitions-2020 ) “We do not have time to work on transition to the new place, because we are currently overwhelmed with transitioning our current place. And it is possible that come May/June, we will be overwhelmed again transitioning our current place to another new reality, the reality of coming out of quarantine.”
For many United Methodist clergy, this summer will be a stacked transition (Appointment change, COVID-19 change, and the possible LGBTQ Separation). If I were bishop, I would pause all moves for the duration of the crisis. Retirees should be asked to serve another year in place and use the incoming class as interims in those places where there are vacancies. I know that this would be unprecedented and painful, but it beats playing “Nearer My God to Thee” as the ship goes down.
I am not a bishop. So, to all who will listen, I recommend naming the coming 18 months as a time of transition. Systematically work the Five Steps for a Healthy Transition spoke of on this website. Give yourself time to grieve, time to heal, and time to learn new things. We are all entering a different world.