Search Process Update

Our Vestry has asked me to keep all members of our church up-to-date with progress in our search for a new rector. We made some important decisions at our last meeting on March 12, and here’s a summary of where we are so far.

We have arranged for an All Parish Meeting on Sunday, April 14th,after the 10:30 service. We’ll have a light lunch form of coffee hour, and then we’ll begin the meeting at 12:30. We plan to have this meeting last for an hour, or maybe just a little longer. The Bishop’s assistant, Canon Kate Cullinane, will lead us as we discuss what we treasure in this parish, as well what we’d like to change.

Two weeks later we will consider the demographic research of the Rev. Paul Colbert, who will present an overview of the population of our neighborhood, and help us consider how our church’s future is linked to our surroundings. This meeting is open to all parish members, and will be held on Monday, April 29th, in the evening.

You probably remember that at our Vestry retreat in early February we decided to use the “Priest-in-charge Under Special Circumstances” model proposed by our Bishop. Using this format, once our Parish Profile is updated, the Bishop will present three candidates for us to interview.

From earlier search processes, many of you are used to having several persons serve on a Search Committee. But with this newer approach, what happens to the “Search Committee” if there is no need to sort through dozens of resumes and choose the semi-finalists and then the three finalists? Would the Vestry simply not ask anyone else to help in the process? Does the Vestry “go it alone?”

We decided, rather, to change the task of what had been called the Search Committee. After all, we still need a Parish Profile to be written — or rather, to be updated from 2008. So we will be asking for volunteers for a “Parish Profile Committee.” If you had considered volunteering for the Search Committee, please discern whether you might be called to this group of persons instead.

What work will be involved? Members of the Parish Profile Committee will need to attend the all-Parish Meeting on April 14th, and keep a written record of the reflections of our parish members. In addition, members of the Parish Profile Committee should attend the second parish meeting with the Rev. Paul Colbert, and work to include some of this demographic information in the Parish Profile.

This Parish Profile Committee will then have two weeks to finish their work and present the Parish Profile to the Vestry at our May meeting (on May 14th). The Vestry might make some adjustments, but we hope to have this Profile approved by the end of that meeting.

Who will serve on this Parish Profile Committee? Well, that’s why I’m making this announcement this morning. Canon Kate strongly suggests that the number not exceed five members. Experience indicates that too many members make the work more difficult.

So I have volunteered for the difficult task of forming this committee. To help me in this process, I’m asking that if you feel called to serve on this Parish Profile Committee, please send me a brief paragraph outlining why you want to serve, and also what part of the work you feel most able to do. These tasks include careful listening at the two parish meetings as well as writing skills to update our parish profile.

In the likely event that we have more than five volunteers, I promise to make sure that all concerns will be presented to the Parish Profile Committee, whether you are serving on the Parish Profile Committee or not.

I’ll be working to make this Parish Profile Committee in place by the first Sunday after Easter. That gives you three weeks to send your paragraph to me, either by email or in print form.

Finally, one basic question that comes up from time to time is this: When does the parish vote on the new rector? The answer is that, in a way, you have already voted, at the Annual Meeting, for Vestry members who are acting on your behalf. The problem with presenting all three candidates to the parish at large would be that some will favor the first person we call, others will prefer the second, and still others want to call the third. Then, no matter who is chosen, a significant portion of the parish experiences disappointment no matter who is called. This is why the Vestry acts on your behalf.

Please talk to me or to one of the Vestry members if you have more questions about our search process for our new Rector.

Cordially in Christ,

Pastor Jim Stickney
March 17, 2013

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