2015 Parish Meeting Senior Warden Message:
3 P’s: Prayer, Presence, and Participation
This is definitely a time of change within our church as we begin the process of calling our next Priest. In just a moment, I’ll give you the highlights of the two options we have to execute our search process, but for right now I’d like to set the priorities we need to be focused on during the next few months.
First be in prayer about the future of our Parish.
Please pray intentionally for the right person to be called to lead our church, and for our Parish during this time of transition. Your prayers make a difference! Matthew 21:22 tells us that “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”
Undergirding our selection process with prayer provides a foundation that will help us have a harmonious tone in all the very necessary conversations and discourse that will take place in the coming months. Prayer provides us with a time to share our concerns with God; it’s as important to Him as it is to you and our church. Every meeting we hold during the selection process will start and end with prayer for a good outcome.
Second, your presence at church is very important.
We will have supply Clergy conducting our services for the immediate future, and we have the option to appoint an interim Pastor if the Vestry decides that is appropriate. We’re going to have church, so we need you in our services. If you’ve been away for a while for whatever reason, come on back. All you regulars, please keep it up. Attendance is always a decision, and I hope you are able to participate in our services as often as you can do so.
Third priority is participation.
You may wonder what the difference is between presence and participation. Presence is being here, which as we just discussed is very important. Participation is using your spiritual gifts for the betterment of our Parish by becoming involved actively in one of the many ministries of our church. We always need greeters, ushers, readers, and acolytes to facilitate our services. We need folks with the gift of hospitality to welcome and remember folks in our church. Pastoral care will need to continue, and it takes volunteers to do this in our time of transition.
The list goes on and on, and there is always a place for willing hands and hearts in the work of our church, so please consider what type of service you can offer our church. No one is too young or old to participate actively in the life of our Parish.
The Rev. Canon David Johnson will be working with us during this time, and he’s already met with the Vestry and outlined the different options we can follow in calling our new Priest. We have two options. One new option that’s becoming more popular with Episcopal churches is what’s called the Priest in Charge Process. Our other option is the traditional approach that has been executed by our church in the past.
Either option will require us to do a church wide survey, and develop a Parish narrative that describes our church to all prospective leaders. The narrative is a very comprehensive document that describes who we are, where we live, and what we’re about. It takes time and effort to do this work.
In the next Vestry meeting, we will continue the discussion we started with Rev. Canon Johnson in our last meeting, and hopefully decide on the option we will use to call our new leader. One of the advantages of the Priest in Charge model is that it generally can be accomplished in a shorter period of time (6 to 8 months) than the traditional model which takes 12 to 14 months. Also, in the Priest in Charge process both parties (the leader and parish) make a two year commitment, and at the end of the two years mutually decide if the Priest in Charge becomes the Rector. The traditional process ends with the selection of the Rector. It’s important to note that there is really no difference in the responsibilities of either title – a Priest in Charge has the same day to day duties of a Rector.
More to come on that front, and as we all move through this journey together please remember that we need your prayers, your presence, and your participation during this time. God bless!