January 7, 2019
Dear St. Philip’s Sisters and Brothers,
On this past Sunday, January 6, the Rev. Dr. Mary Thorpe, Canon to the Ordinary, was our guest priest. Dr. Thorpe, who has diocesan responsibility for clergy transition, provided an overview of the Priest-in-Charge process we will use to call a new rector and answered questions from the congregation.
The Priest-in-Charge method selected by the vestry is a search option that is becoming more common within The Episcopal Church and our diocese. Dr. Thorpe noted the Priest-in-Charge process is faster than the traditional search method and normally takes about six months, depending on the season of the year. Additionally, as part of this process, Dr. Thorpe and the diocesan Office of Transition Ministry will lead the search for us. Their significant experience and successes in calling clergy will be a great advantage to our search.
The Priest-in-Charge method to call a rector includes the following key steps:
- arranging for supply clergy for the period of time this process will take
- deciding the primary gifts and skills needed in our parish’s next priest
- receiving pre-vetted candidates from Dr. Thorpe and the Office of Transition Ministry
- interviewing the candidates to discern if their gifts and skills align with our parish needs
- issuing a call and negotiating a Letter of Agreement, with the consent of the Bishop
The Priest-in Charge called will function in every way as rector; however, the tenure of the Priest-in-Charge will be a negotiated period, normally three years, with the possibility of conversion to rector if all is well after a minimum period of 18 months. A benefit of calling a Priest-in-Charge is that it provides for a long period of mutual discernment between the parish and the priest before making the more permanent call to elect the Priest-in-Charge as rector.
The immediate next steps in this process include the vestry appointing members of the Discernment Committee and selecting a Long-Term Supply Priest, with assistance from the Bishop’s Office. The Discernment Committee, which will include both parishioners and vestry members, will lead our church in determining what is needed in our next priest and will work with the diocese to receive the best candidates. Much of the information essential to determine our church’s needs and requirements will come directly from you.
It is the vestry’s intent that the Discernment Committee be selected by the end of January. Once the Discernment Committee is in place, you will be invited to participate in information gathering sessions and to complete surveys. Your input will be invaluable as we seek a new priest whose gifts and graces complement the strengths of our congregation.
Please begin thinking about these key questions we will need answered as a church as we seek a new shepherd:
- Who have we been?
- Who are we now?
- Who is God calling us to be?
Thank you for your on-going support of our church as we discern who God is calling us to be now and in the future. If you have questions about the transition process or other questions, please contact Senior Warden Maria Poindexter or any member of the vestry.
For your information and convenience, the list of supply priests scheduled for the next few Sundays is included.