Rector's Warden Report: January 20th, 2023
Transition takes some time and we are in the thick of it. Our transition falls into various seasons and as the Diocese recommends and I believe, this process to call a new Rector will be another 18 months. When Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez visited us in December, he advised us to move carefully and take our time so that we don't rush the process. I promise it will be exciting and illuminating. It will also be kind and respectful.
As Episcopalians, we view this as a prime time to re-new and re-energize the life and mission at St. Martin's. And as we documented in our recent Letters of Agreement with the Rev. James H. Littrell and the Rev. Laura Palmer, we have some very specific tasks to address. They include:
- Coming to terms with the history of this congregation and its relationships with previous clergy.
- Discovering the congregation’s special identity, what it dreams of being and doing apart from previous clergy leadership.
- Dealing with shifts in leadership roles that naturally evolve in times of transition, allowing new leaders to come to the fore constructively.
- Renewing and reworking relationships with the diocese, so that each may be a more effective resource and support to the other.
- Building commitment to the leadership of the new rector in order to be prepared to move into the future with openness to new possibilities.
At present, as a parish, we are coming to terms with the history of St. Martin's and its relationships with our previous Rector Jarrett who left in May as well our Associate Priest Barb who left in March. We as an organization are also coming to terms with a huge change in our administrative staff. Our mainstay Associate for Communications and Administration Natalee, Maya and then Noor moved on, as we were in the midst of working with a new accounting firm after Mike Wolford's early retirement because of health issues. This is on top of the change in our lives and society that COVID has brought. Aargh! I was relieved to greet Christmas with a full healthy staff - a wonderful, smart, witty, hard-working, conscientious group of people who I look forward to seeing every day. Our Silly Secret Santa Not to Exceed $5 was a highlight of my year. Yahoo!
For me, the time zipped by as I learned what it's like to run St. Martin's without a Rector, a Priest Associate, an Administrator, an Office Associate, and a weight-bearing ankle. The heavy lifting fell on those who remained: Tyrone, James, Anne Alexis, Carol, and Connie. Then the rest of the God-sends arrived. Lorie and Luca joined the fold and rose to the occasion to keep us steady. Emily joined St. Martin's mid-October and is organizing and developing processes throughout the parish. As Advent arrived, we started the liturgical year with Jim and then Laura who followed soon thereafter. And now we add Kate and David who are identifying our volunteers and how people engage with the church. Whew! What an exceptional team!
On the vestry side, we have an amazing group of professionals who love St. Martin's with all their hearts and show it with their leadership and grace. David Dieck has been sticking with the office team, especially Lorie, identifying the nuances of stewardship system and providing support and institutional knowledge as the vestry worked through the running of the church without clergy. The vestry stepped up and 8 members met with the utmost integrity and love for St. Martin's to call our Interim Rector Jim who then called our Interim Priest Associate Laura. At St. Martin's we are also blessed with public health specialists and medical doctors who are advising us on the day-to-day best practices to avoid COVID.
As the dust from the holidays settles, we are now identifying and searching for a consultant who will guide and support the teams established to develop the Parish Profile and for the Rector Search. The Diocese has already made some excellent recommendations who I have contacted. The vestry will interview and ultimately choose the consultant. The Parish Profile is a tool that will help guide our search for a new rector. The group will gather information from the parish in various ways through conversations and meetings (among others), the clergy, and the vestry to show the world who we are. Following the Parish Profile, the vestry will assemble a search committee who will identify candidates for the position of rector. This is another thoughtful and time-consuming process.
I promise the next year and a half will be very exciting at St. Martin's. We welcome your participation and questions. Transition doesn't happen very often at an Episcopal Church, so let's embrace it and enjoy this time of understanding and learning who we are in our heart of hearts and how we continue to grow in our journey. Our thoughtful reflection, prayer, and conversations will lead us to where we want to be.
I'm confident there will be questions, so please reach out with any questions to me and the vestry.
Tags: Lay Leadership