Update (5/5/2020): Rector Discernment Process

     This is an update of the current status of the discernment process. The Discernment Committee (DC) has been quite busy this past month. On April 2, the DC and the Vestry had an online meeting with Robyn Strain from Holy Cow Consulting, during which she gave us the results of the CAT survey. We learned a great deal of information from the CAT, which we are still processing. The DC plans to provide a summary of the CAT to the congregation in the next few weeks. We will also provide an analysis of the CAT to the Vestry.
     We have nearly completed a comprehensive document called the Office of Transition Ministry Community (Parish) Portfolio, which contains detailed information about St. James (including 11 essay questions!). We have completed much of the work for a web-based document called the Parish Profile. Both of these documents will be available to candidates when we post the opening.
     The sole remaining requirement before we post the position and begin accepting applications is the Holy Conversations—discussion groups that are intended to identify the core values of St. James and potential changes in our ministries (“God’s dream for our parish”), and to enhance the participation of the congregation in the discernment process. As you can imagine, the Covid-19 pandemic is requiring us to reimagine the discernment process.
     The Discernment Committee is collaborating with Canon Augusta in designing a hybrid approach that includes Holy Conversations through Zoom and, in time, face-to-face Holy Conversation gatherings. Zoom Holy Conversations have never been done before, so it will take some additional time for all of us to plan for this new approach. Holy Conversations allow for spontaneity and the movement of the Holy Spirit to build community and to help us listen for the way God is calling St James into a new future. We would like to make whatever media format we use “transparent,” so that the technology does not interfere with our Holy Conversation.
     This approach will delay our search for a new rector, but we will adapt. From a wider perspective, we are not the only church having to delay their discernment process; many bishops across the country have suspended searches in their dioceses. Also, many priests are focusing on their families and congregations and not actively looking for new positions.
     We have much to be thankful for: the long-awaited arrival of Christoph, our priests and deacons, our music ministry, and our growing facility for live streaming and online meetings. The delay will give us a little more time to listen to the Holy Spirit, as well as to think about the Easter message.

The Discernment Committee (Bill Medina/Chair, Bill Brotherton, Connie Cooper, Trini Fares, Kristin Huntley, Alex Kealy, Carey O’Cain, Gil Rainey, and David Simler) and Vicki Wright (Senior Warden)