We have almost reached the end of the first stage, self-study, discernment, and the preparation of a parish portfolio (also called a profile). The last pieces of the profile will be in place within a few days. We have already transmitted to the Diocese a summary of our findings, which will then be posted on a national clergy-search web site. The documents containing the results of that stage, in which so many of you have participated, can be found under the Rector Search tab towards the top of the parish web site at http://stjla.org/ . In the process we have discovered a number of things about ourselves—many strengths, a few challenges.
Your vestry has also made two decisions: to conduct a national search; and to nominate members of a search committee of somewhere around 8 parishioners, with a single vestry liaison. That committee should be formed within the next couple of weeks, and we will formally commission them when that has happened. And Canon Joanna Satorius in the diocesan offices tells us that she has already received 22 expressions of interest in the position, even before final documents have been posted.
With all this very good news we need to remind you of two more difficult matters. First, the next stages of the search, as the search committee and then your vestry interviews candidates, require strict confidentiality: experience shows that we may well lose the most promising candidate if their identities become known. Even your vestry will not know who is under consideration until the search committee presents finalists. So—please refrain from sidling up to your favorite committee member and asking for a preview! Second, depending on the array and location of the candidates, your vestry may ask for some additional funds dedicated to the search: it would be a great shame if we lost a wonderful prospective rector for want of a few thousand dollars. Stay tuned for more about this as events unfold.
And, again, thank you all not only for your participation in these early search and discernment events, but even more for the many ministries that make St. James’ such a vibrant community. This is an exciting time for St. James!
Blessings on you all,
Emily Abbott, Junior Warden
Stephen Yeazell, Senior Warden