Transition ministry is a time of opportunity, a sacred time set aside to discern who we are and who God is calling us to become. We will take the time to engage the questions, share our thoughts, search our hearts and finish this process well rather than hurry to get to the other side.
We have called an intentional interim to walk with us at Grace, because intentional interims understand the grief, anxiety, and hopes associated with this time. Kathryn+ will journey with us throughout the process; she will remain with us until shortly before our new rector arrives.
We are beginning to make plans for a series of Holy Conversations. A Holy Conversation is an opportunity for the whole church to gather to share thoughts and dreams and feedback and to listen to one another. Our first Holy Conversation will be Wednesday evening February 28. These conversations will be facilitated by the Rev. LaRae Rutenbar. After a series of Holy Conversations, the Vestry will gather in the context of a Eucharist to discern a Discernment Committee. This committee will be responsible for our rector search process. The Discernment Committee will work closely with LaRae+ to begin a process of listening to what was expressed during our Holy Conversations and using what they heard to build a new parish profile. This work is all nestled in prayer both from the committee and the congregation. Kathryn asks that we develop a prayer for each part of the journey to be prayed at all services and by members at home.
After the Parish Profile is developed, the Vestry will take the time to go over it and make sure they agree that it represents who Grace is and where we are going. In addition to the Parish Profile, the Discernment Committee and the Vestry create a Ministry Portfolio (a form from the National Church) which includes responses to eleven questions describing where Grace is now and how we are looking toward our future. The Profile and the Portfolio will be sent to the Diocesan Office. It is our hope to have this ready for Canon Spaid to take to the Fall Transition Meetings where he can present Grace to his counterparts from around the country.
That will also be the time we begin to put the opening for rector of Grace Church out into the Episcopal Church. We send it forth on the wings of the Holy Spirit. Both LaRae and Kathryn are committed to having quality candidates for Grace and they will get that word out. This is a wonderful Church and we expect high quality candidates.
Then begins the process of interviewing. At this time, all of that process is not defined. We are, however, committed to clear communication with all of you as each stage unfolds.
In the meantime, all of the interim work that we engage in, as an intentional interim rector, as a vestry, and as a parish, is an important part of our preparation to receive a new rector. This is not simply a time of waiting. It is an essential part of our growth into new life. We look forward to the ways the Spirit will lead us. We are grateful to be a part of this work with each one of you.