As you may know, in the Episcopal Church, the rector is responsible for the hiring and oversight of all church employees. This includes the clergy. Curates, newly ordained priests, are placed in parishes if the rector agrees to supervise them and the vestry agrees to fund one half of their salary and benefits. The understanding is that they will work for two years in a placement and then will be open to a call. St. Stephen’s has a long history as a teaching parish and Scott is with us to learn. He may or may not be interested in staying; the parish may or may not feel called to keep him. The funding for his position will end in June 2018. At that point St. Stephen’s would be responsible for his full package.
The Vestry appointed the Strategic Ministry Team and you all commissioned them to lead us in discerning the ministry of St. Stephen’s for the next 3 years, using the Holy Currencies model. Over 70 people participated in congregational meetings to formulate the themes that we need to address. I want to thank Gary Stephenson, Tyler Swanson, Yvette Frazier, James Ozga, Randall Lamb, Peg Nevers, Lizzie Robbins, Ross Muanaj, Brandon Peete, Scott Painter, Rachel Cazier and Ryan Hawthorne for amazing work. This process was funded by a grant from the Episcopal Health Foundation. Eric Moen, our liaison with the Foundation was very complimentary of our leaders, your commitment, and the high level of our thinking.
From this process we will now be recruiting others to assist in fleshing out the strategic objectives in five areas: growth, welcome/connect/reconnect, church/school relations, demographic gaps, and organization. By the end of the summer we will have specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive objectives; timelines for achievement over the next three years; and a sense of accountability.
I want to wait until this process is completed before I begin the search. The Vestry and I do not know who we need to serve with us, until we know what we want to do and what skills will be required. This may mean we call another curate. It may mean that we call another assistant or associate rector. It may mean we call a volunteer administrator who is a lay person. I am confident that when we are ready we will find someone eager and excited to join us.
In the meantime, Scott and I will continue to cover pastoral care, preaching, teaching, and administrative work of the parish. We are also in conversation with licensed preachers in our midst so that we can mix up the pulpit a bit. I ask for your prayers and continued commitment to serve God through our church.
The Reverend Lisa Hunt