Q: This process seems like it’s taking a really long time. Why is that?
A: Rector searches are different than corporate or other executive searches. They are calls to a ministry, rather than a search for someone to fill a job description. The process starts with many months of discernment and self-reflection. It is not unusual for rector searches to take up to two years, and sometimes longer. Searches are commonly on the longer side when the departing rector had been at the parish for a particularly long time.
Q: Who are the members of the Transition Committee, how were they selected, and what is their role?
A: In accordance with the search process outlined by The Episcopal Church, the Wardens and Vestry of the parish appointed 15 members of The Church of St. Paul in the Desert. The Wardens asked one Vestry member with Vestry approval to act as the Convener of the Transition Committee. The role of the Transition Committee, organized into two teams, is to gather input from the parish, prepare the parish profile, review applications from potential candidates and conduct interviews of candidates. Their role ends with the submission of a slate of four to six top candidates for consideration by the full vestry. Transition Committee members are Clinton L. Carbon, Convener, Dee Dee Barton, Stan Bisho, Hap Blaisdell, Brian Blueskye, Alexis Clark, Craig Ewing, Lena Granet, Tom Lutgen, Mary Mann, Gary Scott, Audrey Spencer, Roberto Thais, Rick Tinsley, Russ Uthe and Ed Walsh.
Q: What is the expected timetable for the search process?
A: With the Parish Profile completed, the job opening and profile have been posted on the Episcopal Church Office for Transition Ministries database, the Episcopal News Service, shared on our web site, and on our Facebook page. The job posting is expected to remain open for six weeks. The Diocese screens candidates and forwards their files to the Search Process Team. Following their discernment, the Search Process Team sends the files of final candidates to the Vestry. The Vestry then discerns the candidate to be called and the Senior Warden calls that candidate to be our next rector.
Q: Will we get to meet them? Will they preach at St. Paul?
A: Unfortunately, no. While that would certainly be fun, there are several reasons why a search is not open for the entire parish to see. First, the process must be very confidential, as considering leaving a current parish is a very sensitive matter. Second, by design, the Transition Committee has been appointed representatives of the parish, and it’s the committee’s job to consider candidates based on the information that our months-long discernment process has yielded. The short-list candidates do, however, typically meet the vestry.
Q: What else can you tell us?
A: Members of the Transition Committee are always happy to answer any questions about the process itself, though we cannot reveal any information about individual candidates or the content of our discussions or discernment. Periodic updates are generally available in the Abundant Life Newsletter, in our printed service bulletin, in the announcements on Sundays, and in the Transition Update section of our web site. The Search Committee does its best to keep St. Paul updated, but please let us know if you have any process-related questions.
Q: What will be the role of the clergy staff during this transition process?
A: St. Paul is blessed to have Rev. Canon David Caffrey as our Interim Rector, and three very strong and committed clergy members in the persons of the Rev. Canon Victoria Hatch, Rev. Canon Eric Law and Rev. Lorenzo Lebrija continue to serve as assisting clergy. They will serve in their existing pastoral and preaching roles.
Q: Will the interim rector or the existing clergy be allowed to apply for the permanent rector position?
A: This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Bishop.
Q: If I would like to recommend someone for the position, what should I do?
A: With their permission, you can forward the name to the Transition Committee Convener at email@example.com, or ask that individual to apply for the position by going to the Rector Search section of our church website to get instructions as to how to submit their cover letter, resume and OTM profile.
Q: What can I do to help the Transition Committee and the Vestry?
A: Please pray for the Transition Committee and the Vestry. Share the news that St. Paul is searching for a new rector with your friends and acquaintances, and encourage potential candidates to apply. Finally, please continue to support the church during this transition period by giving joyously and generously of your time, talent and treasure.
Q: If I have any other questions regarding the search process, whom should I contact?
A: Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask one of the members of the Transition Committee directly.