In mid-October 2019, following the retirement of our previous Rector of 30 years in April 2019, the Vestry took two actions to begin the search for the ninth Rector of the Church of St. Paul in the Desert.
First, we selected a part-time interim rector in May 2019. Second, parish members were invited to apply to serve on the Transition Committee. Twenty-seven applications were received by mid-November, from which a committee of 15 were selected and divided into two teams (Parish Profile and Search Process) with each team having two co-chairs. The vestry appointed a Convener to act as a liaison to the Vestry and the Diocese and conduct the overall work of the committee. We held an organizational retreat for committee members, vestry and three Diocesan staff members in January 2020. The entire committee was commissioned at the parish’s Annual Meeting.
Prayerful reflection guided the Vestry and Transition Committee over these several months and led to a recognition that the discernment process must reach out to learn the congregation’s needs and desires for the parish and next rector. This included an all-parish survey (CAT – Congregational Assessment Tool), listening sessions, and the creation of a Parish Profile and Diocesan Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) documents. The congregation receives regular status updates through worship service announcements, service bulletins, church newsletters, emails, direct mailings and the church website. As is tradition in the Episcopal Church, the Diocese hosts the online position announcement and is collecting, processing and vetting all candidates before forwarding applications to our Transition Committee. The committee will identify four to six final candidates for the Vestry’s consideration and selection.