As Saint Margaret’s begins the process of calling our next Rector, we want to keep you informed about that process. Today, we are sharing an article – “Called or Hired?” – about the nature of calling a priest to serve Saint Margaret’s. Additionally, the Vestry has appointed the Profile Committee, which will soon begin it’s work of listening to you and the entire congregation in order to develop the description of who we are as a parish. This will result in a “profile” which will describe our congregation to potential applicants whom God is calling to serve our community.
Charlie Grass, Senior Warden, and Eileen Treusch, Junior Warden
Called or Hired?
In the search process for a new priest, we use the term “call” rather than “hire” –
so what is the difference? Many of the methods we use are similar to those in secular organizations. We develop a job description that is circulated throughout the church network; review applications; conduct a series of interviews; check references; approve a final candidate; and draw up a contract or letter of agreement. Those who are seeking a position, develop a resume that is circulated throughout the church network; participate in a series of interviews; accept an offer and sign a contract. A congregation hopes for a wide pool of applicants in order to choose the best. Likewise, prospective applicants seek the best possible openings with the most advantages in work conditions, pay and benefits.
Many times a congregation will see this process as simply the way to hire a priest to do the job needed in the same way a company manager finds an employee. The problem is that if a church “hires” a worker, they get an employee who will just do a “job.” As long as both parties are satisfied, the individual will stay as long as the situation warrants, or until that person finds another position that offers better career possibilities.
However, for the church, it is not simply a matter of hiring a worker for a job. For the worker, it is not just finding a good job in a good church. A “call” involves prayerful, mutual discernment on the part of the congregation, the vestry, the search committee and potential candidates to seek the will, wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Throughout Scripture, individuals were “called” into God’s service. The church looks for the individual who best fits the requirements outlined in a profile. But more importantly, issuing a “call” to a priest is offering an invitation to be in relationship with the parish community. In responding to a “call,” a priest is living into his or her ordination vows to love and serve the Body of Christ. This is not merely an employee-employer agreement, but a mutual commitment to one another in the service of Christ.
In the service of the Celebration of a New Ministry in the Book of Common Prayer, the following Collect (p. 560) expresses the relationship between the parish and the new priest:
Everliving God, strengthen and sustain N., that with patience and understanding he/she may love and care for your people; and grant that together they may follow Jesus Christ, offering you their gifts and talents; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
The Prayer for the Election of a Bishop or other Minister (p. 818) is also helpful:
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Profile Committee has Been Appointed!
At the June 11th Vestry meeting, the following people were appointed to serve on the Profile Committee as we begin the process in calling a new rector: Shauna Backus, Mary Feltrup, Andrea Feist, Ed Leonard, Conrad Lee, Dave Hoffmann, and Davindia Steele. Shauna has agreed to chair the committee, and she will be in touch with Paula Franck who has been asked by the Bishop to guide the team in its work. Paula will meet with the team in the next few weeks to explain the steps they will take in discerning a new direction for St. Margaret’s, and then the real work will begin. Please know that all parishioners will be asked to give input as to your wishes for the church going forward. When the junior and senior wardens spoke with Paula, she was clear that this is a process of discernment that takes time. We ask for your patience and prayers in the months ahead.
Eileen Treusch, Junior Warden and Charles Grass, Senior Warden