How We Will Find Our Next Rector

We’d like to share with you the plans for how we are going to conduct the search for our next rector.  We’ve spent over a month in prayerful discussion with the diocese and amongst ourselves weighing the three options the diocese offered us for the search.   

This is the one we’ve chosen: it’s called Rector Time Certain. We chose it because it aligns best with our values of inclusion, transparency, and continuity. (More on these below.)

With this option, advertising begins as soon as we, the vestry, provide the diocese with a list of qualities the next rector would ideally possess and indicate the website is up-to-date – which could be as early as next week.  The diocese then presents a candidate for our consideration. 

The vestry evaluates and interviews the candidate.  If the vestry discerns the recommended candidate is not right for the Advocate, the vestry and the diocese discuss why the candidate was rejected so that the diocese’s recommendation of a next candidate can be fine-tuned. 

When the vestry discerns that a candidate recommended by the diocese is a good fit for the Advocate, they will issue a call for that candidate to become our rector for a period of three years (a “time-certain” period of three years).  During the first two years there are periodic reviews with the vestry and the rector, facilitated by the diocese, to discern whether the rector and the congregation are good fits for one another.  

At the end of the second year, the vestry decides whether or not to issue a long-term call to the rector, which the rector may accept or not.

We’re not sure how long this process will take. We appreciate your prayers and patience as we make this journey together.

Know that we will be scheduling listening sessions, creating an online survey, and determining other mechanisms to solicit your thoughts about the Advocate’s future, so we can keep your input in mind when the time comes to interview the first candidate the bishop’s office sends to us.

Values that Led to our Selection  

The first value that we wanted to honor is inclusion.  We want as many people involved in finding our next rector as possible.  This will not only ensure that everyone who wants to offer input can, but also it’s the best way we know to encourage folks to own the process we engage in.  The Advocate is who it is because of all of us who shape our life together, and likewise the search will be what it is because of who participates and contributes to it.

The second value that we wanted to honor is transparency.  Our goal is to make this process as open and public as possible.  Of course it can’t be completely transparent — for the sake of the candidates and, so that the vestry can have unvarnished discussion, some aspects of the search must remain confidential.  That said, we want this work done in the midst of all of us. 

A third value for us is continuity.  Our life together has momentum right now.  New ministries are forming.  New opportunities for outreach are presenting themselves.  New people are stepping into positions of service and leadership.  Our congregation is growing.  We want to minimize the impact of the search on our momentum.  We want to encourage and support the positive trajectory that we’re on.

These values guided our consideration of the three transition options offered to us by the diocese. Below are the two options we ultimately discerned were not the best fit for the Advocate at this time as well as additional information about the option we chose.

Option 1: “Traditional” Transition

In this kind of search, an interim rector is sought to serve for a period of time, usually six to twelve months, while the vestry appoints a search committee (in our case, it would have been six people, composed of two vestry members and four other parishioners). The search committee would create a parish profile and confidentially consider applicants and then recommend one candidate to the vestry. The vestry would interview the candidate and decide whether or not to issue a call to the candidate.

Some notes about this option:

  • Given the current clergy shortage across the Episcopal Church, especially since the pandemic, it’s very hard to find interim clergy.  So there’s a reasonable chance that, if we elected this option, we wouldn’t be able to find an interim rector any time soon (if at all). 
  • This would mean that the full operation of the Advocate would fall to the vestry and other folks for likely a longer period of time than if we go with the Rector Time Certain option.
  • Appointment of a new full-time rector in late summer of 2025 is the best-case scenario with this option, and it could take even much longer.

Option 2: Targeted Transition

This option still involves calling an interim rector, which, as noted above, is not necessarily a quick or easy task. The diocese would then send a short list of pre-interviewed candidates to the vestry for consideration. The vestry reviews, interviews, and chooses a candidate to call. This, by the way, was the option used in the last search, when Lisa left.

We didn’t elect this option because, of all the options offered to us by the diocese, it seems to us to be the least transparent and inclusive.

Option 3: Rector Time Certain Transition

This is the option we’ve chosen. Here’s why:

  • With this option, we could likely call a rector much sooner than with the “traditional” option–perhaps as early as the fall of this year.
  • We believe this option is more transparent and inclusive than the “traditional” option.   While it’s true that only the diocese and the vestry are involved in the initial call in this option, the entire congregation has two years to get to know the rector and see if they are a good fit for the Advocate.  
  • This option feels most likely to encourage and support the continuity of our life together and preserve our momentum.  We won’t have an interim rector, so day-to-day operation of the Advocate will be overseen by the vestry and any and all who step up to help until a rector time certain is called. 

Yours in faith and hope,

The vestry of the Advocate:

Liz Gilson, Senior Warden

Ames Herbert, Junior Warden

Celisa Steele

Elizabeth Brewington

Paul Marvin