Dear Friends, Because we will not be meeting as a parish on March 22nd, Ginny and I consulted with Canon Simpson to see whether it would be advisable to continue on the timeline we had agreed upon-- taking the Holy Cow survey in April in preparation for meeting with him in May and aiming to post the call for a Rector in September with the expectation that you would begin new ministry in February or March of next year. We all agree that an in-person parish conversation is a crucial step in preparing for new ministry, and Canon Simpson agrees that an in-person meeting with him to interpret the Holy Cow survey is equally important--a ZOOM meeting simply might not include all the wide-ranging conversation and questions that are essential to this stage of the transition. At this important moment in Trinity's history, we need to be diligent and deliberate, open to the Holy Spirit and to each other's hopes and concerns. We have much to learn from each other, and all these factors must be part of any decision both about your own priorities for mission and ministry and about what skills and qualities you seek in your next Rector. We feel, therefore, that we should adjust the timeline. Canon Simpson will next be available to meet on September 12th, and he would present Trinity at the Transition Ministry Conference next March. So this is the new timeline: June - Parish meeting July/August - Holy Cow Survey September 12 - meeting with Canon Simpson October-January - Writing the Profile February-March - post the position March - April - Search Committee interviews May-June - Vestry interviews/ offer a call August/September - a new Rector begins ministry. Please note that this timeline would mean basically an 18-20-month Interim - which is standard for a parish following a long and successful ministry with a Rector who was loved and respected. Although this is not the timeline any of us would have chosen, there are a number of advantages to it:
It will allow us to focus on supporting and guiding each other through the current COVID-19 crisis, after which you will have a clearer perspective on the gifts and needs of this parish—which may change in the coming months.
It will allow more time for people to consider serving on the Profile and Search Committees - which are still not fully staffed.
It will give us the program year to build up your congregation and to institute any new programs or ministries that you might like to try out.
It will mean that you can demonstrate to candidates how you have handled a crisis and come through it together stronger and more deeply connected to each other and steadfast in your faith.
It will mean that, while none of us can know what the future holds, you will have observed a Lent and celebrated an Easter and Pentecost after COVID-19, and your personal lives will be stabilized, so that you will be more ready to begin new ministry.
It will mean that the Vestry you elect in January 2020 will be the Vestry who will choose your next Rector and will work with him or her as you begin ministry together. This is more important than it may seem. Under the current timeline, 6 of the Vestry members who would have been choosing the new Rector would have been leaving Vestry before beginning new ministry.
This will not be a time for standing still or treading water. There is much to do in maintaining your programs and ministries and in making the adjustments necessary with Fr. Mac's departure. Most of all, perhaps, it will allow each of you the time and space to explore more deeply what role you are being called to play in Trinity's future.
May God continue to bless our ministry together, and to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the needs of others. In Christ, Judith