St. Liz Transition Updates and Newsby Maddie Spearman on January 27, 2022
Dear friends in Christ,
I am writing to you on behalf of your Bishop’s Committee to provide the most recent updates related to the clergy transition. This newsletter contains a lot of information, so please read all the way through to make sure you don’t miss anything! As a reminder, we will have a farewell celebration for Father Daniel on the front lawn following his last service at St. Liz on Sunday, January 30th. Also, please mark your calendars for Sunday, March 27th, when the Rev. Mike Besson will return to St. Liz to host a parish profile workshop for the whole congregation following morning worship.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings
This past Thursday, January 20th, your Bishop’s Committee met with Bishop Reed and the Rev. Mike Besson to discuss the clergy transition. The main takeaways from this meeting were (1) that Bishop Reed would appoint an interim vicar in the coming weeks, and (2) that Father Mike would return to St. Liz in a couple months to host a parish profile workshop in advance of the eventual appointment of the next full-time vicar of St. Liz. During the meeting, the Bishop and Father Mike were very affirming of St. Liz – of our hospitality, our healthiness as a congregation, and our hopefulness for the future.
The Bishop’s Committee met again this past Sunday, January 23rd (as a reminder, we are meeting biweekly for the time being.) We debriefed our time with Bishop Reed and Father Mike, and discussed what St. Liz will need and expect from an interim vicar. The Bishop’s Committee will meet again on Sunday, February 6th.
Appointment of an Interim Vicar
Bishop Reed will appoint an interim vicar in the coming weeks. I will send another update whenever that person is named and appointed as interim. The interim will work part-time (Sundays plus one weekday early in the week) until the eventual appointment of our new full-time vicar.
Due to the nature of part-time work, having an interim vicar will feel a bit different than what we have been accustomed to during Father Daniel’s time here. The interim will have fewer in-office hours, meaning he or she will prioritize which activities and ministries to organize and lead. Of course, for pastoral emergencies, funerals, or during busy weeks (i.e. Holy Week), the interim will make himself or herself available, as needed. A part-time interim will still be very involved in the activities and ministries of St. Liz; I just wanted to acknowledge the different level of involvement so that nobody is caught off guard by it.
Personally, I view this interim period as an opportunity for members of St. Liz to become involved in ministries or activities that they haven’t previously had the opportunity to become involved in (i.e. leading Morning Prayer, volunteering on Sundays, calling or visiting with visitors or newcomers, checking on folks we haven’t seen in a while, etc.). This is part of what I meant when I said in the last newsletter that we would simply continue being the Church.
Parish Profile Workshop
Father Mike will return to St. Liz on Sunday, March 27th, to host a parish profile workshop for the congregation following morning worship. A parish profile workshop is a two-hour workshop led by Father Mike to help us figure out (1) what qualities, skill sets, experience etc. we hope to find in our new full-time vicar, and, more broadly, (2) what sorts of values, strengths, quirks, hopes, dreams, history, etc. we have as a congregation. Most importantly, everyone from the congregation is invited to participate (kids and youth, too!).
During the parish profile workshop, we will meet as a congregation to reflect on and provide answers to specific questions related to the above two points. We will split into small groups to discuss and answer the questions, and then we will come back together for a large group debrief. After the workshop, Father Mike will consolidate our responses, as well as the history of St. Liz, our key ministries, and some demographic information for the area, into a “parish profile” – an actual written document that summarizes who we are as a congregation and what qualities we hope to find in our new full-time vicar. Bishop Reed will review our completed parish profile when gracefully discerning whomever God calls to be the next full-time vicar of St. Liz. Potential candidates will be able to review the completed parish profile, as well.
A note about why the parish profile workshop is so exciting. Typically, parish profile workshops are hosted exclusively for parishes who are preparing to search for and call a new rector to their church. For mission churches like St. Liz, the Bishop directly appoints the vicar, so there is typically much less involvement in the search process on the part of the congregation. That Bishop Reed and Father Mike are inviting St. Liz to participate in a parish profile workshop, despite our status as a mission church, is really encouraging.
This is going to be an incredibly exciting and fulfilling event for St. Liz. We plan to provide childcare in the nursery. So, for now, please mark your calendars for after morning worship on Sunday, March 27th. I will send another update closer to the date of the workshop containing logistical details.
(Here is an example of a parish profile.)
One Last Hoorah
Don’t forget that this Sunday, January 30th, we will celebrate Father Daniel with a reception on the church lawn following his final service at St. Liz. We will laugh, grieve, play, joke, eat cupcakes, maybe throw a frisbee around – all while giving thanks to God for Father Daniel’s time at St. Liz. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day, weather-wise. Let’s make it a service and a goodbye celebration he won’t soon forget!
An Irish Blessing
May the road rise with you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hands.
That’s all for now. See you all soon!