FALL TOWN HALL FOLLOW UP
FALL TOWN HALL FOLLOW UP
Dear St. James Parishioners,
I made a commitment to share the “minutes” of the town hall meeting held on September 15, 2019. I sincerely apologize for the delay. Life and such gets in the way of my completing some details. I’ve no other excuse.
Thankfully Bill Bivins and Dawn Carter took notes during the meeting, and below I’m simply sharing their notes/questions/answers given, maybe with an interjection here and there (in italics). If you have any questions or concerns, or if you just want to chat, please reach out to me directly as Sr Warden at the time of the town hall meeting, or reach out to your new vestry team as will be installed at the upcoming annual meeting on December 8, 2019. I can be reached at [email protected] or via cell 804-240-1812.
Thanks be to God for each and every one of you. This parish loves you, appreciates you, and needs you to be an active part of our ministry.
Blessings to you all,
Bill Clark, Sr Warden
KEY POINTS FROM FATHER JIM HANISIAN’S PRESENTATION:
What is God calling St. James to be? The vestry and staff need to work on this question.
Jim has been working with your vestry and staff over the past few months in helping us understand some of this more clearly. He’s organized the Strategic Planning Group and this team will focus on this goal and then some, seeking feedback and input from the parish, and sharing results with the parish.
We need to take a look at the ways in which we are organized. What helps? What hinders? We need to work together to make the vestry and staff work more efficiently.
Jim has been leading vestry training sessions to help us, as leaders, to better understand what our leadership and ministries should look like based on the size of our parish average Sunday attendance. It’s been a huge eye opener from my perspective, and I know this vestry, and those moving forward, will benefit greatly from Jim’s teaching. Again, these teachings will be shared with the parish as they come into focus.
Did you know the successful Episcopal churches have 1 full time clergy per 150 parishioners on the membership role? Here at St. James we claim average Sunday attendance around 325, family units around 600, and members nearing 900. Today we have 1 full time clergy, Chris Hamby, and 2 part timers, Jay Sidebotham and Cheryl Brainard.
To begin the new year we hope to have 3 full time clergy; our called Interim, Chris, and Cheryl, along with part timer Jay.
How can we share leadership within the congregation?
Probably one of the biggest lessons Jim is teaching me, as he has a Doctorate in Lay Ministry, is that we need to encourage more lay ministers, and that each and every one of our parishioners qualifies for this role. We hope to begin anew in building up our lay ministry by calling and activating any and all who will answer the call. Your vestry cannot do it alone. Your staff cannot do it alone.
QUESTIONS AFTER FATHER JIM HANISIAN’S PRESENTATION:
When will we start preparing the parish profile? Over 19 years ago was the last time we completed one, and much has changed, and there’s a new process now. The profile will be completed by the search committee when they’re called. I’d suggest the newly formed Strategic Planning Group will be an important resource in preparing a profile when their work is completed. Further, I’d ask all of you to think about what you think that profile might look like, and what our next rector might “look” like. 600 family units here, and I’d suggest there are at least 600 differing opinions here. You will have an opportunity to share your input with the Search Committee when that group has been formed.
When is the interim coming to St. James? I thought we were getting an interim in November? The goal is January 1st. We will hopefully have an interim identified by November but the goal is Jan. 1. As of today, November 27, 2019, we have identified and called our next interim to St James. I’d share further, but until the paperwork is completed between us, that individual, and the Diocese, the Diocese asks that we not do so. I promise I’ll share further as soon as allowed. I’ll also confirm we have chosen the right individual to lead us further through this transition and to the call of our next rector.
Can an interim be called as rector? Technically no, but it has been done in a few circumstances. The reality is interims are specially trained to assist in transitions, and thus not necessarily suited to be rectors long term.
Is it true that Fr. Jay is not an interim priest? That is correct. Discussed deliberate naming of Jay as Priest in Charge because he wants to stay on once his tenure as Priest in Charge is done, and we want him to as well.
Can the other clergy be allowed to stay after the new rector is called? Yes. After about 6 months, the clergy and new rector will enter into conversations and will decide at that time the shape of the Staff. The reality here is the new rector will form their own team over time. It may or may not include our existing clergy. That decision is entirely up to the new rector. This same transition of sorts exists at the time of our interim coming on board. Our goals, vestry and interim, are similar in that we want stability and strength, whatever that may look like.
Comment from newcomers: They just moved from Atlanta where their church, All Saints (a large, successful downtown Atlanta church), went through the transition process; they said the process is difficult, but it can be a very positive thing for the church.
Will the new rector bring his own staff? (Wes Clewis asked this question) No. He or she will not “bring in” their own lay/clergy staff. He or she will be in charge of all lay/clergy staff, and thus those decisions rest entirely on the new rector.
As a congregation what can we do for this transition process? Jim Hanisian will be administering the “Hallmarks of Health” survey and all parishioners are encouraged to participate. This was done last Sunday, 11/24/19, and Jim will share the results at the Forum on December 15.
Expect to be invited to organized meetings where many parishioners will be called to participate.
Support the vestry and staff.
Cut the rumors. If parishioners have questions, ask vestry or clergy. Jim indicated that he once shared his “rumor of the week” during announcements at a former parish.
What would you say the 2 or 3 largest challenges are for St. James? Father Jim Hanisian’s answers: All Episcopal churches have challenges. The challenge for all is to understand how the church works, how it is organized.The parish could be more effectively/efficiently organized in order to fulfill our mission. There are “unarticulated expectations” which should be disclosed and considered. If each of us were to close our eyes and think of our expectations, they would likely all be different. We all think our last parish was the best.
What exposure will the parish congregation have to candidates who are being considered? Everyone does have a say and get to vote, and this takes place at the annual meeting when vestry are elected. Stressed the importance of the annual meeting. The process is such that a limited team has been part of the interim call, and will be part of the new rector call. An Interim research committee was formed amongst the vestry. Per protocol, we were given candidates from the Diocese. We did offer up candidate names we’d learned on our own. We checked references of each, interviewed 2 of 3, and have chosen one.
Later this coming year, the Vestry will call a Search Committee. They will lead the search and call of the next rector.
QUESTIONS AFTER FATHER JAY SIDEBOTHAM’S PRESENTATION
What will be cut out of the 9am service to make it shorter? As we are experiencing, there is typically 1 less reading, and maybe a few less hymns.
Can the temperature in the church be warmer? It is too cool.
Comment from Mary Ann F.: She believes the planning process that has been proposed is very good; it will provide clarity about whom we want to call.
What role does the bishop have in this process? Bishop Skirving and his team play a large role in the interim process as they accumulate the candidates they see aligning with our parish. They will play a similar role and then some during the rector search.
Comment (from Wes Clewis): Thanks to Jay for his guidance and help.