This discussion is intended to address several of the questions that have come up during our small discussions with the Transition Committee after the 8:00 and 10:00 services, as well as other concerns expressed. We will update this occasionally throughout the transition process.
We are following a series of steps recommended by the Diocese, in both the selection of an interim rector and the search for our new, permanent rector. Are other parishes in the diocese following this approach?
Yes, other parishes in the area are following it. All Saints – Beverly Hills and Church of Our Saviour are following this format for their current transition and search, for example. All Saints – Pasadena did not, but their staffing allowed a search to be conducted and a new rector selected prior to the retirement of the outgoing rector.
How long will this process take?
We have been told to expect that the process of calling a new rector can take 18 months to 2 years to complete. We are not setting an end date, or working toward developing a definitive timetable. We want to take the time that may be needed to work through the process.
Why does it take so long?
The transition process is different than that of hiring for a professional job vacancy with which we may be familiar. First, we need to devote a period to celebrate Fr. George’s 23 successful years of ministry, and all that has been accomplished. That is where we are now, and where we are devoting most of our attention.
Following his leave-taking, Mother Judy will support us. She will be our priest for the period immediately after Fr. George leaves, until the middle of June. In some sense, losing a long-time rector, especially a person we also regard as a friend, is akin to losing a family member. There will be a period of grieving and sadness that we should expect, but is normal.
We hope to have an interim priest named sometime in early summer, and that priest will be expected to serve for at least a year.
Following these immediate events, there will a period of work needed to develop our parish profile. It will need as much time as the congregation is willing and able to provide, as an important picture of our parish is developed and documented. Others have described a quality parish profile as representing “the hopes, dreams, and needs of our church.” We expect to use small group meetings and surveys to help gather information needed to draft the profile.
We won’t form a search committee and begin the process of identifying candidates until that profile is completed.
Perhaps most important to remember when considering the time involved: the selection process requires a period of discernment, both on the part of the prospective rectors and the congregation. We are selecting (and are being chosen) for a long term relationship; a calling, not a job. The Diocese strongly believes that a transition process not constrained by a timetable produces a better, more successful search and long lasting selection.
Can Mother Judy be selected as either our interim rector or Rector?
No. As to the interim position, Mother Judy, while completely qualified to serve, is precluded by age. The Diocese does not permit a current staff priest to be promoted to rector, either.
How do we select our interim priest?
Bishop Taylor has the authority to appoint the interim rector, and has delegated that authority to the Rev. Canon Joanna Satorius. The Vestry has met with Canon Satorius, and she is familiar with St. Edmund’s parish. We will have input into the selection process, but ultimately, the decision is Bishop Taylor’s and Canon Satorius’ to make.
The interim rector will have special training and skills to serve in that role, and to support us through the transition process. The interim rector will not be considered for the permanent rector position, either.
How will we be handling pastoral care after Father George leaves?
Father George and Mother Judy have met, and are developing a plan to provide both periodic pastoral care and emergency hospital coverage. Mother Judy, likely assisted by a deacon, will provide most of the periodic pastoral visits. We will also have a priest, living nearby, available to provide emergency hospital visits should that need arise.
We will distribute specific contact information before Fr. George’s leave-taking.