Questions about the Transition raised at “Meet and Greet the Vestry” on 10-22-17

Estimate 30-34 parishioners and 10 Vestry members were present on 10/22.
Between 20 and 25 people were present for Oasis on 10/25.

Here are notes to the answers to questions given by Canon Bill Spaid at Oasis on October 25.

1. When will the Interim come? Who determines who will be the Interim?
The interim will come as soon as possible after Mike leaves. It is our hope that an interim will be announced and ready to serve at the time his departure.

2. When will the Search Committee form? Who serves on the Search Committee?
The search committee will be appointed by the vestry. It will be appointed after the parish profile and narrative have been prepared. It is important that the search committee supports the parish profile. This will be prepared by some members of the congregation before search begins. The vestry approves the information before it is posted on OTM website. There is set of questions on the OTM, (Office of Transition Ministry) website that are used for the profile.

3. Will we have one Interim or several priests in rotation?
Hopefully one interim. But there is no guarantee. Interims usually serve for a predetermined amount of time. We never know how long the search process will take.

4. What is the process of going through a transition?
It began when Mike announced his retirement. It will end when the new rector has served through one complete liturgical cycle. There are differing sections of the transition. Farewell to previous rector. Writing the profile, and narrative for the search. Forming search committee. Doing the search. Calling the rector. Welcoming new rector. Assisting new rector (and family) in their arrival and settling in. It is a time of learning about who you are as a parish. Celebrating and discovering gifts you have.

5. How long will the process take?
As long as it takes. There is no set amount of time. We can expect it to last between one and two years.

6. What does it mean to “call” a new priest? What does it mean to be called”?
Calling a priest is not like hiring for another position. We believe that the Holy Spirit is involved in the search. We cannot rush the Holy Spirit. The vestry and Bishop’s office will work together to issue the final call. We hope and pray that the person we call is called by the Holy Spirit.

7. What kind and frequency of communication can we expect from the Vestry and Search Committee?
Regular and frequent communication is important.
Every parish is different. Email, letter, bulletin and regular public meetings are all important means of communication.

8. How will that be communicated?
We will strive to be open as to process. We have to respect the confidentiality and privacy of persons in the process.

9. How can we continue to build trust in our leadership?
Be patient.. Understand that the congregation is made up of people who are almost all new to this process. Understand that mistakes will be made.

10. What system could we use to allow everyone to be able to submit questions about the transition, and how/where/how often will the responses be posted?
Vestry will work out system of communication.

11. What is the relationship between the Vestry and the Search Committee?
Vestry chooses search committee. Search committee will present names of finalists to vestry for their choice. Make up of search committees vary depending on size of congregation. Some smaller parishes have overlap between vestry and search committee. Confidentiality is maintained between vestry and search committee. Vestry does not have right to know everything search committee is doing, or everyone search committee is interviewing. At the end of the process the search committee will present names to the vestry. The vestry will choose a final candidate and inform the Bishop of their decision.

All candidate names for rector or interim will come through diocese. The diocese vets candidates before the names are sent to the search committee. Search committee does not receive names of candidates directly from candidates.


Update Regarding the Transition Process

January 20 & 21, 2018

As we are all now moving ahead into 2018, we wanted to take the opportunity to provide a recap of the Oasis Group meeting which took place on Wednesday, January 10.  The subject of the meeting was an open forum led by our new short-term interim Rector, the Rev. Val Ambrose.

Mother Val began by sharing a bit about herself and her ordination 20 years ago in Kalamazoo.  She has served as an interim rector several times not only in the Diocese of West Michigan (including St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids) and also in Oregon.  She will be with us until approximately Easter, or until we find a long-term interim Rector.

She then took questions from those present and shared her thoughts about the transition process.  Some of the questions, and we’re paraphrasing from notes, were:

Q:  How long does the process take?

A:  We can expect the process to take approximately 18 months or more.

Q:  Why does it take so long?

A:  It is by design.  In many ways, the transition process is similar to a death or a divorce.  The status quo is drastically changed, and just like it is a good idea to give yourself time to adjust to a new circumstance and figure out the best way forward instead of jumping into a new relationship right away, as a congregation we need to go through this together.  During this time, we will help each other continue our mission and maintain the loving atmosphere that is St. Andrews.

Q: What is next?

A:  Many things are happening.  The Bishop and Canon Spaid are currently screening candidates for our long term Interim Rector position.  After the candidates are screened, the Vestry will meet the candidates and interview them as part of the discernment process in calling the best interim Rector for St. Andrews.  This is expected to occur by Easter.  Later this year, the Vestry will appoint a search committee to help us call the right full time Rector for St. Andrew’s.

While this is happening, Mother Val will work with the Vestry to create a parish transition team.  This team will have many functions, such as communications, coordination of our many missions and ministries, and having people on hand to smooth the transition to Grand Rapids and West Michigan for our Interim Rector and Rector.  One of the first things the transition team will do is create a large, graphic timeline of the process, beginning with Father Mike’s retirement announcement and ending in the calling of our new Rector.  The plan is to put the timeline on a wall in the basement of the parish so people can easily see where we are in the process by checking the timeline.

Mother Val concluded the program by sharing her thoughts that St. Andrew’s would be viewed as an attractive opportunity by many candidates because it is a full time position with a healthy parish.  Many parishes do not have full time Rectors.  This will help us discern and ultimately call the very best Rector for St Andrew’s.

In God’s Peace,

Marcia Baker, Marsha Harrison and Jim Sterken
Communications Team