Gay and I are grateful for the extraordinary ways in which we are being enfolded in the embrace of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral community! The generous welcome and hospitality you have extended is helping us to get acquainted with the parish and get started in the work of transition. I am so impressed with my clergy colleagues and the entire staff. In my meetings with them and several ministry groups during my first week, I have seen a deep commitment and strong desire to serve Christ through this community of disciples. We are looking forward to our first Sunday with you on August 27!
Permit me to mention several things that will be central to the fruitfulness of this season of transition.
Momentum in Mission ~ As I meet with key leaders and ministry groups, I am finding a healthy and vibrant momentum in your pursuit of Christ's mission. We will look for ways to encourage that forward movement. In some cases, that will mean doing exactly what you are already doing. In other cases, we will be looking at next steps, which will involve expansion or refocus. In still other instances, we will be looking at new initiatives.
Search Process ~ The process of searching for and calling a new spiritual leader is a process of mutual discernment. While St. Andrew's is searching for a new Dean, Priests across the Church will be just as deliberate about studying what is happening in the life of the Cathedral community. In the past few years, this process has changed in positive and important ways throughout The Episcopal Church. Each Bishop Diocesan, directs a process tailored to the diocese and congregation. Our parish leadership will work closely with the diocesan transition officer, Canon Paul Stephens, as the process unfolds. In the early stages of the process, members of the parish will be asked to provide information that will allow development of a contemporary and accurate profile of the parish. At each stage of the process, the parish will be provided with as much information as possible.
Focus Areas of Transition ~ You will hear frequent references to “Focus Areas of Transition.” They are:
Heritage: Understanding and celebrating the history of this congregation and its relationship to previous clergy, the community, and the diocese.
Mission: Discovering the congregation’s unique identity, what it is called by God to be and to do, in accordance with and apart from previous clergy leadership.
Leadership: Encouraging and facilitating naturally evolving shifts in leadership roles which occur in times of transition and allowing new leaders to come to the forefront in creative and constructive ways.
Connections: Assisting the congregation in discovering how they can bless one another, the larger community, and their present and future clergy. Continuing relationships with the diocese, so that each may support the mission and work of the Church.
Future: Building commitment to the leadership of the new Dean in order to move into the future with openness to new possibilities.
These five tasks are the work of the congregation and are ongoing, not sequential, in nature. They represent the key ways in which the parish takes an honest look at itself. As we make decisions, we will ask lots of questions and have lots of conversations.
My Priorities ~ In addition to the usual duties of a Dean, I will facilitate the five focus areas. I will also devote particular energies to several areas of parish life that the Vestry and I will identify together as opportunities for special attention of the parish and focus of my vocational experience and gifts. We will emphasize the call for every member to be engaged in some way in the mission of the Cathedral and developing the stewardship, community, and organization that are so vital to the fruitfulness of that mission.
Congregational Health ~ As we journey together during this transition, we will be mindful of the overall health of the congregation and its missionary activity. Five of the most important elements of congregational health are good communication, trust, mutual accountability, service to others, and healthy interpersonal behaviors.
In all things, we want to prepare every aspect of the life and ministry of the Cathedral community to receive your new Dean and ensure that your ministry together is positive and fruitful in every possible way.
I'll see you in Church!