Rector Search Update: Consensus and Confidentiality
Since the Bishop’s Office sent rector candidate applications to the Search Committee in the latter part of February, we have been busy reading! We are pleased that we have received applications from many gifted and qualified candidates. Most recently, the candidates have sent us their responses to the additional questions we posed. The Committee has met every Monday, via Zoom, dedicating two hours for discussion and discernment as to who God is calling to be St. Peter’s next rector. As we move through this phase of our work and toward the next - interviews, listening to sermons, and learning more about each candidate- two elements are critical: consensus and confidentiality.
One of the first topics of discussion at our February 2020 retreat was that of consensus, how that is perceived and defined for our purposes. A Google search can result in several accepted definitions of consensus, the most popular being “a general agreement about something: an idea or opinion that is shared by all the people in a group.”
The Committee understands that we represent the entire congregation in this discernment process, and all of us are committed to reaching consensus on our next rector, based upon the applicant’s capacity to serve as rector for all of us. That means, that while each individual Search Committee member may not get the choice of his or her favorite candidate, we all agree that our consensus candidate will be the best choice for the entire congregation.
As we read applications and consider candidates, our candidates are also praying and discerning. During any such discernment, there is much to be considered but now more than ever, coming out of the pandemic, there may well be greater sensitivities as candidates consider leaving their current positions and accepting a call. We are continually reminded that confidentiality is critical throughout the process, and particularly to protect the candidates who have applied. As a consequence, we will not be able to tell you much as we work through this discernment phase of the process. We will, however, provide general updates on our progress and the timing of next steps as we continue.
Our consultant, Anne Schmidt, will be guiding and assisting us through this process using tools she has developed in working with other search committees. In the coming weeks, we will decide which candidates we will interview, whom we will visit to observe in their current ministry, and ultimately who will visit us. We hope these visits will be in person, but of course we will have to wait and see where we are with regard to travel in this time of COVID.
As our Lenten journey draws near to Holy Week, the promise of Easter joy has already begun to shine through as more people are able to be vaccinated and we have been able to begin our return to indoor, in-person worship. St. Peter’s has much to be grateful for as we look forward to welcoming a new rector. The Search Committee shares in the excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead, and we continue to ask for your prayers for our parish, the prayerful work of our committee, and our candidates.
Watch for our Next Update: April 9th “Discernment: the word and the process”