In Search of a new Rector — St. Raphael’s Plan of Action

Many people have been asking when we were going to start the search process for a new rector – well, the answer is that we have been working on the framework of our search for a few months, and we are ready to announce the next step.

One of the first steps undertaken was the financial examination of St. Raphael’s – what can we afford to do in regards to finding a rector, and what can we expect to pay someone. There are four options for a search process, each one having a separate level of financial support.

One option is to use what is called “The Network” – we basically would be presented with a list of recent seminarian graduates who would be interested in starting their ministry with us. The cost for this process included a fee to the diocese and a monthly recurring fee which is sort of an incentive to the candidate to stay with us for three years. At the end of the three years, if the candidate decided to move on, we would pay them the “bonus” and begin the search again. The Diocese provides mentorship and training support of the candidate. The candidate receives the Diocesan minimum salary and benefits package paid by the congregation. We estimated the cost for this process would be approximately $16,000.

A second option is to hire a Priest in Charge – this is a two-to-three year commitment on the part of a candidate. The Bishop’s office would provide the candidate to us and we would pay the compensation package to the candidate. At the end of the term, we could decide whether to permanently hire the PiC as our Rector. There is no fee to the Diocese, but we would have to accept the person the Bishop appointed and would not have a choice in that person.

The third option is called Option B – It is a limited search of candidates in that the Bishop’s office provides us with a slate of 3-5 candidates from which to choose. We would be responsible for the costs of the search, bringing the candidates to the church for interviews, etc., and then the compensation package and relocation costs (if any). It was estimated that the maximum cost could be as high as $10,000.

The fourth option is Option A – a full national search for candidates submitted to the National Registry and possibly receiving 10-20 candidate resumes who match our submitted profile – which could cost as much as $20,000 to $30,000 in total (including interview costs, search costs, etc.). The Vestry decided to go with Option B – we believe that the option of three to five candidates was more manageable, and that the costs of interviewing candidates could be mitigated in a number of ways.

The Stewardship Campaign was launched and once all the pledges were received, the Vestry was able to pass a budget for 2017 at the January Vestry meeting. We received 41 pledges for a total of $136,219.00, and total income (non-pledged donations, investment interest, wedding fees, and other income) budgeted at $178,029.00. Budgeted expenses did not include the search process and were balanced against income. Since we ended the year with a deficit, the Vestry asked the Stewardship commission to work out a plan to balance that amount and report back to the Vestry at the February meeting.

The next step in the process is to determine how our members see St. Raphael’s as a church; how do we want to be perceived in the community – and where do we see ourselves in the grand scheme of the Episcopal Practice of the Christian Faith in Lexington and in the world? Do we live up to our Motto “Welcome Regardless” and how do we want to move forward in the next five years or so? Candidates are going to want to know how their skills will fit with ours, and we need to know what we have to offer as a congregation beyond financial support. We intend to accomplish this task with two “Holy Conversations” – meetings of the congregation where we get together in small groups and discuss (a) what kind of church we want to be – our hopes, dreams, expectations, etc., and (b) the disappointments, hurts and challenges we’ve faced over the past few years with a goal of setting free the hurts and disappointments so that we can move forward in a positive, loving manner with our new rector.

The Holy Conversations are set for Sunday, March 5 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 19 –the time to be determined. Every member of the congregation is asked to attend both meetings. We need your honest input AT BOTH MEETINGS! You should plan on spending about two-and-a-half hours at each meeting (includes a light supper). More information will be forthcoming as we move closer to the dates.

We will soon be taking applications from anyone who would like to be considered for the Nominating Committee – the people who will work with the Diocese to interview and make recommendations to the Vestry on which candidate to choose. The vestry will select a team of seven people to serve as the Nominating Committee. Once the applications are available (and we’re looking at making them available on line as well as on paper), please complete one and return it to the office quickly. You must attend both of the Holy Conversations if you wish to be considered for the Nominating Committee. When the Nominating Committee makes a recommendation, the Vestry will review the recommendation, and make a decision whether to accept the recommendation, or ask for further review, depending on the circumstances.

The Vestry asks every member of the parish to honestly pray for our parish as we move through this process. It may seem like a long, drawn-out proposal, but there is a lot riding on the eventual outcome. Rushing through the search often leads to a negative outcome and can be an expensive lesson if not carefully followed. Please participate in both Holy Conversations and complete the Assessment Tool when it is made available. This will help us ensure that we find the Rector God has chosen for us, and that we are prepared to move forward in this new ministry!

Dana Berry

The next step in the process is to determine how our members see St. Raphael’s as a church; how do we want to be perceived in the community – and where do we see ourselves in the grand scheme of the Episcopal Practice of the Christian Faith in Lexington and in the world?

Nominating Committee

Dana Berry
C.C. Johnson
Amy LoBianco
Erika Mayers
Nancy Christiano Mathews
Thomas Bollinger
Victoria Colliver

The Results from the Congregational Assessment Tool

You can view the hard copy of the Vital Signs report (the interpretation of the results of the Congregational Assessment) by clicking the button below.

The Rev. Canon Elise Johnstone shares the interpretion of the results from St. Raphael’s Congregational Assessment (CAT). (Prayer begins at minute 08:04. Presentation begins at 09:20.)