Dear Fellow Parishioners,
On Wednesday, August 15th, the Vestry selected our Search Committee Chair. After prayerful consideration, we selected Meredith Ward to be the Chair by consensus. Meredith is President of Meredith Ward Fine Art, a gallery specializing in American art from the 19th century to the present, which she opened in 2004. She has been a member of the Vestry since 2011 and serves Ascension in a wide variety of ways including the Building and Grounds Committee (Co-chair), Acolytes Guild, Discernment Committee, Docents Guild, Lay Eucharist Visitors, Fine Arts Committee (Chair), Hospitality Committee, Lectors, and Ushers Guild. Meredith will be an excellent Chair, and we’re excited to move forward in the search process.
The next step is for the Vestry to select the Search Committee. In consultation with the Canon for Deployment, the Vestry has decided that parishioners interested in serving on the Search Committee will need to submit applications. Currently, we are working on the application process. In the next few weeks, we will be sending an announcement regarding the application, requirements, deadlines, and selection timeline. To get you thinking in the meantime, here are some of the guidelines and rules that the Diocese recommends for Search Committees, for your consideration:
• Members of the Episcopal Church who are regular worshippers and financially support the parish
• Ability to work well in groups, keep promises and confidentiality
• Balanced group in terms of age, sex, groups and length of membership
• Six to nine members, with one-third from Vestry
• No two from same household
• Wardens, assisting clergy, deacons or parish staff do not serve
Regardless of the ultimate composition of the committee, we are committed to involving all parishioners as part of the search process.
The Vestry has also decided to hire an Interim Pastor with a target start date of October 1st. A committee of Vestry members will be interviewing candidates in September and the Vestry will approve the selection by consensus. We have written a position description with the following goals for the Interim Pastor during the transition period:
• Support the transition process by preparing the parish for the next Rector and the changes ahead.
• Initiate new programs and events to help the congregation find new approaches to “doing church.”
• Give support and offer recommendations to the Parish as they go through the transition process.
• Provide feedback and recommend new ideas concerning church processes and procedures.
• Provide support in the renovation of the rectory. This could include helping initiate a capital campaign to raise money for the project, partnering with the Buildings and Grounds committee, and acting as liaison between project leaders and construction personnel.
• Update the Church’s registry.
We will be selecting an Interim Pastor who is a person of prayer and integrity; comfortable with all kinds of people; and experienced at empowering lay leaders. Under Diocesan guidance, an Interim Pastor will not be a candidate for the permanent position.
Both of us are very impressed with the way our congregation has come together during this summer. Even though this is vacation season, many parishioners have stepped up and increased their volunteer activities and involvement in the Church. Also, we would like to highlight the amazing job Mother Shelley has done in leading us through worship these past three months. We are very fortunate to have her, and we are grateful for all of her hard work.
We hope that you are all having an enjoyable summer and are taking some time to rest and relax, and we look forward to seeing everyone at Welcome Back Sunday on September 9, if not before.
John Grimes and Steve Hubbard