Almighty God, who knows us far better than we know ourselves, look graciously upon us, the people of Emmanuel Chester Parish, and grant us the guidance of your Holy Spirit as we seek to call a new spiritual leader.
Guide the members of the Search Committee as they labor to be faithful in doing your will. Inspire our conversations, deepen our prayer and bless us all with open spirits, discerning hearts and clear minds as we go through this journey together.
Call to us a Rector who will join Emmanuel in continuing our mission to serve God through outreach, stewardship and prayer, and lead us to meet the challenges of this world. All this we ask through your name, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Search For Our Next Rector
For nearly a decade, The Reverend Dr. Darcy Williams guided Emmanuel Episcopal Church to become the Beloved Community, rooted in Christ’s love for God and for one another. As The Reverend Dr. Darcy Williams heads into her well deserved retirement, Emmanuel begins the search for its next rector. This page will serve as an information portal as we prayerfully begin, progress through, and complete this vital process.
In the coming months, and with the guidance of the Diocese of Easton and Bishop Marray, our parish will search together for our next leader. Emmanuel is blessed with a faithful congregation, one full of community spirit and a love for God – a congregation who can draw upon this transition period as a time of reflection and joyful expectation. The search process is a linear one, as outlined below, with each step requiring time and consideration. We invite every member of the Emmanuel family to join us on this journey. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact the search committee.
Phase 1: Pre-search
Pre-Search is a time of thoughtful discernment. As a parish, we will invite the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the following stages:
RECTOR SEARCH PROCESS BEGINS
Our search began when The Reverend Dr. Darcy Williams, in consultation with Bishop Santosh Marray and Canon to the Ordinary Patrick Collins, announced to us her intention to retire from her position as Priest in Charge at Emmanuel. Unlike previous transitions, The Reverend Dr. Darcy Williams was allowed to continue with us through our process, until a few weeks before a new rector is scheduled to arrive. We are so very grateful to have her as our spiritual touchstone during this challenging time.
The vestry and wardens met with The Rev. Patrick Collins to get a better understanding of the search process, from Emmanuel’s viewpoint, as well as the roles of the Diocese and that of the national church. They were given resources to review and options to consider along the way, and then they set about choosing people to sit on the committee. The call for volunteers was initiated at the Annual Parish meeting in January 2020, and published in all the usual ways; in the email News, the Messenger, the Sunday bulletins, and from the pulpit. Sandy Bjork and Tom Mack, the senior and junior wardens respectively, carefully considered the names that were submitted and gathered a group which they felt represented a cross-section of Emmanuel’s parishioners. The final committee of nine was commissioned at the service on August 29, 2020, and were given the charge of their responsibilities at that time.
RECTOR SEARCH COMMITTEE FORMATION
The Search Committee met together, from the very start, on Zoom. While not ideal, it eliminated worries about exposure to COVID-19 and allowed the committee to work out the zoom etiquette, screen sharing, ‘unstable’ connection issues, how to share copies of the minutes in the format that worked best for everyone, and even Mac versus PC computer issues. The Search Committee crafted the collect, compiled a budget, met with the Diocesan consultant, decided on the first steps to canvass the parishioners, and started work on the Parish Profile.
PARISH PROFILE CREATION
The major and overarching task of the Search Committee is to compile data and write a Parish profile. This profile is used to introduce prospective candidates to the parish and the local community, and will include our mission statement, a brief history of the parish, a description of the Diocese of Easton, a description of Chestertown and Kent County, parish programs, finances and stewardship information, facilities, staffing, key statistics, our goals as well as desired characteristics of our next rector.
Some of this information is easily gathered from records that are kept in the office. But the deeper, broader questions are harder to ascertain, and needs every voice of Emmanuel to weigh in. To that end, we have engaged the services of a national consulting company, Holy Cow! Consulting that has designed a tool to survey our parish community and to help us to understand our goals and vision for the future and what our needs for our next rector might be. The CAT or Congregational Assessment Tool will be interpreted for us by mid-February so that we can incorporate that information into our Profile. Additionally, we will conduct Holy Conversations that will be small group gatherings (via Zoom or in small meetings) to be able to talk to each other about our hopes and dreams for the future of Emmanuel. The final product will be a narrative document that allows prospective rectors to see who we are, where we came from, where we hope to go, and what we seek in our next leader.
The Parish Profile, along with a Position Description which will include information about the characteristics of our future rector from the CAT survey and from our meetings, will be presented to the Vestry for their approval, then sent to Patrick Collins and the Bishop for their approval and then published on the Office of Transition Ministry website of the Episcopal Church.
Phase 2: Active Search
During this months-long phase, the Rector Search Committee will visit and interview the candidates. Given the prevalence of COVID 19, much of the information gathering will most likely take place over the internet, in Zoom interviews and viewing the candidates conduct worship services on YouTube. Candidates may be self-referred, referred by parishioners, or recommended by others. Names of candidates may be added at any point during active search but all inquiries must be made through the Office of the Canon to the Ordinary, and the Rev. Patrick Collins, and must be approved by Bishop Marray before being contacted by our Rector Search Committee.
While the committee will keep the congregation informed about the general progress of the search, the specifics of the search (the candidates’ names and current parishes, for example) must remain strictly confidential.
Our intention is to be able to present the Vestry with the names of three to five possible candidates, as requested in their charge to us, by mid summer, and we will hope and pray for a decision and a call to be made, and accepted in Fall of 2021.
Phase 3: The Call
The Vestry will prayerfully consider the candidates and through prayerful discernment, will come to a consensus as to the person most highly qualified to lead us as our next rector. Upon approval by the Vestry, the Senior Warden will call the candidate to let him or her know the positive results of the vote. The terms of a Letter of Agreement will be negotiated, and when all parties are satisfied, the call will be announced and preparations for the arrival of the new rector will commence.
Timing & Expectations
This time of transition may be viewed as a fearful and anxious one; or it may be viewed as a journey of hope and honest discernment for our community. With trust in God, and the commitment and cooperation of all of the voices of our parish, Emmanuel will navigate this journey with grace. We aim to make the process a transparent one; to that end, the Search Committee, Vestry, and Wardens welcome any and all questions you may have.