Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is hard to believe that it has only been five weeks since first arriving at St. James. The welcome given to my family and me has been incredible. Thank you for your hospitality. I look forward to years of serving together as the hands and feet of Christ through the mission and ministry of St. James.
There is an old saying my dad always said when I was growing up, “No one likes changing except wet babies.” One thing I hope you will experience with me is that I do not make decisions lightly or without reason, but rather prayerfully and with purpose. I realize that not everyone will agree with the reasoning and/or changes every time. However, please know that no change is made for change’s sake. As I am sure you have guessed, there are a few items that I want to share with you. Some were in the works before I arrived, and others come after Monday night’s vestry meeting.
I know there are some who love the bell, but after discussion with the vestry as well as the individual who donated the current bell, we are retiring the Sanctus bell from use during regular services for those reasons listed above. The bell happens to be in the style of a meditation gong and will therefore make a great addition to contemplative prayer when needed.
My hope is that in all that we do, St. James will continue to grow from glory into glory and strength into strength.
The Rev. Chris Duncan
Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts announced at the Parish Meeting on Sunday, May 20, that the Search Committee has submitted a candidate name to the vestry for endorsement as the twenty-fourth rector of St. James Episcopal Church on Thursday, May 17. The candidate had yet to meet with the vestry and receive such endorsement, so due to confidentiality, no name was announced.
Helen did take the opportunity to remind the parish of the selection criteria established by the Search Committee, based on parishioner input from surveys, meetings, and workshops:
Trey commended the work of the whole committee, noting he’d spoken with Helen just about daily for the past year, and looks forward to sharing the exciting details of the next chapter in St. James parish life, soon.
Ed. note: You can view the entire Parish Meeting, here. The Search Committee report begins at approximately 1:01:45.
Editor's Note: At the 10:30 service on Sunday, April 22, Helen Campbell and Trey Roberts, Search Committee co-chairs, presented a progress report on the search for a new rector of St. James Episcopal Church. You can listen to Trey's comprehensive report of facts and status, here, and/or read the entirety of their report, below.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we move through the process to call our next rector. We want to update you on progress, including a recap of the search process.
April 2017: The Search Committee was created by appointment of co-chairs Trey Roberts and Helen Campbell. The membership was formed with the input of names from the parish, then selection of members by the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, and the committee co-chairs. Members named were: Andy McCall, Bahin Leonard, Bob Israel, Catherine Harrell, Charlie Frey, Jay Noland, John Sykes, Julia Spaht, Martha Vasquez, Susan Rolfs.
Summer 2017: With the assistance of The Rev. Canon Shannon Manning on behalf of Bishop Thompson, the committee’s organizational work began with many hours of research on our parish, as well as potential candidates in order to best align our parish needs with a future rector. In other words, "Where are we and what do we prioritize as St. James, and how does that match individual priests who are open to a new calling?"
A parish survey was created and more than 300 people participated. The high number of responses assure good, accurate information. You care greatly about St. James and your responses give the committee comprehensive input on all aspects of our church and church family.
With an open invitation to the entire parish, listening forums were held for parishioners to discuss any and all issues considered important for the Search Committee to address in the church profile.
Stakeholder meetings were held with clergy, selected church staff, as well as key ministries, to gain input about the workings of the church.
October-December 2017: The Search Committee prepared, and the Vestry approved, our St. James profile which is available on our website or hard copy in the church office.
The parish family was invited to nominate potential rector candidates for consideration. Clergy also submitted nominations.
An Office of Transitional Ministry profile was prepared for The Episcopal Church (national office) and candidates from around the country put their names into our search.
Mid-March 2018: Candidate nominations were closed with an initial pool of about 50 candidates. All candidates’ names were sent to our Diocesan office for approval, a requirement before the Search Committee can take any action.
January-March 2018: Candidates were individually researched and then presented to the full Search Committee for discussion and consideration. The list of candidates was narrowed, and continued with Skype interviews. Candidate references were contacted by telephone.
April 2018: The committee members began to travel for confidential face-to-face meetings and to attend services in the candidates' home parishes. Out of respect for the candidate and their current ministries, the committee members do not identify as such at the parish visited. Visits are expected to conclude by mid-May.
The Search Committee will prayerfully discern its recommendation of a new rector to the Vestry. The candidate will be invited to Baton Rouge to meet with the Vestry and visit St. James. If the Vestry concurs with the Committee’s recommendation, the call for a new rector will be made.
This process is designed to be prayerfully undertaken, listening to God throughout each step of consideration. The process also involves envisioning the life of our congregation under the leadership of each candidate. St. James has grown and changed in positive ways over the course of these many months and the Search Committee is encouraged and supported by our parish’s confidence and respect for this unique process. The call of a new rector moves on God’s time and we know God is at work in our midst.
The Search Committee will continue to provide updates in the eMessenger, The Messenger (monthly), service leaflets, and through reports during services, and we invite you to pray daily for St. James and this important discernment:
Loving God of unchangeable light, we thank you for our St. James family. For generations, you have guided us to this holy place, our cornerstone of faith. Grant us patience, strength and wisdom as we walk together to discern your will. Bless us and bless our journey. We ask this in Jesus’ name by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.