Southern Shores + All Saints
|Date Posted||January 23, 2019|
East Carolina (Matthew Stockard & Hannah Hilterbrand)
|Health Benefits||Clergy Only|
|Communicants in Good Standing||331|
|Average Sunday Attendance||123|
|Child Population in Church School||8|
|Adult Population in Church School||0|
|Teacher Population in Church School||2|
The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a 90-mile stretch of sand with about 60,000 permanent residents and 6 million visitors a year. Summertime at the beach is very busy, but things slow down from fall to spring. To brighten that winter period, our parish conducts a program called After Dark at All Saints (AD@AS). Throughout the month of February, volunteers from both the congregation and the community teach classes on subjects as diverse as beekeeping to bonsai, car-buying tips to cooking. People from throughout the community attend, and for many it is a pleasant introduction to All Saints. We charge $23 per class for the more than 80 that are offered, and all proceeds are returned to the community. Our Servant Ministry committee reviews the needs and effectiveness of local charities, and distributes the funds accordingly. Representatives of those selected charities receive our donations at a worship service, and have an opportunity to discuss the good work that they do. AD@AS brings the community to our church, brings our congregation together in a worthwhile effort, and distributes more than $18,000 annually to the needs of our neighbors.
Our regular Sunday worship is comprised of services at 8:30 and 10:30 AM, both of which use Rite II. The 8:30 service is a simple celebration without music. Our richer 10:30 service has a full choir accompanied by organ and guitar. We also have Sunday School and nursery at our 10:30 service. Both services have an appropriate array of lay eucharistic ministers, lectors, ushers, and greeters, and are followed by social time at coffee hour. We hold Evensong with organ and choir several times a year and Evening Prayer weekly during the summer to accommodate visitors. We hold walks through our labyrinth area at each solstice and equinox, and Stations of the Cross several times during Holy Week. We also hold a Blessing of the Animals at an outdoor service each year. All Saints provides space in our administration/classroom building for a small Lutheran congregation to hold weekly services. Several times a year we conduct a “Lutherpalian” service to bring the two congregations together.
Our Welcoming and Incorporation committee’s mission is to use intentional hospitality as a basis for bringing new members into the full life and ministry of our parish and to improve ways in which existing church members feel connected and engaged in the life of All Saints. These goals came from our understanding that because we are a relatively young pastoral church we are all incorporated into this community. In addition to ushers and greeters at each service, Welcome Coordinators are assigned who specifically welcome visitors, get them nametags, invite them to coffee hour, and gather information that allows for further contact and follow-up. Local visitors interested in membership receive communication from clergy as well as delivery by a member of homemade bread, All Saints mugs, and our information booklet. Our belief is that our individual faith, and that of our community, is strengthened when we share our journeys and are witnesses to God’s love with others.
All Saints is known as a warm, friendly, caring community. We are a family. This caring frequently happens informally between individual parishioners and extends through various church groups such as the choir. We also provide help “when things fall apart….. at times of crisis, illness and need” in a more organized way through our Pastoral Care committee. These are lay members who coordinate and provide help in various ways including prayers, meals, transportation to church or medical appointments, cards, calls, prayer shawls and visits. Eucharist is brought to those who are shut-ins, usually by the Rector but also by LEMs. Prayer is so very important. There are several confidential ways to request prayers. We have a telephone prayer chain always available. There is a Prayer/Healing team which meets monthly, members are present at Sunday services to pray with and for parishioners, family, etc. There are also specific groups such as the Women’s Circle, Grief Group, and spiritual study groups, who meet regularly.
While we have individual parishioners who are active at the Diocesan and National Church levels, our main involvement is in our geographical region. A large proportion of All Saints’ members are retirees who have become heavily involved as servant leaders of charitable organizations here. Our parishioners are also very active in local cultural organizations such as the Arts Council, the Outer Banks Forum and the Bryan Cultural Series. In fact, All Saints members serve as Board members for almost all of the prominent nonprofits on the Outer Banks.
The All Saints School (TASS) has been open for almost 5 years. TASS was established to fill a critical need within our community for child education and care. It has grown from less than a dozen children to almost 40 students. TASS offers child care and instruction to children aged 1½ to 6 years using the Montessori model. TASS is managed through a Board that addresses any and all matters pertaining to the School, its operations and function, and reports to the Vestry. The School Director is employed through an outside company and is a nonvoting member of the TASS Board. The Board also includes All Saints members and a Student Parent representative. Any member of the TASS Board can be contacted about this ministry.
We profess that we believe that all things come from God. In that, we strive to be good stewards of all that we have: our people – their time, talent, and treasure; our resources and facilities; and our surroundings. As a very active pastoral-sized congregation with program-sized activities, volunteerism is very high, both inside the church and in the larger community. Our parishioners are involved broadly in church worship, fellowship and education events as well as community activities. Our facilities were not financed from endowment funds but from mortgages made possible from financial commitments of members. Our operations are funded by both lay-led annual Stewardship campaigns resulting in pledge commitments from members and by fundraising events. A portion of monies from our operating income are given through outreach to organizations supporting community needs. We believe our average pledge is in line with average pledges in other parishes of our Diocese. We require a balanced budget.
The Outer Banks community is blessed in many ways:
• We have the natural beauty and restorative properties of our beaches; virtually the entire community lives within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean or the sound,
• We enjoy a mild climate, with breezes that moderate summer heat and little or no snow in the winter,
• We are a family-friendly community in attitude and entertainment. People are generally warm, friendly, and neighborly,
• There is relatively little crime on the Outer Banks. We are not immune from larger city problems, but the incidence of serious crime is very low,
• We have one of the best-ranked school systems in the state,
• There is a surprisingly rich range of cultural events and opportunities for a “small” community. The Outer Banks is a strong supporter of the arts,
• There are a large number of good to excellent restaurants which offer a diverse range of dining choices,
• The Outer Banks is extremely popular for fishing, water sports, and is the No. 2 wedding destination in the country. Our parish reflects and embraces the blessings of the Outer Banks.
Employment on the Outer Banks is mainly seasonal and primarily tourism, but also fishing and agriculture. Wages drop or disappear in the off season. Affordable housing is scarce and a large segment of our population needs assistance in various ways. All Saints members are very engaged ‘on the ground’ in helping through many community charities. In rotation with other churches we house and feed homeless people from November to April through Room in the Inn; we stock and distribute food at the Food Pantry; we provide meals and serve at ‘Ruthie’s Kitchen’; we pack weekend meals for food insecure preschool and school children through Food for Thought; we volunteer at the Community Care Clinic of Dare; we give Christmas gifts for children through the local Angel Gift Program; we work in various ways with the Latino community through Mano al Hermano, e.g., tutoring in English, and the Latino Resources Coalition. During the summer we ‘Feed the Lifeguards’ who protect swimmers. AA meets in our building, as does a Girl Scout troop. We welcome all people to participate in service and worship.
As we look towards the future, we know that to continue to thrive as a parish we must be open to the differing needs of people in our community, both churched and unchurched, and especially young people. The addition of diverse forms, times, and spaces for worship and spiritual growth is essential. Some things already done include the addition of a quiet, wooded walk with simple ‘Stations of the Cross’, weaving around our large outdoor labyrinth. This space can be used more for alternative worship, meditation, etc. Especially here on our beautiful Outer Banks, we know that God can be experienced in many ways through nature, quiet, and meditation as well as through the more traditional worship services. The Vestry has established and is implementing a long-range plan that addresses many of the challenges faced by our parish.
The Outer Banks community has about 60,000 permanent residents, but expands tremendously during the summer as a vacation destination for some 6 million annual visitors. This cyclic expansion and contraction adds to a number of challenges for our local community and our parish:
• A tourism-driven economy where most income is earned in the summer and there is high unemployment through the off-season,
• A community that stretches some 90 miles end to end with no public transportation infrastructure,
• Limited government social services stretched over that same distance,
• A higher proportion of retirees than most communities, but a limited amount of medical and other retiree services,
• A significant income gap between relatively well-off retirees or second home owners and the relatively low-wage service economy labor force,
• A community that evacuates to higher ground due to hurricanes and/or floods on average every other year, and
• A community that is predominantly white with limited Hispanic, African-American, and non-Christian representation.
All Saints has been generally free of significant or damaging conflicts in its short history. If and when conflicts arise, we believe open and honest communication and sharing among all parties is essential for resolution. During the period of social unrest that occurred in the Episcopal Church following the institution of openly gay Bishop Robinson in New Hampshire in 2003, our community was only minimally affected and largely accepted that issue without protest. Potential disruptions, if any, were minimized because clergy and lay leadership openly talked about the subject. By that time, our mission statement was well established and remained clear: we are an open-minded and open-hearted parish. On only a few other occasions, incidents resulting from politicized commentary on public issues from both clergy and lay were mollified through conversations between the affected parties and clergy and parish lay leadership. We have most recently been described by visiting clergy as a community with no apparent conflicts, “free of any pathology”.
Our congregation has representatives on committees at the Deanery, Diocesan, and national levels, and we are generally in step with the direction of the Episcopal Church. Our Parish is only 24 years old, our first Rector was female, and we embody that section of our Vision Statement that states, “God calls us to be a loving, open-hearted, and open-minded Episcopal Church…”. A large percentage of our congregation are people who grew up in other denominations, and we are very close to the Lutheran congregation which shares our facility. We welcome all and do a fairly good job of incorporating those who visit our church into our congregation. Reflecting the challenges many churches are facing, though, we have been less successful in growing the younger elements of our Parish. Our Sunday School attendance has dropped considerably over the last decade, and our Youth ministry is no longer active. Neither a new wing to accommodate our Christian Education program nor The All Saints School has been a vehicle to attract young families. We have learned that in order to sustain and grow our church, we need help in casting our net more widely.
Our Congregation strives to measure up to Jesus’ commandments to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself, and we are praying for a rector who can provide the inspirational leadership to more fully embody those commandments. We seek a priest who can, through education and worship, guide us to fully love the Lord. Important characteristics of our Parish include the community we share together within the All Saints family, the love we extend to our neighbors in the broader community through outreach, and the care we give to each other in times of trouble or need. We are searching for a pastor who can help us to broaden and deepen that love of neighbor within and outside the congregation. We have an energetic, though aging, cadre of volunteers willing to follow such inspirational leadership in support of our worship, education, fellowship, pastoral care, and outreach programs. We believe in diversity within our programs and mission and seek a rector who can lead us in that open-hearted, open-minded love for the community and the world, and who can better connect us to the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus movement.
Our parish family cherishes the ties that bind us together in worship, in service and to each other. This family, like all others, needs someone who can discern and nurture our individual gifts and encourages us to use them. We are searching for someone who illuminates the holiness that is created when we gather and motivates us to shed that light unto others. Meister Eckhart writes that the “seed of God is in us.” We hope our new rector can cultivate those seeds in us through inward spiritual work and outward service. The All Saints family needs a warm, tolerant and open-hearted priest who courageously and actively pursues thought-provoking dialogue and challenging opportunities. We seek someone to engage with and who will listen with their whole heart. We are on a journey of faith, seeking a rector humble enough to walk beside us and strong enough to walk in front of us. We pray for a rector who has the energy and endurance to enter us into the next season of this parish, someone with whom we can discuss and decide when it is best to walk and when it is necessary to run.
We invite you to visit our website:
Priests who would like to express their interest in participating in the discernment of the next Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Southern Shores, NC in the Diocese of East Carolina need to complete the entire brief survey to be found at this link (this will take about 10 minutes):
You do not need to send additional materials at this time.
Persons who complete the survey at this link will be contacted and informed of next steps in March.
The position will receive names through March 17, 2019.