St. John's Episcopal Church
|Date Posted||March 22, 2019|
Michigan (Jim Gettel)
|Health Benefits||Full Family|
|Communicants in Good Standing||450|
|Average Sunday Attendance||190|
At Saint John’s Plymouth (www.stjohnsplymouth.org), we have a long history, having celebrated our centennial in 2012. Following Christ, we welcome, worship, and serve. We are inclusive and intentional in reaching out to neighbors and newcomers. Our priest welcomes newcomers each Sunday and invites them to fill out a “Get Connected” card found in the pews. Next, a parishioner makes a personal house call, bringing a St. John’s coffee mug and information about our community. Several times a year, we hold a Newcomer Brunch to keep that welcome going and to deepen opportunities for seekers to find fellowship and a spiritual home here. We have welcomed four new families in just the last few weeks.
Our worship covers a spectrum of preferences from the very traditional 8:00 AM service featuring Rite II Eucharist and the 1982 Hymnal to our more contemporary 10:00 AM service, featuring expansive liturgies and eclectic music in an all-inclusive bulletin. We offer a mid-week healing service as well. St. John’s deeply cherishes the role of music as both an expression of faith and an enhancement to our worship. We have a dedicated choir, house band and bell choir; invited guest instrumentalists and vocalists often enrich our services as well. We have a robust training program for Acolytes, a creative Altar Guild who beautifies our sanctuary, and a building whose unique architecture and large picture window framing the cross lifts our spirits to God. A nursery with professional paid staff frees parents of young children to attend the 10 AM service. We also offer Sunday school for children through grade six. Along with current daytime Bible studies and discussions, we have added evening study groups for the convenience of those who work during the day.
Service is at the heart of who we are at St. John’s. We have built numerous outreach ministries. Internally, our Food Pantry here on site provides food and other necessities to help all who come to make ends meet. We have a medical equipment loan closet providing sometimes prohibitively expensive items—wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and shower chairs—as any have need. We open our space to several local organizations for weekly meetings, among them Al Anon, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and PFLAG. We are faith in action! Externally, large groups of volunteers from St. John’s travel several times each year to Detroit. At Crossroads—a social service agency and soup kitchen—we prepare meals for those in need, and at Gleaners—a Detroit food distribution center, we help as needed.
The preliminary results of our Discovery Process of discernment during the past year have been both encouraging and eye-opening. We have identified these core values: inclusiveness, discipleship, compassion, worship, and community. The congregation’s feedback during the Discovery Process has helped us understand our strengths and challenges. The discernment process has helped us to better listen to one another and to appreciate the deep potential in our community.
At first glance, Plymouth appears to be a white, affluent community, but a deeper look reveals a diverse workforce, an aging population, as well as residents living on the financial fringe who are looking for opportunities for engagement in the city as well. Likewise, St. John’s population is more diverse than it first appears. While some are professionals and some are affluent, others of us are students, and some struggle with underemployment and financial hardship. We are young families, singles, LGBTQ members, and—increasingly—senior citizens. Prospects for even greater local outreach ministry are numerous.
With our previous interim rector, we have begun the work, but we need to clearly define our mission and vision, and continue to learn what God is calling us to do. We need to find new ways to attract and keep young families. Wonderful volunteer parishioners have made our Vacation Bible School a terrific outreach to children in our community, but we have struggled in recent years to retain middle school and high school youth as active members. Modern life creates a real need for alternative worship times for young families and people with non-traditional work schedules; we want to find new ways to meet these needs. There is a desire in our congregation for more opportunities for mission outreach. We recognize that these goals require a healthy financial base and careful budgeting. We look to move beyond past hurts and conflicts left in the wake of unexpected departures by clergy and staff. We seek help in improving communication between leadership and the parish community.
St. John’s is seeking a strong, experienced interim rector who can lead us through the next steps of our journey to finding a permanent rector. One year in, We are looking for a person who will intently listen to our needs and cultivate and mentor lay leadership (both visible and invisible) within St. John’s. The Discovery Process revealed that we would deeply appreciate a rector with a passion for Christian education. We also seek one who understands the business side—policies, procedures and finances—of our church.
We are ready to follow Christ’s call to St. John’s, and we seek a priest to guide us on our journey. We wish to welcome a visionary rector to help us determine what God wants for St. John’s, so we can reach out for that future together.
To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter, OTM Portfolio, and two sample sermons (in any format) to:
Canon for Congregational Life
Episcopal Diocese of Michigan