St. Luke's, St. Albans
1/4 Time Priest-in-Partnership
|Date Posted||June 1, 2018|
Vermont (Lynn Bates)
|Compensation||$24,000 all inclusive|
|Communicants in Good Standing||165 from Last Parochial Report filed for 2012|
|Average Sunday Attendance||51 from Last Parochial Report filed for 2012|
Parish description of St. Luke’s as of 11/13/16 to share with parish members
Our task was to describe where the parish is, not to prescribe what it needs, but to get a collective description as a starting point for assessment. The first paragraph is not part of the description but gives the immediate background for Saint Luke’s situation today.
Description of events that led to where St. Luke’s is today:
In June of 2015, St. Luke’s full-time Rector resigned after several unfortunate situations and decisions. A January 2014 flood in the church disrupted church activities for much of the year; the suspension of our Red Door Academy daycare license in March of 2015 and its subsequent closing was another major loss of revenue; and the use of our endowment principal for operating expenses over a ten-year period was another factor. Saint Luke’s no longer could afford to pay a full-time Rector.
Description of St. Luke’s today
The parish is in the process of coming to grips with its financial situation and the many shifts in responsibility that come from not having a full-time Rector. Much of the energy of the core of committed members is spent addressing the financial and property issues and tending to the basic needs of keeping St. Luke’s operational. Some are tired from the extra burdens they have been carrying. Members are experiencing the complete range of feelings over issues related both to the former rector and his spouse and to the decisions made around parish finances. There are many different levels of awareness of what resources are available and what possible options St. Luke’s has at this time. Many are affected and concerned over the loss of membership. Some are concerned about whether there is a future for St. Luke’s. Others see a way forward and are ready to explore new ideas. One concern is that leadership is not spread out more widely and leaders may burnout. One cause may be that leaders do not receive adequate support, making it hard to attract and keep leaders. All agree that the issue of how leadership is shared needs attention.
Members are committed to keeping St. Luke’s open. The parish has no unified vision at this time. It has a strong core of very committed volunteers and there is a strong affection and closeness amongst many members. Some healing has been done and some perspective gained through the help of the diocese and fellow parishioners. Most recognize the need for continued healing and using this experience to strengthen the parish. All recognize a serious need to find new ways to share leadership and provide encouragement and support to one another in leadership roles
St. Luke’s is ready now to give some time to assess our situation and our options and to work to form a clear new vision and a clear sense of shared priorities to implement it. The financial part of this assessment is underway with the decision made to sell the rectory and the Red Door Academy. There is a willingness to assess the kinds of leadership, lay and ordained, we are ready to support in the immediate future. Most see that is very important to involve as many parishioners as possible in this assessment, visioning and planning. And many see a need to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness as we go.
Phrases from newsprint describing St. Luke’s currently: 11/5/16
We have been using our energy to stop the bleeding and maintain the status quo.
We have done a lot of healing and there is still some left to do from issues related to a sudden loss of a rector, a sense of abandonment, a lack of leadership and of management.
We have experienced healing with the help of the Diocese and from each other.
We do not think the parish is sustainable without growth or a sudden financial windfall.
We feel like there was a break of trust with the last rector, that we were taken advantage of and betrayed.
We have been struggling and have pulled in and are not certain of what we have the energy to do.
We need to assess where we are as part of a way toward making decisions.
Some of us have energy and are ready to try new ideas.
We have some resources to be explored, such as use of church building, use of assets from rectory and Red door sale.
We do not have a clear vision.
We need to find a practical way to deal with our situation, assess it, and make decisions.
We do not have a clear sense of priorities or more accurately shared priorities.
We need to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness and support of each other and build a stewardship practices that reflects this.
People have stepped in to help.
We have a core who support the church.
The small core is very tired.
The core is in danger of getting burned out.
There is closeness among most of the core members.
Canon Lynn Bates, Transition Minister