St. Stephen's, Middlebury
|Date Posted||July 9, 2018|
Vermont (Lynn Bates)
|Compensation||$68,000 includes housing allowance|
|Health Benefits||Full Family|
|Communicants in Good Standing||254|
|Average Sunday Attendance||95|
|Child Population in Church School||10|
|Adult Population in Church School||30|
On Interim Ministry
Statement by the Vestry of St Stephen’s, Middlebury
This statement reflects the views of the Vestry of St Stephen’s, Middlebury, on the major aspects of the position of rector, and the considerations that should go into making an interim appointment, as we prepare to call an interim rector.
Liturgical Matters. Our current schedule of services includes two Eucharists on Sunday mornings and one noonday Eucharist on Wednesdays. We would expect the interim rector to celebrate those services, and to preach at most of the Sunday services, delivering original sermons that are thoughtful, provocative, and offer new insights into the lessons. Our parish does include several associated clergy, retired priests, and others who, among them, would be able to preach on perhaps one Sunday each month. We would expect the interim rector to consult closely with the Liturgy Committee, both to learn more about current practices at St Stephen’s, and to explore alternative forms or times of worship. St Stephen’s also offers once-monthly services at three off-site locations: Eucharists at two senior living centers, and Evening Prayer at the local nursing home and rehabilitation center. We would expect the interim rector to lead these services, although much of the organizing for them is the responsibility of lay leaders. We would also expect the interim rector to offer, on occasion, Bible studies or other adult education classes that could increase the awareness of members of the congregation on theological and ecclesiological matters.
Pastoral Care. We would expect that the interim rector would be the primary person in the parish responsible for pastoral care for those facing serious illnesses, approaching the end of their lives, grieving, or facing family crises. While members of the pastoral lay ministry team can do much to assist parishioners in their daily lives, we believe there is no substitute for having an ordained member of the clergy available on a regular basis to meet with, and pray with, members of the parish, and their loved ones, facing serious challenges in their lives.
Openness to the Community. We would expect that the interim Rector would continue the current practice and spirit at St Stephen’s of being open and welcoming to the community. While much of the day-to-day work of this activity would be carried out by lay leadership, the interim rector should be actively involved in the activities of MACA (Middlebury Area Clergy Association), should introduce and welcome visitors to concerts held at St Stephen’s, should ensure that the building is open and welcoming to those organizations (Speak Up, AA, etc.) that use our space for their meetings, and should make use of the rector’s discretionary fund to assist members of the community in need. Also, the interim rector should support the continuing work of visioning and outreach that will have been well under way at the time the interim appointment begins.
Downtown Middlebury Construction. As the Vermont Agency of Transportation begins a major three-year rail and tunnel construction project immediately adjacent to St Stephen’s, we would expect the interim rector, along with lay leadership, to represent the interests of the parish in mitigating, to the extent possible, the effects of the project on the parish’s building and activities – efforts that are understood and supported by the town government and the owners of other historic buildings in the vicinity of the project. We would also expect that the interim rector would participate in the activities of Neighbors Together: a community organization, based at St Stephen’s, that brings together the stakeholders in downtown Middlebury.
Parish Administration. Our parish is fortunate to have strong lay-led Finance, Facilities, and Stewardship Committees. We would expect the interim rector to become familiar with the parish budget, the condition of the church building, and the work of the committees to maintain and enhance the financial position of the parish and the fabric of the church building. We would expect the interim rector to supervise the parish administrator and the facilities manager, and, with others on the worship team, to work collaboratively with the choir director and the organist on the musical aspects of our worship.
Transition. We expect that the discernment and search process leading to the call of our next settled rector will have started prior to the arrival of the interim rector. During this time of transition, we see the interim rector acting, in effect, as chaplain to the entire congregation, reassuring members that change should be seen in terms of possibilities and opportunities for growth, rather than as something to be feared. We would also hope that the interim rector would help us in the process of congregational renewal, through preaching and adult education, by placing activities such as visioning and outreach into a spiritual, theological, and ecclesiological framework. Additionally, since the arrival of a new clergy person at a church sometimes leads “seekers” and “explorers” to start coming to that church, the interim rector should welcome, and make sure that the parish welcomes, newcomers who would like to become part of our parish, or simply want a welcoming space in which to pray, and through prayer, to deepen their faith. We also hope that the interim rector may be able to work with lapsed members of St Stephen’s on reconciliation between themselves and the parish.
Conclusion. We would prefer to call an interim rector who has had training and experience working with medium-sized parishes going through transitions. We hope that our interim rector will be someone who will build on the work of communications and visioning that St Stephen’s has already done; who will help us to continue to do the things that we do well; who, through action and through preaching, will make the parish comfortable and confident in the idea of impending change in clerical leadership; who might attract some new members to the congregation or begin reconciling with former members who are disaffected; and who will thus leave the parish in a strong and promising state when the next settled rector arrives.
Canon Lynn Bates
Episcopal Church in Vermont