St. Andrew’s by the Sea

at Rector
Location Little Compton
Date Posted March 18, 2022
Category Rhode Island (Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew)
Job Type Full Time
Setting Town
Compensation $80,000
Diocesan Compensation Info
Health Benefits Full Family
Housing Housing Allowance
Is there a rectory? No
Equity Allowance No
Communicants in Good Standing 75
Average Sunday Attendance 45
Child Population in Church School 0
Adult Population in Church School 0
Teacher Population in Church School 0
Budget $248,445


Additional comments re: compensation, benefits and housing.

Clergy pays 17% of health care premiums per diocesan policy.

Liturgical style and practice

Our liturgical style could be described as Broad Church, middle-of-the-road, or medium low. Our year-round Sunday morning service is Holy Eucharist, except when on Zoom. We usually sing the Psalm. We follow Rite II in the Book of Common Prayer, with some variation. In the summer months, we also hold an early Eucharist service, Rite II, without music. The congregation loves to sing, and we had an active choir before pandemic restrictions set in. Our Music Director recently retired, and we look forward to working with a new Rector to hire a replacement. Once we have the new music director and the COVID crisis is over, we are eager to resume the choir. There is a Steinway grand piano, as well as an organ, in the sanctuary.


Beautiful location on the shoreline of Rhode Island.  The church is well organized and lovingly tended with no deferred maintenance.

Close knit community that genuinely cares about one another and seeks ways to address and support needs in the community. As they report: The St. Andrew’s Outreach Committee is one of the most active in the parish. We are about to launch “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” doing small projects, such as yard work or painting, for people in the wider community. We host an annual Shred Day, and this year we hosted our first Blood Drive. Before the pandemic, we took part in hosting two programs at the Little Compton Community Center: Circle of Friends dinners, for the disabled; and Senior Luncheons. Our Angel Tree program provides Christmas gifts for children of incarcerated parents. We are pursuing opportunities to assist Afghan refugees through the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island. We also donate funds to charitable causes: the local food banks, ECC summer camp, the Westport Council on Aging, and the Little Compton Wellness Center. The meals in our Feeding Friends freezer are available for anyone in need as well as parishioners, donations to the Rector’s discretionary fund may be distributed to people in the wider community, and we collect used clothing for St. James Church, Woonsocket. Through Compassion International, we support the health and education of a child and her family in Togo, West Africa.


For nearly 80 years, St. Andrew’s was a summer chapel that served a very local community of families with vacation homes in Little Compton. In 1998, St. Andrew’s moved to the center of town and became a year-round parish to better serve the changing nature of the residents of Little Compton, South Tiverton and Westport, MA. We now have many fewer summer-only congregants and many more year-round members, many retired, from a far broader area and with more varied backgrounds.  Our challenge is to evolve in ways that serve everyone’s needs, including the younger families we seek to attract. Some parishioners have friendships developed  through Little Compton clubs (yacht, golf, beach) that others outside the clubs have perceived as uninviting at St. Andrew’s, but the broadening base of the parish has imposed change.  For example, only one of four current St. Andrew’s officers even resides in Little Compton.

St. Andrew’s has been challenged in the past 10 years with matters pertaining to our two recent Rectors. The Rector who was hired in 2009 did not support same sex marriage and this became evident and a matter of great concern to the parish in 2013.  It had likewise become an issue in the Episcopal Church.  As is seen in the answer to OTM question 10, the parish did much to bring forward understanding for both sides on the matter. Unfortunately, the strong conflicting feelings hurt the parish, both in membership and in finances.  But at least the same sex marriage issue was fully resovled at St. Andrew’s. The challenge with the Rector hired in 2017 pertained to expectations. The Rector, based on St. Andrew’s profile developed to support the search process, believed that the parishioners desired a priest who would grow the church spiritually through worship and Bible study, and she was well prepared to do that. As became apparent, the parish did not have the commitment to spiritual growth it had expressed in the profile.  Instead,  parishioners wanted to grow the church to reverse decline through a larger social presence in the community by the Rector. With this experience, the challenge now is to ensure that honest and straightforward communication is brought forward with every candidate for Rector.






Members of the church love the parish and the community.  Most are well educated, often high powered professionals, and the potential for engaging their gifts and skills is significant.

Contact Information

The Rev. Canon Dr. Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, Canon to the Ordinary  401-274-4500 (office) or 401-480-8651 (cell)