St. John’s Church, Vernon

at Priest in Charge
Location Vernon
Date Posted August 5, 2021
Category Connecticut (Amber Page Gehr)
Job Type Full Time
Setting Suburban
Compensation Will meet diocesan guidelines.
Health Benefits Full Family
Housing Housing for 6
Equity Allowance Yes
Communicants in Good Standing 250
Average Sunday Attendance 129
Child Population in Church School 8
Adult Population in Church School 25
Teacher Population in Church School 6
Budget $281,487
Anglo-Catholic no
Broad Church yes
Charismatic no
Contemporary no
Emergent no
Morning Prayer yes
Non-Traditional no
Prayer Book yes
Renewal no
Rite I yes
Rite II yes

Description

Strengths

The parishioners of St. John’s are deeply generous.  Even during the economic uncertainties of these pandemic-filled months, they gave over $6,000 through emergency food bank donations, in addition to their pledges.  We are a frugal corporate body who strive to live within our means and be financially prepared for unforeseen circumstances.  Our frugality is made possible by the strong culture of volunteerism within our ranks.  While we pay professionals to handle the complex jobs or repairs, much of our day-to-day upkeep and repair is done for free by a wide range of talented, handy parishioners.

We are unafraid of “trying on” different ways of being and doing, and we have a broad spectrum of parishioners willing to lead new ventures or create a new ministry where they see an unfulfilled need.  Our leadership bench is both wide and deep.  We have a short waiting list of people willing to serve on the Vestry when new terms open up.

We have become very welcoming to newcomers; our hospitality was mentioned as the primary reason we were chosen as the new home to parishioners of St. John’s East Hartford in 2017 when they decided to merge into a larger, more financially stable parish. (After the merger, one of the St. John’s East Hartford people told us, “Other parishes we visited were very nice and parishioners invited us into their dining room.  But you folks at St. John’s Vernon brought us right to your kitchen table!”)

We have spent more than a decade learning how to communicate with each other clearly and respectfully, recognizing that people of good will can have moments of disagreement.  In 2009 we participated in the new program Partnership for a Missional Church, and since that time we have continued our attempts to listen to what God is asking us and our church to become.  We seek authentic reconciliation in all matters and do our best to ensure that the rector, lay leaders, and all parishioners feel heard and valued.

Challenges

Saint John’s is not immune to the demographic and cultural shifts that are affecting churches nationwide.  Our parishioner losses due to relocation or going home to God are not being offset by the arrival of new families.  Despite the extraordinary generosity of many parishioners, our multi-year trend is a familiar one:  we have fewer people giving more money, which is not sustainable in the very long-term.

As leaders we also need to balance the generational differences that sometimes emerge within our family: our older parishioners are very comfortable with the Church as they experienced it decades ago, while our younger parishioners grasp more readily the idea that the 21st century Church must be more nimble and less bound by the accoutrements of the traditional Church. It will take ongoing, careful thought, and prayerful intention to move forward in a way that leaves no one feeling left behind.

Comments

St. John’s is a vibrant, healthy church filled with people who care deeply for one another and who possess a substantial level of empathy for those outside our doors.  We recently said Farewell to a deeply-loved rector who fostered a culture of respect, inclusion, and honest dialogue, and who walked side-by-side with us as First amongst Equals.

The leadership model of St. John’s is a web, not a ladder.  We empower volunteers to take risks, lift them up when they fall short, and encourage them to try again.

While we are saddened by our Rector’s retirement, we are looking forward with faith to what God has in store for us; we are doing our very best to face this time of change with open and hopeful hearts.

Visit St. John's website here.

Contact Information

Visit how to apply for positions in ECCT here.

 

We adhere to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut compensation guidelines, which can be found in The Commons Companion here.

 

Amber Page Gehr, Diocesan Transition Minister

apagegehr@episcopalct.org