St. Mary’s

at Priest-in-Charge (to Rector)
Location Colonial Beach
Date Posted March 28, 2024
Category Virginia (Shirley Smith-Graham)
Job Type Full Time
Setting Town
Compensation $105,000
Diocesan Compensation Info
Health Benefits Negotiable
Housing Housing Allowance
Is there a rectory? No
Equity Allowance No
Communicants in Good Standing 89
Average Sunday Attendance 44
Budget $259,461


Liturgical style and practice

Our parish currently worships through one service at 9:30 a.m. That service is currently lead by a supply priest and has a limited selection of music. Prior to entering a time of transition, the parish enjoyed two Sunday services. One at 8 a.m. without music and the other at 10:30 a.m., which was accompanied by traditional hymns and featured the music of St. Mary’s beautiful historic pipe organ. Prior to transition, combined services were held quarterly and typically encompassed a fellowship activity for the parish to enjoy together. Structure and tradition are important to our congregation, but we value an informal atmosphere to our worship services and ensure that all are accepted just as they come, after all we are in a vibrant beach town!


St. Mary’s is a historic church dating back to 1911 and we value our place in town as a historic church and well-known congregation. We are located on the bank of the beautiful Potomac River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We have a beautiful campus that includes our historic church building, an open parish hall with kitchen area, an office building that is shared with both the outreach thrift store and classroom space. We have two additional lots that are utilized for event parking and offer potential for future expansion. We acknowledge that creation care is a priority of the Episcopal Church and we as a church are growing in our environmental consciousness. Our creation care committee was formed in the fall of 2022, and we are beginning our work by restoring native plants to our grounds.

We are a supportive and caring community of Christians who regularly gather inside the church for worship and outside the church for acts of ministry and service. We have a robust food pantry ministry that is staffed primarily with community volunteers. We are delighted to provide food and necessities to those in our town who find themselves in need. The women of the church run an outreach thrift store where donated goods are sold to earn money. This money is utilized not only for the operations of the church, but also provides scholarships to local high school students and donations to local organizations for the benefit of the community. Donated goods that are not sold in our shop are donated to other community organizations. Grown out of this is our most recent ministry, still in its infancy, “My Dream Coat” a children’s clothing ministry. This ministry provides clothing to the local school system for children in need and hosts seasonal dressing days events where families visit the church for free clothing for school aged children. This ministry has potential for growth and can assist in fostering relationships across other ministry areas both inside and outside of St. Mary’s.

The church is proud to sponsor a prayer shawl ministry, where again, most members are community participants. The group creates prayer shawls and other items that are blessed and shared with those in need. Most recently, the group generously donated a quilt that was raffled off for the benefit of the church’s operating expenses. The church hosts a connections group where members focus on a particular book and share fellowship and experiences related to the book. The church has a prayer partner ministry of men and women who are available to pray with and for members of the community and their friends or family. There is a community prayer box available on the church grounds to accept requests from the townspeople. Prayer partners are available during services to pray with and for parishioners after communion. St. Mary’s acts as a host site for the town’s 2nd Friday art walks through the year. This is an opportunity to feature a local artist (or more) and invite residents and guests of the town into the church grounds for art and fellowship.

All of these ministries, and more. show we are active in our small beach town and are an important anchor in our community. While people may not attend or understand our liturgy they understand who we are and that we are there to support and help! We are a congregation whose members have many talents. The congregation is always eager to learn more about each other and encourage people to use their talents that may be unknown. We are accepting, loving, and supporting of one another while recognizing our similarities as well as our differences.

We are a congregation that is mostly north of 55, although we have important members of other ages, some of whom take an active role in the church. We are committed to ensure that our church thrives in this generation and the generations to come. While we have a limited number of children in the current life of the church, we miss their presence and we are anxious to develop ways to best include children at this time.


We are rebuilding trust after a damaging experience where trust was not honored. We are eager and willing to move beyond the recent fraudulent actions of our last priest to move forward as a church. As part of our transition, we have discovered that some of our ways of doing things are were not consistent with the best practices of the Episcopal Church, and this made us vulnerable. We are making progress in learning what needs to be done to lower the risk of future problems. While we acknowledge that our members have many talents, our small size means we often rely on a small group of leaders and we acknowledge that we would be better served to incorporate others into lay leadership and empower and support them for the health and well-being of the church. We desire to have an annual activity for planning goals and programs that is led by the clergy and the vestry and invites the participation of all members of the congregation. As a result we want to develop a shared view of ministry priorities, take on a manageable number of commitments, and lead the whole church to understand that we are not equipped to do things beyond the agreed upon commitments.

Like many other churches, we have experienced a decrease in the number of members and pledges. We are motivated to take action to adapt to this reality. We were lucky enough to have a rector who served our church for more than 30 years. Because of this, our church was very clergy-led. Upon his retirement we were blessed with an interim who led us to find a develop a robust lay leadership program. The arrival of our new priest and the global pandemic stunted our laity focus and development. We are at a place where we want to re-establish the lay leadership focus we once had and to be intentional about getting the shared ministry relationships clear between clergy & laity. We seek a priest who will facilitate the growth we desire. We have a history of resistance to change, but we are willing to engage in constructive conversations that address the reasons for the resistance.


We are seeking a priest-in-charge who brings a robust combination of skills and is

  • Eager and able to work with other clergy and Bishops. Knows and follows the Cannons of the Episcopal Church and the church business manual.
  • Is an effective preacher who inspires with the Holy Scriptures and teaches what transformed life looks like.
  • Encourages and coaches us in how to live fully into our ministries as baptized Christians in the Episcopal Church. Encourages us to learn together and journey together in following Jesus.
  • Is comfortable in his/her own skin, manages self well, is open and connected with others, is authentic, and is committed to his/her own health and uses proven practices to support his/her own commitment.
  • Is a good communicator and a collaborative leader who builds consensus and coaches us to grow stronger together.
  • Is able to help our congregation through a process of change in a way that builds us up and keeps anxiety levels manageable.
  • Knows how to help a church achieve stability while also leaning toward growth and change.

Overall, St. Mary’s is seeking a true shepherd to usher this congregation into the next chapter of love and service to our community and to God.

Contact Information

To apply, please send a cover letter, OTM, and resume (if desired) to the Reverend Shirley Smith Graham, Transition Minister,