Trinity Church, Branford

at Priest in Charge
Location Branford
Date Posted December 23, 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
Anglo-Catholic no
Average Sunday Attendance 108
Broad Church yes
Charismatic no
Child Population in Church School 13
Adult Population in Church School 3
Contemporary no
Teacher Population in Church School 2
Emergent no
Budget 441,126
Morning Prayer yes
Non-Traditional no
Prayer Book yes
Renewal no
Rite I yes
Rite II yes

Description

Strengths

Strengths of the parish:
1. As a church community: We acknowledge the primacy, beauty, and necessity of communal worship as our centering connection to God and one another and the need to learn and explore our faith and its ramifications on our actions in the world.
a. Strong support for music programs
b. Creativity in managing worship during the pandemic to meet different needs in the parish with outdoor services on the Branford town Green, live-streaming services, and a weekly Zoom Evening Prayer service.
c. Welcoming, accepting, and inclusive of all people – all races, religions, life styles...easy to become involved, invited to join in
d. Children & Families - diverse variety of programs offered include for example: meeting residents in nursing homes, Ronald McDonald House fundraisers, art programs, nature-based programs.
2. As a pastoral community: We understand the blessed responsibility of caring for each other in keeping with our mission statement that “All may feel beloved”.
a. Experienced lay pastoral team and coordination of hospital/home visits
b. Meals, post-service altar flowers delivery
c. Awareness and pride of Trinity’s place and reputation in the Branford community as the go-to church when help is needed.
d. Trinity’s Closet
e. A weekly published prayer list that includes both Trinity parishioners, friends of Trinity and The Trinity Community.
3. As a member of the larger communities in our town, state, country, and the world: we consciously align our outreach with the diocesan challenge to move beyond our church walls and into the community, to engage in creative, critical, and necessary dialogues with our neighbors, and to aspire to unleash our theological imaginations toward developing innovative ways to reflect Christ’s light in the world.
a. Strong tradition of consistent outreach; Branford Food Pantry, Columbus House, Crow Nation children support, Common Hope schooling program Guatemala
b. $2 million renovation of facilities to make our space more supportive of outside groups and events (NA, AA, Scouts, Compassionate Friends, and others).
c. Turned the parish hall into a COVID vaccination clinic in the same space used as hospital extension during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.
d. Established and strong relationships with town government and community leaders of social service organizations.
e. Living Wisely and Well on Planet Earth program on environmental awareness
4. As an organization: We manage our resources, both personnel and financial, with sober humility, focus, and professionalism.
a. Recently completed $2 M renovation for fully accessible buildings, without debt following a highly successful capital campaign
b. Historically loyal base, with consistent financial support including regular support from Foote Family Charitable Trust for capital projects, plus a $2 M endowment.
c. Transparency to all parishioners
d. Strong lay business and administration skills – finance, legal, IT.
e. Excellent lay leadership with strong credibility and trust with parishioners.
5. As an enduring landmark in our community’s history: We are proven stewards of our church legacy and have made concerted effort to maintain the church as an open and accessible focal point of the Branford and larger community.
a. Our parish can trace its roots to the beginning of the Episcopal Church in the United States with Samuel Seabury as one of our first (our first?) rectors. We have been a presence on the Branford Town Green since 1784.
b. Our current church edifice was consecrated in 1852, built in the English Gothic Style with a nod to Branford’s maritime history. The building was built with ship’s siding and the interior influenced by ship building techniques with original hand-hewn beams and in oak, hemlock and hickory.
c. Trinity’s stained-glass windows include three designed by Tiffany and one beautiful artisan designed addition recently installed over the church front door.
d. In our church we have a 24-rank pipe Moller organ and a Steinway grand piano.
e. We are located within the Branford Center Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
f. The Trinity Church building underwent a $2 million restoration completed in 2020, including a critically needed replacement of the original wooden sill beams supporting the church, removal of asbestos, and installation of an elevator and fully renovated kitchen. The renovation was undertaken to preserve the history of the church while ensuring the building’s functionality as a community center and creating access to all parts of the church for all people.
g. Our rectory, a colonial-style home built in 1953, is located 2 miles from the Church in the Pine Orchard section of Branford.

Challenges

1. Declining membership
We are experiencing the same declining church membership and difficulty attracting new members, especially young families, that the Connecticut Diocese and TEC experience. We are committed to finding new ways to reach out to new members.
2. Diversity
While traditionally our membership reflects the demographics of the eastern New Haven shoreline communities, those demographics are changing. We are strongly committed to increasing the diversity of our congregation.
3. Declining Sunday worship attendance
Due partly to a smaller membership as noted, but more importantly to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic on community life, we struggle with declining Sunday worship attendance. Our question is how we offer worship experiences that will attract consistent participation.
4. Increasing the engagement and participation of more parishioners in the work of the Church.
a. We have a core of parishioners who fully participate in the life of Trinity, but we are challenged to engage the majority of our parishioners in our pastoral work and in our work within the larger communities of our town, state, country and world. We desire to try to engage everyone in our congregation in Trinity’s pastoral and community work in small and large ways.
b. In general Trinity parishioners are not activists but appreciate priest and lay leaders who are. They will donate money or goods for specific projects that they believe in but are not so quick to donate time or energy to projects. Our challenge is to create projects that will inspire people to be active donors

Comments

(a) Trinity Church touches far more people than just our regular parishioners. It is difficult to count the actual numbers. The following groups use our space every month, some weekly and some less often.
• Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
• Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
• Compassionate Friends
• Shoreline Quilters
• Branford Historic Society
• Scout Units
o Cub Scout Pack 424 (Family)
o Scout BSA – Troop 424 (Boys)
o Scout BSA – Troop 6424 (Girls)
o Venture Crew 424 (Boys and Girls)
o Girl Scout Troop
(b) Trinity Church’s historic building is a landmark that ties everyone who sees and enters the building to the history of Branford.
(c) The addition of the Columbarium to the church provides for the needs of parishioners now and into the future.
(d) The renovated spaces are being used as Clinics to provide vaccines to the community.
(e) Visitors to the church are recognized and welcomed.
(f) New members are quickly invited to actively participate and be part of the service and community outreach projects.

Contact Information

Amber Page Gehr, Diocesan Transition Minister
apagegehr@episcopalct.org

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

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