After more than six months and literally hundreds of hours, the Search Committee is nearing the end of their mission. Soon the results of their application evaluations, zoom interviews, and discernment discussions will be turned over to the vestry.
The Search Committee began their efforts in April and coordinated with the Profile committee as they did the necessary research to develop a process and timeline. Once the Parish Profile was complete, the search committee read and re-read it to develop interview questions that addressed the five qualities the Profile Committee had determined were the most important. Based on input from the congregation through listening sessions and the survey, the successful candidate should:
1. Communicate well
2. Excel in preaching
3. Encourage and develop lay ministries and leadership
4. Be committed to pastoral care and healing ministries
5. Be good at delegation
Beyond the top five, the congregation also made it clear they want a rector who will:
• Be committed to vibrant ministry with our Spanish-speaking and English-speaking children and youth.
• Commit to working with the life of the Spanish-speaking community
• Lead the development of a strong stewardship program.
• Be passionate about social justice and be involved in ecumenical and interfaith activities
• Support and value our music programs.
• Creatively engage with the challenges in our neighborhood.
• Be intentional in helping us recognize the challenges faced by our many LGBTQIA+ parishioners,
• Be focused on liturgy, both traditional and innovative.
All of these concerns informed the search committee as they developed interview questions. They had to craft them carefully. They had to write questions that would get them the information they needed. According to co-chair Ann Wetherell, the better the question, the better the answer.
The application materials included cover letters, resumes, links to online recorded sermons, and written responses to questions on the OTM Profile, the standard job application used nationally by the Office of Transition Ministry of the National Episcopal Church. Each candidate came with a different focus for their ministry.
The applicants wrote answers that reflected their interests, their call to ministry, and what motivated them to apply. Many said they applied on the strength of the profile. St. Michael’s received nine applications. Most churches receive two or three.
In evaluating the qualifications of the nine applicants, the committee members listened to four or five recorded sermons from each candidate. They were especially looking for candidates whose experiences, strengths and passions matched what the Profile identified as essential qualities of a new rector. Then they had long discussions.
Based on the applications and discussions, the search committee selected several candidates to continue in the process of discernment and held first and second interviews via Zoom. Zoom made it possible for more committee members to participate in the interviews and allowed those that missed the interview to watch a recording of it.
The committee sent the list of the finalists to the Diocese for extensive background checks.
According to co-chair Tim Shields, as time goes by, the members of the committee have become really aligned.
“We’re excited and inspired,” the co-chair said, describing the current situation. “We’re going to get a great new rector.”
They added that they are close to being ready to hand the process on to the vestry. Then it will be the vestry’s turn to do their part.
The nine members of the Search Committee are: Edith Arriaga-Flores, Cliff Fairley, Jana Gregory, Christine Lentz, John Lidstrom, Tim Shields, Susie Silva-Strommer, Ann Wetherell, and Amy Valentine. Helen Crandell is the Vestry liaison, and Mary Myers is the chaplain.