May 8, 2017
Dear Parish Friends,
Your Rector Search Committee has been making good progress. To learn about our work through the fall and winter, including an overview of what we learned from the parish survey, please watch our video update from the Annual Meeting (http://bit.ly/SearchReport1).
Since then, we received many applications from impressive candidates. After carefully studying their materials, researching their experience and listening to their preaching online, we conducted video interviews with several of them. We are now planning visits to see some of these priests in action and get to know them and their families better. We have four visits planned over the next few weeks, and may visit others as well.
We expect to invite the final two candidates to Richmond to visit St. James’s. After a thorough vetting by us and the Diocese of Virginia Office of Transition Ministry, we will recommend a finalist to the Vestry. We are on track to complete the search this summer and anticipate a start date early in the fall.
How We’re Taking Your Perspective into Account
Our parishioners have been instrumental in this process. We thank you for sharing your views. Your voice has been critical to how we’ve presented St. James’s to candidates, discerned our priorities as a parish, and identified the gifts and qualities we want in our next Rector. You can read our Community Ministry Portfolio online (http://bit.ly/2016SJEC-CMP).
This input included listening sessions in the fall, hundreds of index cards received at the Feast and afterwards and, of course, the parish survey. The quantitative perspective from the survey aligned well with the qualitative feedback we received and with the priorities in our Strategic Plan.
On the whole, the survey showed that St. James’s is an exciting place to be. We received 517 responses to the survey, which is 93% of our average Sunday attendance. Two key measures of the survey are energy and satisfaction. Our energy is very high relative to a broad national benchmark. 65% of us feel energized by the work and ministry of St. James’s, with only 3% feeling that we just go through the motions of church activity. 75% of us are satisfied with how things are at St. James’s, which is also above the benchmark.
This combination of high energy and high satisfaction makes us a “transformational” church. That means we are a source of new meaning and purpose for our members.
In terms of where the parish wants to put additional energy, the survey reflected that many of our members are motivated to make a difference in our community. The primary priorities among our members are:
- To develop and implement a strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church;
- To develop the spiritual generosity of our parishioners to financially support our ministries; and
- To develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances.
The biggest opportunity you identified in the survey is to make sure St. James’s welcomes, and is enriched by, persons of different walks of life. We are a welcoming community, but need to work harder at helping guests and newcomers feel plugged in. You also highlighted opportunities to improve our stewardship and spirituality.
The survey also helped us identify the qualities we seek in our next Rector. The critical abilities you identified are preaching, strategic leadership, pastoral care, and administration. To that end, the Committee is seeking a gifted servant who is:
- A vibrant and inspiring preacher;
- A warm and approachable pastor:
- A masterful leader, administrator and mentor; and
We will share the survey results with our final candidates to help them understand St. James’s, our culture and our priorities. We believe the survey sets us apart as an outstanding church, full of energy and poised to do great things. It will help us call a Rector who will continue and even accelerate our momentum. St. James’s is always ready to adapt, and our next Rector can use these data to guide us.
Thank you for trusting us with this important work. Please keep us in your prayers as we identify a new Rector who will love St. James’s as much as we do.