St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Danville, California is engaged in a strategic planning process called 20/20 Vision to discern what God is calling us to be over the next ten years. This process started out easy enough: survey the parish, gather input, look for the areas of consensus and build upon those to form long term goals.
Sounds simple right?
In the middle of that process, Steven Strane, our Rector of 22 years announces his retirement. The shock of that unexpected decision caused the 20/20 process to take a pause. and in that pause, it became obvious to the Vestry that the 20/20 process needed to change to serve as the advance planning process in the short-term to turn that parish input into the seed corn for a Parish Profile that would be used by a Selection Committee to be named to lead the call process of finding a new rector over the next 12 to 24 months it typically takes.
This retirement announcement hijacked the long term planning process, but it also allowed the Vestry to make use of the planning work the 20/20 team started so it fed into the Rector Call Process as well as the long term planning process.
In fact they fit quite nicely together. Every candidate for Rector is going to want to know what St. Timothy’s congregation wants for their parish and what they expect of their new Rector. The best way to answer both questions is to focus on building a consensus about our parish goals, listen for God’s voice in our hearts about what He wants us to do and then clearly and passionately articulate that vision.
That is where we are now.
The Vestry has used this transition time wisely and well to digest the parish input to date and use it along with their prayers to frame three broad goals to guide both the 20/20 Vision Planning Process next steps as well as feed the upcoming Rector Call Process with the insight and information it needs to introduce St. Timothy’s to prospective Rector candidates and, at the same time, put the congregation to work on these next steps taking the broad goals and turning them into actionable strategies across a wide range of mission and ministry areas.
We need this time to involve and engage the congregation and empower them to participate in the Rector Call Process from its inception by framing our parish goals and vision, describing the consensus around mission and ministry and providing each candidate with a clear picture of who we are and what we believe God is calling us to be and do over the next ten years.
This journey is much like walking our labyrinth. It is purposeful and prayerful. In it honest, transparent and open for all to involve themselves. It is as ancient as the church and yet as current and energetic as our congregation. It lives fully into the Canons of the Episcopal Church but it is driven by the spiritual call of the faithful and guided by the Holy Spirit calling them gently and confidently to ‘follow me’—-and so we shall.