Stages of Transition in Calling A Rector

The Stages of transition in calling a new Rector are a lot like grieving.

The Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky has produced a very interesting white paper on the stages of transition in the typical process of calling a new rector.  I stumbled upon this on the website of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Versailles, Kentucky which is itself going through the search process.

They discuss the stages of transition and then offer the white paper:

The Departure stage, the ending of a pastoral relationship. Regardless of the reason for the ending of the pastoral relationship, the stronger the personality of the leader, and the longer that leader has been the rector, the more critical it is for a congregation to make a “good goodbye” bring closure to what has been and move into a period of emotional detachment and intentional transition, which will allow them to re-discover who they are as a congregation at this point in time.

The Transition stage, the interim period and search process. The interim period is one in which a congregation begins the change process and moves toward the new life that awaits them. The work of this period is essential in preparing for the new relationship, and the dialogue that will take place between the priest who is called and the laity of the congregation about choices for the future.

The Call stage, the beginning of a new pastoral relationship. In the Episcopal Church, a congregation opens itself to God’s will for their parish, and to the process of discerning the ordained person who will be called to lead the parish into the next stages of its mission and ministry. At the same time, there will be ordained men and women who are open to the possibility of a “call” to a new stage of ministry.

Complete details are given in the document A CHANGE OF RECTORS: CONGREGATIONAL CHALLENGE AND OPPORTUNITY By Kay Collier McLaughlin

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