As I write this December 29, 2015 six months has passed since my last post about our failed rector search process that resulted in the resignation of the chosen candidate after less than two years. Healing in a congregation after a false start takes time. More time than anyone wants. But the last thing anyone wants is to repeat the same mistake.
So what’s happened?
- The Diocese implemented a structured interim placement and selection process with leadership support from Bishop Marc.
- The parish called an Interim Rector to help guide us through the search and selection process.
- The congregation supported the decision to end the relationship with the rector but is grieving.
Tough love is still tough even when you do the right thing for all sides of the relationship. We see the impacts in lower attendance, the loss of long time members who drift away or give up waiting for things to get better.
We face all the usual and customary steps of grieving from shock to anger to acceptance to an openness and even anticipation of a new beginning. I’d say that at this writing we are at acceptance.
The upcoming Vestry election process culminating at the annual meeting in January 2016 seems to be shaping up at a turning point for the congregation. The vestry knows it is expected to start a new search process. The four places around the Vestry table offer an opportunity for fresh faces, new ideas and an opportunity to serve for anyone willing to stand for election. This is a year when it might be healthy to have more candidates than open seats to be filled.
Healing happens when the conversation changes from a focus on the past to a focus on the future. That seems to be where we are with God’s help—and that is a good place to be.