TRANSITION UPDATE: Our Search for a New Priest

February 21, 2018 - COMING SOON: "Holy Cow" Survey

This online survey will help us learn more about the needs of our congregation as we search for our new Priest-in-Charge. (Paper surveys will also be available.)


February 6, 2019 - Last fall, after Father Jessee announced his upcoming retirement, the Vestry agreed that we wanted the new Vestry members elected at the January 2019 Annual Meeting to be part of the process from the outset. The weekend following the Annual Meeting, we left for retreat at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio. The Rev. Canon Elise Johnstone served as our retreat leader.

Mother Elise discussed with us the various options available to search for a new priest. We reviewed our parish and financial records to help us determine the best path for us to follow in this search. Being located in Frankfort and being free from our mortgage are positives for priests looking for new opportunities. However, as with most main line denominations, we are declining in attendance, so we will need a priest who is ready for that challenge.

The priest search process has changed with the times since our last two searches. Online information, church databases, and social media provide timely access to potential candidates. Throughout our search, we will work closely with Bishop Mark and Mother Elise, who serves as Diocesan Transition Officer.

We left our retreat with a plan that we hope will have a new priest for us by late summer. With prayerful consideration and much discussion, we agreed on the following:

  • We will not be appointing a search or discernment committee. The Vestry will conduct the search, but we may seek the help of others to assist with some specific tasks.

  • We will be looking for a priest-in-charge who would serve under a letter of agreement for three years. A priest-in-charge has all the duties and responsibilities of a rector without the permanency. This would give us the opportunity to get to know the priest to determine if we are a good fit for each other. At the end of three years, we could call this priest as a rector; we could extend the priest-in-charge agreement; or we could part company. (A priest-in-charge is not the same as an interim rector. Many of you may remember that we had interim rectors during our last searches. An interim rector provides pastoral support until a new priest is hired.)

  • We will be conducting a survey using Holy Cow Consulting to assess our congregation. This survey will help us learn more about ourselves and give us insight into our expectations for a new priest. The survey results will help us craft a detailed job description. The results will also give interested candidates valuable information about who we are as a parish. The survey will be a combination of standard questions and some specific to us. This will be an online survey; however, we will provide paper copies to those who prefer one. The advantage of this survey is the flexibility it provides. You can complete it at a time and place that works best for your schedule. Our plan is to be ready for launch the last week of February or first week of March, and to give you three weeks to complete it. The more of you who complete the survey, the better our results will be. Zachary Horn has volunteered to oversee the survey process.

  • The Vestry will meet for our regular monthly meeting on February 14, when we will review and approve the compensation package that we will be offering for the priest-in-charge. Interested candidates will be provided this information. We also intend to be transparent with our financial and budget information so that interested candidates have the information they need to ask questions and make wise decisions.

One question we have been asked is how we will find candidates. Several contacted the Bishop’s office after learning of Father Jessee’s planned retirement, and I have received an email inquiry. If you have suggestions, please share them with me, and I will forward the names to the Bishop’s office for vetting. I believe when we release the survey results, the job description, and the compensation package information, we will have more inquiries.

This brings you up-to-date with the process, and I will continue to share information with you as we take this journey together.

Leah MacSwords
Senior Warden