Our search process began in September 2018, when Vestry members selected seven parishioners to serve on the Call Committee. A combined worship service was held on Sunday, October 28, 2018, at which Call Committee members were charged with their duties and responsibilities in seeking the next priest of Grace Episcopal Church.
A half day retreat on November 10th with our Transition Coach Karen Donegan Salter marked the beginning of the parish’s self-study and discernment process. One of our first tasks was the creation of a collect for the call of our next priest. Committee members have prayed this prayer daily and have asked members of the parish to do likewise as we move forward in this period of transition.
COLLECT FOR A NEW PRIEST
God of Grace and renewing Love,
You open our ears and enlighten our hearts
to see in each other your love for us.
Be now our vision, focus our hearing, and grant us Wisdom
as we search for a priest to lead Grace Church.
Bring us together in the bonds of Love
and in the desire to become more fully your Beloved Community;
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
A Call Committee Forum was held in January to formally begin our self-study. The Forum was attended by 93 parishioners who gathered at round tables to discuss the questions that were asked and to share meaningful experiences on their spiritual journeys. At the same time Call Committee members were pairing up to begin initial drafts of the Parish Profile. During February eight Cottage Meetings were held; six meetings were held at Grace and two meetings were held at Kendal (a Lexington retirement and nursing facility). The Cottage Meetings served as a bridge between the January forum and the answers that are written for the Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) Community Portfolio.
Work on the Parish Profile and the OTM Community Portfolio was completed in mid-March; these documents were then submitted to Jonathan Harris, Canon of Transition Ministry for the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, and to the Vestry. Following Vestry approval on March 25, 2019, the Parish Profile was prepared for publication on the Grace Episcopal website. With the approval and posting of these documents, we have moved into the beginning steps of Phase II: the Bishop’s Office receives names of interested candidates or candidates recommended by others and forwards names to the Call Committee for consideration.
We ask that you continue to pray daily Grace’s Collect for a New Priest. May the Holy Spirit further guide us as we proceed in this discernment process.
Jane Brooke, Alexandra Brown, Gail Dickerson, Keith Gibson,