St. Alban's Search for a New Rector
December 14, 2022 – Since the last update, the Vestry has made good progress in our rector search. Having vetted selected applicants with our Diocese, we are now contacting their references. We expect to have completed in-person interviews of two candidates by mid-January. At that point, we will take stock and consider whether further interviews are warranted.
October 26, 2022 - Since our last report, the vestry has conducted two additional interviews, making a total of eight candidates with whom we have held such discussions via Zoom. With no present plans to interview additional candidates, the vestry is now sifting through the interviews and related written applications to propose which of the eight should be invited for in-person interviews and to vet our proposal with the Diocese. The schedule is becoming somewhat complicated with Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas just around the corner. We proceed apace but with care and deliberation.
October 4, 2002 - Out of a total of 25 applicants for our open rector position, the vestry has thus far scheduled six candidates for first-round interviews. We will have completed and assessed those sessions via Zoom by the end of this week. Meanwhile, the vestry is reviewing the four most recently submitted applications to decide whether to offer interviews to any of these candidates. Once all first-round interviews have been completed, invitations will go out to a small number of candidates to visit St. Alban’s for a second interview in person, after we’ve consulted with the diocesan Officer for Transition Ministry and conducted further inquiries. For additional information, please see the September 7 update below.
September 7, 2022 – With 19 applications in hand, we have thus far invited four candidates to sit for interviews scheduled for late September and early October. Other such invitations are in the works, and still, others may follow as the vestry completes its evaluation of the applications already received and any others received in the coming weeks.
A Message from the Senior Warden
Our rector, Geoffrey Hoare, will complete his ministry at St. Alban’s on Sunday, September 25, 2022, after which he and his family will depart for their new home in North Carolina. We approach this impending development with mixed emotions: gratitude for Geoffrey’s work among us and for the gracious contributions that he, Sage, Ruthie, and Allyson have made to our common life; sadness at our impending loss; faith in the future that God is calling us to build in our church. In that spirit of optimism, the Vestry has set about the process of preparing to call a new rector.
We are guided in this effort by the Bishop and staff of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. Below we summarize the search process as delineated by the Diocese and report St. Alban’s progress down that path. This page will be updated from time to time as developments warrant.
On behalf of the Vestry, I wish to express our deep appreciation for all who have assisted in preparing for our search, especially those parishioners who took part in the focus groups or completed the survey that informed our Parish Vitality Assessment. It is well worth quoting here a key conclusion from that assessment: “Strikingly evident throughout the exercise has been the love that participants feel for St. Alban’s and the mutual commitment and affection that exist among so many of our parishioners. We are indeed a vital parish!”
Ted Swett, Senior Warden
July 13, 2022
We seek a spiritual leader who will engage joyfully on personal, spiritual, and intellectual levels with parishioners of different generations, backgrounds, ethnicities, and viewpoints. A preacher centered in Christ, grounded in scripture, skilled at conveying the relevance of the Gospel to contemporary life, and alive to the beauty of liturgy and the power of sacred music. A collaborative problem-solver, humbly self-confident and experienced in working in teams. One possessing strong executive skills, including those of supervision, delegation, mentoring, and networking. A mature individual comfortable managing disagreement without escalation. A forward-looking builder able to balance tradition and change while uniting people of differing viewpoints in pursuit of abundant and evolving life in the Spirit.
Preparations – Status
- Financial Review – Completed March 9, 2022
- Parish Vitality Assessment – Conducted April-June 2022
- Website Review – Completed June 15, 2022
- “Next Steps” Meeting with Diocesan Representatives – July 5, 2022
- Parish Profile Completed – July 11, 2022
- Search Launched with Public Posting – July 11, 2022
St. Alban’s is initiating the search for a new rector while Geoffrey Hoare is still with us, rather than waiting until he departs. Moreover, we intend to call the new rector without taking the intermediate step of appointing an interim rector or priest-in-charge. By taking this approach, we hope to maintain momentum in the life of our parish and avoid an inordinately long “gap” period during which the position will remain vacant.
We have followed the Diocese’s updated protocol for parishes readying themselves to call a rector. One basic innovation is that the Vestry, itself, now serves as the search committee, rather than delegating that responsibility to a separate group. The diocesan Transition Officer, Canon Robert Phillips, met with the Vestry and with the parish at large in February to explain the protocol. The Vestry then initiated the sequence of internal steps the Diocese requires in preparing to initiate the search formally and publicly. Those steps have been as follows:
- Financial review. The Vestry submitted detailed information to the Diocese on our finances, along with a draft job description and essential elements of a proposed compensation package for a new rector. Our financial review culminated in a vestry meeting with Canon Andrew Walter conducted via Zoom on March 9, 2022. Canon Walter confirmed that St. Alban’s financial condition is strong and that the package of compensation and benefits that we contemplate to attract an experienced priest will be competitive.
- Parish Vitality Assessment. The Parish Vitality Assessment is essentially a self-examination of the church as an aid to discerning what sort of person should lead the parish as a rector going forward. Our assessment began in April in consultation with Canon Anne-Marie Jeffery with the goal of taking parish-wide soundings to inform the Vestry’s sense of our collective identity: who we are as a parish, what we are doing well, where we should strive to improve, and develop, and what our priorities should be as we enter the next stage of St. Alban’s evolving life. The vitality assessment drew on three main sources of information: a series of parish focus groups, supplemented by a written survey; interviews of our rector and associate rectors; and data collected by the staff on a range of subjects. The focus groups and written survey probed seven “Vital Signs of Parish Health” as delineated by the Diocese. The “signs” are tools for evaluating the state of the parish in terms of mission and vision, the path of discipleship, financial practices, leadership, welcoming and connecting ministries, worship, and outreach or “blessing our community.” A summary of our findings is posted on St. Alban’s website.
- Website Review. The diocesan protocol calls for a high-level website review. The review is not meant to precipitate immediate changes, but rather to evaluate whether the existing site reasonably reflects the parish’s current sense of itself and to identify aspects of the site that may call for updating in due course. Our review was completed on June 15, 2022.
- Parish Profile. The next step was to prepare a parish profile for the database maintained by the Office of Transition Ministry or “OTM” of the national Episcopal Church. This document provides succinct responses to a specific set of questions. It has been accepted by the Diocese and posted on St. Alban’s website.
- Diocesan Meeting. On July 5, 2022, the Vestry held a “next steps” meeting with Canon Anne-Marie Jeffery, our diocesan facilitator for the search, along with Associate Rector Jim Quigley. Canon Jeffery reviewed our Parish Vitality Assessment, our Parish Profile, and our job description for the position of rector, complimented St. Alban’s on our preparations, and pronounced us ready to initiate our search publicly.
- OTM Posting. On July 11, 2022, the Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) of the Episcopal Church posted our Parish Profile and related information. This posting formally and publicly announces our search for a new rector and invites applications.
Conducting the Search
Applications will be directed to the Wardens and evaluated by the Vestry as a whole. In addition, the Vestry will engage in informal consultations with friends of the parish, Bishop Budde, and others in the Diocese and beyond. We will also avail ourselves of means besides the OTM of publicizing the open position, such as the Episcopal News Service and social media. Any parishioner who wishes to call the Vestry’s attention to a particular candidate should contact the wardens at . Please do not contact candidates directly.
Once we have accumulated some promising applications, we will interview selected candidates on a rolling basis. The Vestry will conduct a first round of interviews. The diocesan Transition Officer will then conduct a “red flag” check for potential problems concerning applicants of interest. A second round of interviews for a narrowed field of candidates will follow. We will carry out our own careful inquiries about such persons, and Bishop Budde may consult with the bishops of the candidates’ own dioceses as a further check before the parish makes a call.
The final candidate will be selected by vote of the Vestry, subject to the approval of the Bishop, and we will then issue a call.
Our interview process will include two rounds. Only candidates the vestry deems “finalists” will be invited to a second session.
The first round of interviews will take place via Zoom, and the second round in person. A team of five vestry members will conduct the first round, with all other members being asked to participate as observers. Michele Armitage, a very experienced recruiter, will lead the team. The wardens will take part as interviewers in the second round.
We will invest up to one hour in each first-round interview. These will focus on several “core competencies”: (1) a gift for inspiring and relevant preaching, (2) an engaging and uplifting approach to liturgy, worship, and sacred music, (3) the ability to connect and build relationships on a personal level with a wide variety of parishioners, (4) a talent for managing and motivating others working in teams and complex environments, and (5) the ability to support the annual appeal and grow our donor base.
It's a “hot market” for priestly talents, but we are pursuing the search with vigor, determination, and faith. Please watch this space for further updates as our search proceeds and direct any questions to .