Thursday, December 02, 2010

Parish Update

For starters, that's a misnomer in the title there, because Light of Christ isn't a parish yet.  But that's where we're headed, and it's exciting!

The plan is to officially become a parish in January, in Epiphany, the season of the Light of Christ and our birthday month as a church.  (It will be four years since a handful of people first met for services in Mr. & Mrs. A's living room!)

We will also officially install the rector.  Prior to that, our new vestry will have to hold its first meeting and officially call a rector.  Prior to that, we will have elected a vestry from among our church members, which means prior to that, we will have laid out a membership process, solicited vestry nominations, and formed a Nominating Committee to present a slate of vestry nominees to be elected by our membership sometime before the annual meeting, which needs to fall before the big day in Epiphany.  Additionally, we need by-laws before we can have a vestry, and we need Articles of Incorporation; we should apply for 501(c)3 status as well. Makes your head spin, doesn't it?

Fortunately, we have a very able Acting Senior Warden who thought through all this and laid out a timeline to guide us.  Consequently, we've consulted a lawyer, submitted our Articles of Incorporation to the state and are in process with the 501(c)3 application.  We held membership classes during October and received new members on All Saints'.  Over the next several Sundays, we solicited vestry nominations from our members, new and old. Our ad hoc Nominating Committee considered the nominations and picked a slate of candidates to present to the congregation a month prior to our annual meeting.

And that was last night, at an all-church dinner and special business meeting.  Now the members will have one month to register concerns, if any, before the vote at our annual meeting in a month--not so much an election as an affirmation of the nominations--just days before the Bishop arrives to install the rector of the new parish.  Acting Senior Warden also presented our draft By-Laws, which he and Acting Junior Warden researched, produced, discussed with Father Rooster and our core leadership team, and revised, all prior to tonight's engaging and clear explanation of the key decisions that were made along the way.  We had good participation, and a lot of head-nodding and confirmation of the groundwork that had been laid.  We'll adopt the final version of the By-Laws at the annual meeting--just in the nick of time!--so they'll be in place to govern the vestry election which will follow.

Father Rooster, as the Acting Rector--or Vicar, more properly--spoke briefly about his sense of calling and vision for the church, should he be installed in January.  It seems very likely that he will be, of course, but it's something we actually hold loosely, if God were to direct the Vestry otherwise.  The bi-vocational model (a priest who holds a full-time job outside the church) has been hard on Father Rooster and stressful for our family, and if God were to lift that call of ministry and place it on another's shoulders, it would be a relief, in many ways.  It will also be relieving, in another sense, if the Vestry affirms his call to this ministry.

It's just exciting to see God at work, even in these mundane processes.  I am so thankful for our slate of vestry nominees, all wise, discerning and full of care for Light of Christ and its mission.  I am especially thankful that our Acting Wardens have agreed to continue in their positions; their leadership has been key, in bringing us to this point.  I am thankful for our Deacon, Mr. A, Father Rooster's good friend and someone with whom he can share the spiritual leadership and pastoral burdens of our small church.  I am thankful for those on our leadership team, who have served so faithfully each month.  And I could go on and on!  We have so many who serve, in so many ways.

Father,
may everything we do
begin with your inspiration
and continue with your saving help.
Let our work always find its origin in you
and through you reach completion.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.


(The Liturgy of the Hours)

2 comments:

Papa Bear said...

Once we officially have a vestry, can we please get rid of the phrase "core leadership team"? It's just vague enough that I'm never entirely sure who's on it, except to know that I'm not. It feels like a way of excluding people.

At A Hen's Pace said...

PB--

Just another reason to go to a vestry, plus ministry teams! So sorry if the term made you feel excluded.

Jeanne