June 12, 2023
Greetings Emmanuel Community,
The Rector Search Committee has been working hard since its appointment by the vestry, and we want to provide the parish with an update on our work and what has been accomplished thus far. The committee first met soon after the parish leadership retreat in February. Under the leadership of committee chair Shauna Nefos-Webb, information was gathered through surveys and a series of listening sessions. This information, which supplemented the work done at the leadership retreat by a cross-section of parishioners who identified core values and codified Emmanuel’s vision and mission, was used by the committee to inform and guide the committee.
Canon Jonathan Harris, diocesan transition officer responsible for managing clergy changes within the diocese, traveled to Emmanuel to meet with the Search Committee on March 8. Canon Harris led the group in discussing the process in detail. The committee then began its work to identify and agree upon tasks needing to be accomplished and to set goals with target completion dates. Significant work went into writing and formatting Emmanuel’s Parish Profile, a comprehensive marketing document to inform potentially interested priests about Emmanuel. The committee also provided detailed information to complete the Office of Transition Ministries (OTM) Worshipping Community Profile that is posted only for clergy access. Each of these documents was submitted for review and approval by the vestry and the diocese. Approvals were given prior to publication in April. In addition to being mailed and electronically disseminated to potentially interested clergy, the Parish Profile is posted on Emmanuel’s website at http://emmanuelbristol.org/. Besides the usual efforts by the diocesan office to publicize open clergy positions, Emmanuel is also actively promoting the position via the Episcopal News Service and other national church resources. The committee also reviewed Emmanuel’s website for needed updates and developed its own list of potential candidates to whom recruiting materials were directly mailed.
Once all of these preparatory steps for recruiting and identifying a priest well-suited to be called as Emmanuel’s next rector were completed, the committee then began to focus on the candidate interview process. Fr. Tom met with the committee in May to provide detailed guidance on interview techniques. He suggested topics and ways to structure questions for effective and productive interviews and gave examples of questions to be anticipated from candidates. An interview outline and questions were developed. The committee completed a mock interview with a priest in the diocese who volunteered to do the practice session with us via Zoom, which Canon Harris assisted in organizing.
The proscribed process directs all interested candidates to submit application materials through Canon Harris’ office. The committee is reviewing applicant information as it is received from Canon Harris, and we have begun initial candidate interviews via Zoom. Next steps will be to invite suitable candidates to Bristol for more in depth discussion and to get acquainted with the candidate and their family informally before submitting a recommendation to vestry for final approval. Though the timing for a final decision is yet unknown, we want everyone to know that much work is being accomplished and that we are making excellent progress toward the calling Emmanuel’s next rector.
Your questions are welcomed; please feel free to call or email Shauna Nefos Webb.
Members of the Rector Search Committee: Shauna Nefos-Webb, chair, Mary Armstrong, Sharon Eisenhart, Seth Graham, Bob Hardee, Mark Morgan, John Rainero, Tom Rogers, Chris Yoder, Audrey Zaidi, and Valerie Zochowski