Search for a New Rector
Since Father Carl resigned and left St Alban's at the end of March, 2016, we have started the search for a new rector.
The transition timeline is here
A search committee has been formed under the leadership of Steve Heaton, comprising six members plus three vestry liaison members. These are listed on the Parish Leadership page.
The search committee has met with Bishop Scarfe and Father Steve Godfrey,
Missioner for Congregational Development & Transitions as part of the initial process.
The parish has completed the Church Assessment Tool (CAT) and Father Steve Godfrey spent time at St Alban's on July 8th and 9th reviewing the results.
The search committee completed the parish profile and portfolio in mid-August and the position has been posted on the diocesan website. People who interested in our position can look at the portfolio and profile and consider applying.
Our new priest announcement
The vestry is pleased to announce that the Reverend Thomas Early has been called to be Priest in Charge at St. Alban’s, beginning on July 1st, 2017. Tom has completed his studies at the School of Theology at the university of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He will be ordained on June 18th at St James’ in Independence, IA. Until Tom joins us, we will continue with supply priests.
Tom and his wife Sara are both from Iowa; Tom from Harlan, Sara from Iowa City. They met while studying at the University of Northern Iowa and were married on June 6th, 2013 at St James’, Independence, IA.
Tom has ministered to high school aged youth as a summer intern at St. Thomas, Sioux City, at diocesan summer camp, and as a youth minister at Trinity, Waterloo. He worked for Americorps in Cedar Falls. He also worked with the elderly, including working with people at their bedsides in Omaha. Tom has been active in the Diocese of Iowa, including serving on the Commission on Ministry, attending General Convention in 2012 as a deputy, and going to our companion diocese in Brechin in 2016 where he also met people from Swaziland. (Tom’s father, Bill, has also been active in the diocese for many years.)
Tom and Sara love Iowa – the state and the people – and when he was discerning his call, looked to Iowa. They wanted a community in a rural place. Sara is a big partner and wants to be involved. She wants to be a librarian; she works well with children.
Finally, a big thank you to Steve Heaton and the search committee for all their hard work and efforts in looking for our new priest and finding Tom.
Interviews with five candidates
The search committee has made great progress over the last few weeks. In January and February, we conducted Skype interviews with five potential candidates for the next priest at St Alban’s. The interviews went very well and were enlightening. From these five candidates, we have selected three for further discernment. This month, members of the search committee will be visiting these candidates at their current churches to hear them preach and observe them. Once these visits have been completed, the search committee will be making their recommendations to the vestry.
Over the weekend of December 3rd and 4th, three of your search committee travelled to the candidate’s church. They met with the candidate for dinner on the Saturday and also attended a service that the candidate led on the Sunday. Their report to the search committee was positive. The committee was impressed by the candidate and thought the candidate would be suitable for St. Alban’s. However, the candidate had another opportunity which the candidate felt was a better fit and has withdrawn from consideration for our position. This was a major disappointment to the search committee.
We received details about another candidate that the search committee thought was a strong option. The committee had planned to interview this person early in the NewYear. However, due to family circumstances, the candidate has withdrawn from consideration. So, unfortunately, we have no candidates or anyone in the pipeline, although Father Steve Godfrey has spoken to another priest who is interested but hasn’t sent in materials yet.
The committee is also looking at different ways to find additional candidates. Following the recommendation of Father Steve and the Bishop, our posting on national websites will be extended, with a new deadline for applications. Father Steve said he will also remind his colleagues around the church of this opportunity and ask them to share it with people who might be interested. We will also look at other ways to find candidates for our next rector. As Father Steve said, it may be that the priest called to Spirit Lake was not looking before but is now.
Candidates have been video interviewed
Recently your search committee can be likened to a duck. As the duck swims across a pond; it glides across the water effortlessly. Under water, however, its feet are paddling like mad. On the surface, not a lot has happened recently, but the committee has made some big strides.
After completing the church profile and portfolio, the position of rector at St Alban's was posted on nationwide databases with a deadline of the end of September. While the position was being advertised, your search committee developed a list of questions designed to help us understand the candidates and their suitability for St Alban's. The committee also discussed strategies for the search.
Father Steve Godfrey and Bishop Scarfe reviewed the applications that came in from the postings and forwarded information about two potential candidates. There were other candidates that they deemed were not suitable. The information provided by the candidates was similar to our portfolio with detailed information about each. The committee decided to pursue both candidates and discern whether either was the right person.
Your search committee scheduled video interviews with the candidates and asked them the questions. Each of the interviews took over two hours, but gave us (and the candidates) good information about each other. The committee felt that both candidates were viable options for our new rector. However, one of the candidates has decided not to continue the discernment process, leaving us with just one candidate. We have talked to Father Steve and he is still looking to see if there are any additional candidates out there.
The next step will be for some of your search committee to go to the candidate's current church and observe the candidate. This will give us a better sense of how the candidate interacts with a congregation than we could get in just an interview situation. The visit will take place in early December.
Father Steve will be our celebrant this Sunday and will meet with the search committee and vestry after the service. As always, if you have questions about the search, please talk to Steve Heaton, or any committee member. Keep us in your prayers as we move forward.
Church Profile and Portfolio have been completed
During July and early August, the search committee developed the parish portfolio, which answers questions and provides information about St Alban's. The search committee also developed a parish profile, a document that shows our hopes for a new priest and describes life at St Alban's and the area. The portfolio and profile have been sent to Father Steve, who will post them into a nationwide database. This is open to anyone who is looking for a new position. On the portfolio, we stated that we would accept applications until the end of September, so we will now have a period of less activity, until we get information and applications from candidates.
The parish profile is posted on the diocesan website - here and on this website here.
The parish portfolio is posted on the diocesan website - here and on this website here.
If you know someone who is a priest and might be interested in our position, please ask them to look at the portfolio and profile and consider applying.
The search committee worked hard on completing the portfolio and profile quickly in just over one month. This is a little faster than the transition timeline, which suggested this could take two months. The committee will start reviewing applicants as soon as we get them and by October we hope to be scheduling visits to the candidates.
If you have questions about the search, please talk to Steve Heaton, or any committee member. Keep us in your prayers as we move forward.
Report on the meetings with Father Steve Godfrey
On Friday evening, July 8th, Father Steve Godfrey spent over two hours with the vestry and the search committee reviewing the results of the Church Assessment Tool (CAT). Several of the areas benefitted from Father Steve's explanations, as we looked at St Alban's key indicator, drivers, and priorities, and how we compare with other churches. All of this information provided a great deal of food for thought for those involved.
On Saturday, July 9th, Father Steve spent over seven hours with the search committee, using the CAT results to discuss best experiences, values, most important things, and three wishes for St Alban's. From these discussions, the search committee developed the following themes for the search:
The search committee also discussed how we are blessed, our mission, important things to do now while we don't have a rector, and thoughts for the new rector.
The next steps in the process were laid out and the search committee will be developing a Parish Profile and a Parish Portfolio:
Letter regarding the Church Assessment Tool
To the members of the parish:
The next step in our search for a new rector is for the parish to complete the Church Assessment Tool (CAT). This is used to discover our identity, mission and vision, and is an opportunity for all of us to provide input on who we are as a parish and what we are looking for in a new rector. It is very important that everyone takes advantage of this and completes the CAT.
You may have completed a CAT previously by filling out a form. This time it will be computerized. However, for those who do not have a computer, we will have computers available on a Sunday morning – and we will also print out copies for you to complete.
IMPORTANT DATES ON THE SEARCH PROCESS
May 29th and June 5th – Preparation for the CAT. We will remind you about this each week.
June 12th through June 26th – CAT is open for parishioners to enter their information. On the three Sundays we will provide laptops at church so people may complete the CAT.
June 26th through July 8th – Analysis of the survey by the consulting company. They provide the results to Father Steve Godfrey, who does his analysis of the results.
July 8th and 9th – Father Steve Godfrey meets with the vestry and search committee to explain the results and discuss the next steps.
It is very important that everyone completes the CAT so we have a true picture of the parish.
If you have any questions, please call us.
Glenn Preston Steve Heaton
Senior Warden Search Committee Chair