Monthly Archives: September 2015

September Vestry Actions

At its meeting on September 17, the Vestry:

  • Received information on the 2016 budget planning process
  • Approved the nominations of Karen Taylor, Meg Flournoy, and Megan Wooley-Qusdahl to the Outreach Ministry Committee
  • Approved the recommendation of the Outreach Ministry Committee for disbursal of funds from the Outreach Ministry line item in the amounts of $1000 to the Rape Crisis Center and $500 to the Blue Ribbon Mentor Program
  • On the occasion of his last Vestry meeting, commended Rector Stephen Elkins-Williams for his wisdom, balance, and moderation in leading Vestry meetings over the years.

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The Search for a New Rector

We invite members of the congregation to nominate other members or themselves for service on one of two committees that will lead the search process for a new Rector.

The first committee that we will ask the Vestry to appoint will be the Parish Profile Writing Group. This committee will be charged with leading the process of listening to the congregation (starting with special called meetings of the congregation with Canon Hunn at 10:15 AM on Sunday, October 25, and at 7:00 p. m. on Thursday, October 29). The work of this committee will continue through the remainder of the fall, with the deadline for completion of the Parish Profile by Christmas.

Why is the Parish Profile important? First of all, this is a critical time for us as a parish to describe to potential candidates who we are. What do we value about the Chapel of the Cross? What best describes this church to someone who has never been here? What is special about it? What are our challenges? What qualities do we seek in our next Rector? What changes would we like next Rector to initiate? What kind of changes do we want to avoid?

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of questions. We will ask the Writing Group to expand this list. Asking the right questions of ourselves is the first critical step. This will be the most important period of introspective discernment and reflection about ourselves in thirty years. We will ask the Writing Group to use the Strategic Mission and Ministry Plan, adopted in 2013, as well as documentation from the most recent Vestry retreat, which was focused on Rector transition issues, as a starting point. The Writing Group will hand its proposed Parish Profile to the Search Committee and the Vestry for approval. We will then post it on the Episcopal Church website, where priests know to look.

We also seek nominations and applications for service on the Search Committee. (If you nominate someone else, please secure their permission and also make sure that they are willing to commit to a serious commitment of time in the months of March through June.) Our goal is a committee of nine persons, including three members of the Vestry.

Using guidelines from Canon Hunn, we will seek people with the following qualities for service on the Search Committee:

  • Mature Christians
  • People of Prayer
  • Not necessarily the loudest, flashiest leaders
  • The Trusted Ones
  • People who can see what’s best for the whole congregation
  • Good listeners rather than good talkers

We realize the challenge of finding the right six people to complement three current members of the Vestry, a challenge enlarged by the fact that we are a parish of multiple congregations, age groups, and diverse activities and experiences in the church.

Each application or nomination should include a brief description of the person’s involvement with the church and the unique perspective that he or she would bring to the search. In the case of nominations, be sure to include confirmation of the person’s willingness to serve.

Please pray for the church, for the people who may consider serving on one of these committees, for the Vestry, and for priests who may want to be considered for being our next Rector.

James Moeser
Senior Warden

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The Vestry Calls the Rev. Robert Davenport to be Interim Rector

Bishop Curry has approved the Vestry’s request to call the Rev. Robert Davenport, Interim Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Southern Pines, NC, to be our Interim Rector.

The Vestry met on Tuesday, September 8, in a four-hour meeting to consider three candidates nominated by Canon to the Ordinary Michael Hunn on behalf of Bishop Curry. Our process was deliberate, thoughtful, and prayerful, assessing the strengths of each of the three candidates and measuring them against what we believe the parish needs as we move into this period of transition. We discussed each of the three candidates in depth, avoiding comparisons among the candidates, but rather seeking to assess their individual strengths as matched against the perceived needs of the parish.

After extensive prayer and discussion, the strong consensus of the Vestry emerged that Robert Davenport was our choice. He is a native of Virginia, the son of a priest, as is his wife, Lizzie, also the daughter of a priest. (The Vestry met both Robert and Lizzie, and it is safe to say that we fell in love with both of them.) Robert has considerable experience as a full-time Rector, most recently at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Norfolk, VA (2004-2013).

Most recently, he has been the Interim Rector of Emmanuel Church in Southern Pines and has been a healing presence in a church that was in difficulty. While we believe we are a very healthy and vibrant parish, we also know that the Chapel of the Cross will experience a sense of loss and anxiety when Stephen departs after a thirty-year tenure. We see Robert as a pastor who will love the people, love and lead our talented staff, and help lead us into our future.

He will begin to inject a modest amount of change into the life of the parish, to ready us for the more significant change of a new Rector. At Southern Pines, he constantly said to that congregation, “My job is to help you get ready for a new Rector.” They had just completed a renovation of the church’s nave and chancel, and he said, “Let’s not bolt anything down so that everything is movable for the new Rector.” I think that is a good metaphor for his concept of interim leadership.

He was described by his references as a great teacher with an amazing aptitude for history and Scriptural context. He has an informal, down-to-earth style of communication, which we witnessed when he preached during a Eucharist with the Vestry.

“A relational person,” is how one staff member at Emmanuel in Southern Pines described him, pointing out the “amazing amount of time that Robert spent with me and with the staff as a whole.”
Robert is deeply committed to global mission, and his eyes lit up when we described our sister-church relationship with St. Paul AME. He is deeply involved with a medical mission in Malawi (where coincidentally UNC has a major medical presence).

With Robert’s appointment we have now completed the first step in the process of transition to a new Rector. One of the happy by-products of this important work is the effect it has had on the Vestry itself. We have spent countless hours together interviewing candidates and in closeted discussion among ourselves. We have really bonded together as a group. You have elected a very strong Vestry made up of thoughtful, prayerful, committed people. It is a privilege to serve with them.

James Moeser
Senior Warden

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August Vestry Actions

At its meeting on August 20, the Vestry:
• Accepted the 2014 Draft Audit by Butler & Burke, LLP
• Adopted a conflict-of-interest policy
• Approved the nomination of Perri Kersh as chair of the Outreach Ministry Committee
• Learned that the UNC Arboretum staff now has an office downstairs in the parish building
• Learned that Eric Surber, frequent volunteer organist at the 5:15 p.m. service, has been honored by being named one of two organ scholars at Duke Chapel.

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