Receiving Names: May 2015 Discernment Committee Update

Discernment Committee Announcement from the Chairman
Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, 2015

My name is Mark Nicolle, and I am the Chair of the Good Shepherd Discernment Committee. We are 17 members of our parish who are conducting the search for our new rector. I want to give you an important update on where we are in this process. As you may have heard before, this kind of discernment process, a search for a new RECTOR, typically lasts about a year, give or take. For our parish this process began in late September of last year. We are 7 months in. AND, we have just reached a significant milestone in the process.

During this past week, we officially entered into a “Receiving Names” status with the Diocese of New Jersey. This means…

  • all the pertinent information about our parish is “out there” in all the appropriate places, and
  • the Office of Transition Ministry at the diocese is starting to collect names and information about prospective candidates.

During the past 7 months, our committee was formed, and has BEEN, in a process of discerning who we are as a parish, and getting that down on paper …what I have been calling the “describe ourselves” phase. Now the “DISCERNMENT” going on has NOT just been on the part of the Discernment Committee, but it has included the following steps along the way…

The first big discernment in this process was on the part of the Vestry who DISCERNED that every parish member who submitted their name to be a part of the committee, 17 people, should be included ON the committee.  THAT is NOT conventional wisdom! That is a LARGE committee!! But I can attest to you, as the person chairing that wild west show, it was absolutely the right thing, I truly believe that the Vestry discerned the will of the Holy Spirit in doing so. And because it is such a caring, wise, mature and invested group of parishioners, it really has NOT been a wild west show.

Next, the Vestry discerned who should be our interim rector, Fr. Dave Snyder.  And that is your vestry batting 1000.

Next, the committee reached out to the parish members, with the assistance of Canon Cecilia Alvarez, who “runs” the Office of Transition Ministry for the Diocese of NJ, to gather information about who we are, what is important to us as a parish. You may have taken part in the wonderful “congregational conversation” held in October.

The Vestry formed a new Website Committee to better support the wonderful work that Maureen Wynkoop continues to do as our Parish Webmaster … and we now have a new and improved website. Rich Harrington has championed this cause, working with Maureen and the new Website Committee and together they have provided an outstanding tool to support the work of the Discernment Committee, and to help make our parish shine in the “E” world.

Meanwhile, during all this time, the Discernment Committee has been busy composing three documents, with the help of many parish members outside of the committee. These three documents include:
1) An OTM Portfolio which goes onto a National Recruiting Data Base (this included the 12 questions for which some of you provided your own thoughts).
2) Second, there is a much smaller, yet similar document that goes onto a more regional recruiting database. (think zip recruiter dot com)
3) And third, as a capstone, it includes a Parish Profile document which has been posted onto our website.

This Parish Profile, which the committee is extremely proud of, is a 9 page document which talks about our parish, our strengths, our challenges, and several features and aspects of our parish that make us who we are. These documents entailed hours of work, discussion, debate and agreement by the committee, and have all been reviewed and approved by the Vestry. All of these documents will also be posted in some “bulletin board” fashion coming very soon to a parish hall near you, to make it easy for you to see “what is out there” about our parish. I would encourage you to go to the website and view the Parish Profile there.

I MUST mention a few names of folks outside the committee who have contributed to all these efforts. First, an extremely talented Jeff Bathurst produced the beautiful parish profile document, compiling all the pictures and written materials from probably 20 different authors and contributors and assimilating it all, beautifully, into ONE VOICE, one fabulous document for people to see on our website. Other folks who have rallied around this committee with their time, talents, thoughts and support,in ADDITION to the families of the committee members themselves, include … Maryanne Charlton (our parish administrator), Len Fedullo, Kelly Lynd, Maureen Wynkoop, Lee Braidwood, Claude Coulson, Fr. Dave, and again, Jeff Bathurst.

What is next? Over the next 4 weeks, while the OTM office at the Diocese collects names of prospective rectors who are interested in our parish, we, the committee, will be receiving a deeper orientation from Canon Alvarez about the “interviewing process.” Our committee will be joining with St. Peter’s Parish in Clarksboro, also in Discernment for a new rector, to attend an Anti-Racism Workshop provided by the Diocese for all parishes going through this discernment process. During this time, we will be planning our approach to reviewing and talking to prospective candidates. We hope to be getting names during the first week of June.

If any of you is aware of someone who might be interested in becoming our new rector, please contact me about getting their name submitted into the process. IF any of you have questions about the process, please contact me, or any member of the Discernment Committee.

Please continue to pray for us!

The committee has been comprised of the following parish members: Roger Baker, Pat Braidwood, Aimee Burgin, Len Clark, Darrin Buono, Becky Goff, Stu Lynd, Elizabeth Nelson, Mark Nicolle, Deb Prieto, Chelsea Richmond, Tom Rigg, Jeff Snodgrass, Christine Southwick, Wayne Szalma, Diane Wall, and Jim Wynkoop

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