I am retiring at the end of this year. It’s not that I want to leave, but all priests are required by The Episcopal Church to retire no later than their 72nd birthday, our “best by” date, I guess. And… I turn 72 this Christmas! All this has been known for some time of course. Our Vestry and other lay leaders have been planning for this retirement and period of transition for the last couple of years.
As a community, we spent an entire academic year doing the early work for this in the Adult Forum series “All Saints: Who we are – Where we are headed.” Out of that year of work came:
1. our current Strategic Plan 2022;
2. a summary of our parish’s culture “We Are All Saints’”;
3. a fulsome history of our parish “A Portrait of All Saints’”;
4. a detailed Parish Program Needs Assessment;
5. a thorough vetting of which of the contiguous Episcopal Dioceses would best meet the needs of the Church in this region; and,
6. a 75th Anniversary Charter 2022 recommitting this parish to our Episcopal heritage and identity signed by about 250 parishioners.
These documents can be accessed on our parish website: www.asecfw.org/transition
As part of its work in this matter, the Vestry has created several ad hoc groups this year:
1. The Priest In Charge committee;
2. Parish Survey committee;
3. Parochial Associate Search Committee;
4. Capital Campaign Feasibility Study group and more,
all of this while we have been very actively dealing with the ongoing litigation involving the dispute with those who quit The Episcopal Church and left All Saints’ of their own volition but claim to have ownership rights over our parish’s assets. At any rate, as you can tell, this mandatory retirement has not caught anyone by surprise, and we have been extremely diligent in preparing for our transition to the 7th Rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
The Vestry and Wardens have been in consultation with the Bishop about how this transition works, and here is a rough timeline and description. When I retire, there will be a “Priest in Charge” (PIC). The Bishop appoints this Priest. The PIC is not the Rector but an interim. At the same time, the Vestry undertakes a number of activities one of which is the establishment of a “Rector Search Committee.” At some point, a candidate for Rector of All Saints’ will be identified by that Committee and given to the Vestry. The Vestry is the body which elects the Rector. The Bishop installs the Rector into the office and position. This process of the search, election, and installation takes from 12-24 months.
The appointment of the Priest in Charge is the Bishop’s prerogative. I am told he will make this announcement very soon. Rest assured, given what I know of the Bishop’s intentions and care, you will be very well served by his choice!