• Leading Through Transition ✓
    Vestry Papers
    During the time of clergy transition, the senior warden is responsible for leading the congregation in their search for a new rector. In “Leading through Transition,” senior warden Jan Henderson shares the process she and her vestry developed in …
  • A Blueprint for Change ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Our church is vibrant, alive, and very connected to our community, as well as to The Episcopal Church at the diocesan, provincial, and denominational levels. It hasn’t always been that way...
  • Resources for Clergy Transitions ✓
    Tools
    Use these checklists, resources, and handouts that cover a transition from the announcement that the current clergy person is leaving through the call of his/her replacement.
  • Healthy Transitions Part 2: The Role of Leaders ✓
    Vestry Papers
    As a vestry member during a change in ordained leadership you play a critical role in making the transition a healthy one. Both the change and the transition need to be managed. Returning to the example of Moses we used last month, here are some addi…
  • Healthy Transitions Part 1 ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Change in ordained leadership in a congregation creates a time of both challenge and opportunity. As a vestry member you play a critical role in making the transition a healthy one.
  • The Journey for Calling a Priest ✓
    Tools
    Clergy transitions in the life of a congregation can be, and usually are, full of anxiety and progressive steps. This visual map charts the journey of calling a new priest.
  • Interim rectorship: Shalts and shalt nots ✓
    Vestry Papers
    Thou shalt…encourage more lay leadership. All too often, the last rector might have simply found it easier to “do it him/herself.”
  • “I could fill this job in about a week!” ✓
    Vestry Papers
    "Why should we spend a year trying to get a new minister? I could fill this job in about a week!" the vestry member proclaimed. "Yes," I replied, "but it's not a good idea."
  • What Does a Rector Do?
    Vestry Papers
    With his own job about to change, Greg Syler explores what the role of a rector is from perceived expectations to the church-wide Canons.
  • June 2016 Editor’s Letter: Transitions and Change
    Vital Posts
    Change can be difficult. For church leaders – and others in the congregation – change may be particularly difficult when we say goodbye to a beloved rector or parts of our church life we have grown accustomed to. What relationship do…
  • Transition Planning
    Vestry Papers
    When should a congregation begin to think about planning for a clergy transition? Susan Tamborini Czolgosz’s “Transition Planning” provides a framework for shifting thinking about a clergy transition, recasting it as a natural part of our commo…
  • From Challenge to Opportunity
    Vestry Papers
    For some congregations, transition means giving up the familiar structure of full-time clergy as well as their understanding of the way authority and tasks are distributed. Susan Elliott’s “From Challenge to Opportunity” shares the wisdom and …
  • Expectations Matter: Have Faith
    Vestry Papers
    The feelings of grief and loss that may accompany a clergy transition may also heighten levels of anxiety and stress. In “Expectations Matter: Choose Faith,” Dorothy “d’Rue” Hazel advocates for working through these feelings, offering strat…
  • Beginning the Clergy Transition Process
    Webinars
    Your Rector has announced his/her resignation and your congregation is now in the midst of a transition process. Whether you serve as a Vestry or Search Committee member, this this one hour webinar is designed to provide practical tips and concepts t…
  • Vital Practices Digest: 5 Clergy Transition Resources for May
    Vital Posts
    In the May Vital Practices Digest, we offer 5 resources for clergy transition in congregations, with the 5th a resource to help in developing year-round stewardship in your congregation. Please share this digest with others in your church …
  • Vital Teams Interview Tool
    Tools
    An interview tool to help congregations in a clergy search process identify individuals with strong team leadership skills.
  • May 2016 Editor’s Letter: Transitions and Change
    Vital Posts
    Since early 2011, ECF Vital Practices has utilized reader surveys. Your responses guide us as we identify ideas for Vestry Papers themes and articles. Over the past two years we’ve watched two topics emerge as areas many of you are looking for he…
  • Part Time ≠ Less Than
    Vestry Papers
    Across our church congregations wrestle with decisions related to clergy staffing. Recognizing many congregations may associate moving to part time clergy a ‘failure. ‘ Cathie Caimano suggests reframing the conversation by asking different questi…
  • Clergy Transition: Tips for Senior Wardens
    Vestry Papers
    Days before being installed as senior warden, Anne Rudacille Schmidt learned her rector had accepted a call elsewhere. “Clergy Transition: Tips for Senior Wardens” shares strategies Anne and the vestry used to navigate this unanticipated change.
  • What Do You Do?
    Vital Posts
    So, she turned to me. What do you do at the church?    Pardon me? I didn't quite understand her question.    At my last church, the priest's wife was always there, organizing things and cleaning up. What do you do at the church?    I sw…
  • Welcoming a New Rector
    Vital Posts
    Earlier this year I was invited to lead the Adult Forum at All Saints' Church in Worcester. I was asked to speak about welcoming a new rector into their midst - which they anticipate doing in the next few months. I decided to crowd-source the quest…
  • Welcoming a New Rector
    Your Turn
    A crowd sourced list of what to do - or not do - when welcoming a new rector.
  • February 2015 Editor’s Letter: Vestry Leadership
    Vital Posts
      Editor’s Letter As congregations continue to welcome new vestry members and begin the process of forming new leadership teams, ECF Vital Practices’ continues to share the wisdom and experience of congregational leaders from across o…
  • The Seven Year Itch
    Vital Posts
    A few weeks ago, my seven year anniversary as rector at St. George’s, Valley Lee came and went. I was away at summer camp, actually, having a wonderful time and I only remembered the anniversary after our treasurer sent me a congratulations email…
  • Wheat and Weeds
    Vital Posts
    I hate to garden. But I really like the results. A house seems so much warmer with an entry flanked by vibrant flowers. A backyard feels lived in with the turn of a red tomato or the wandering vine of a pumpkin. Not only is gardening a …
  • Leaving in Love
    Vital Posts
    This weekend I went to church with a friend, a priest. He had taken a new job, and this was his last Sunday as a curate at this church. He preached a gracious sermon about love. He told me afterward that he had been given this advice: Just make sur…
  • Fitting in--And Adam's Rib
    Vital Posts
    Sometimes it’s shaving your head. Volunteering for the dunking booth. Or staying to clean up after the women’s tea. In all of our congregations, there’s been a moment when things shift. It’s almost imperceptible but like finally break…
  • Equal Partners
    Vestry Papers
    For many churches, the one church one priest model is no longer possible, creating opportunities for different models of leadership. In “Equal Partners,” Donald Romanik shares a story of a congregation – and a diocese – committed to the devel…
  • I Miss Vestry Meetings
    Vestry Papers
    In “I Really Miss Vestry Meetings,” Henry Parsley, retired bishop of Alabama states “vestries should be one of the most exciting ministries in the church – joyful, in fact” and then shares the key components that he, after working with vest…
  • Understanding the Theory of Change and Transition
    Tools
    A resource to help understand the difference between change and transition – one is an event and the other is a process.
  • Be Not Afraid
    Vital Posts
    I found it hard to imagine St. Mary’s going on without its rector - or rather, its former rector - and yet that’s exactly what was happening. Vibrant worship was taking place, new vegetables were being planted in the garden, a summer concert wa…
  • Change Readiness Assessment
    Tools
    This assessment can be used in a variety of transition situations to support lay and clergy leaders during a time of transition
  • A Lutheran Perspective on Social Media in the Discernment/Call Process
    Vital Posts
    Lutheran Pastor Keith Anderson recently posted this blog advocating that all clergy maintain a personal blog or website. He says: Tip: if you don’t already have personal blog or website, start one. Share some sermons, video, your ideas, reflec…
  • Discernment During Institutional Depression
    Vital Posts
    Is anyone else concerned about our church’s impassioned embrace of depression as we look toward General Convention and a challenging future? The Episcopal blogosphere is full of articles underscoring our grim institutional trajectory. A couple of…
  • Confession of a Priest’s Wife
    Vital Posts
    I don’t want to share my friend with church. In January my family moved to a new community and church. The parishioners have been wonderful, and the community has embraced our children. It has been a good transition. But let’s be ho…
  • Leaving
    Vital Posts
    This morning I received the letter from my Rector saying he was leaving our parish in New York City and going to a congregation in Vermont. We knew it was coming…he’d always said he’d serve at St. Mary’s for about 10 years. At last year’s…
  • St. Nicholas: Putting away (my) childish things
    Vital Posts
    St. Nicholas greeted us at the door. This evening is one of my favorites leading up to Christmas. The children giggle, laugh, and point. Some hide behind their mothers’ legs, peeking one eye out at the jolly ole soul. We combine the delight…
  • The Five Steps in the Discernment Process, Part 8: Responding to a Call or Lack Thereof
    Vital Posts
    Responding to a call or lack thereof No matter how closely you have followed the advice on this blog, the reality is only one final candidate will receive a call from the vestry and search committee. Most will receive what feels like a rejection…
  • Leaving is Lonely
    Vital Posts
  • The Five Steps in the Search Process: Part 7 Interviews
    Vital Posts
    Engaging in face–to-face interviews There are two forms of face-to-face interviews: a visit to your current parish by a subgroup of the search committee, and a final tour and interview at the prospective parish with the whole search committee …
  • The Five Steps in the Search Process, Part 6: Questionnaires
    Vital Posts
    Discern what search committees are looking for and respond to their questions Some search committees ask for responses to questionnaires with an initial application. Other committees review initial applications and nominations and send informati…
  • The Five Steps in a Search Process, Part 5: Resumes and OTMS
    Vital Posts
    Basic Paperwork for Entering a Search Process: OTM Portfolios, Résumé, and Cover Letters  Three documents are required to make initial contact with a search committee: a résumé, an OTM Portfolio, and a cover letter. Each of these documents s…
  • Five Steps in the Search Process, Part 4
    Vital Posts
    Identify appropriate open positions When searching for open positions, clergy should develop a fairly broad screen to help discern which available positions might be appropriate matches. Elements in an initial screen might be: geography, kind o…
  • The Five Steps in the Search Process, Part 3
    Vital Posts
    Step 1. Define your skills, values, and purpose Who are you, what are your blessings, and where might you like to exercise those blessings? If you don’t know who you are, you will not be able to discern what positions might be good for you, a…
  • The Five Steps in the Search Process, Part 2
    Vital Posts
    Understanding the process from the clergy’s perspective Clergy beginning to search for a new position can anticipate spending a year or two looking at several prospective positions before finding a good match and receiving a call. This process…
  • The Five Steps in the Search Process, Part 1
    Vital Posts
    One of the my core values is clarity. Hence, entering into search processes early in my career drove me nuts, as the process seemed opaque. I never knew what happened when or why. Nor could I understand why there were long lapses in communication f…
  • The Parable of the Trapeze
    Your Turn
    A resource for congregational lay leaders from when a rector announces s/he is leaving and through the search process for a new rector.
  • Fresh Start in the Search Process
    Vital Posts
    Yikes! The Rector is retiring/leaving and there are so many dynamics going on!  Where can we get some perspective?  Where is there help? A new resource from Fresh Start (2013 Update: the program is no longer running, but resources ha…
  • Raising PKs
    Vital Posts
    My daughter was only four months old the first time I truly understood the challenge of raising PKs – priest kids. I held her in my arms as we waited by the door for my husband to lock up the church. Her little face peaked out from a caterpil…
  • February Update: New Vestry Papers Content
    Vital Posts
    As promised, ECF Vital Practices continues to add to its January/February Vestry Papers themed content with two new articles: Covenants in Congregational Life In his role as the Episcopal Church’s Missioner for Church Planting, Ministry …
  • Care and Feeding of Priests
    Vital Posts
    Click here for a Spanish translation of this blog post. In 14 years as a clergy spouse, I’ve witnessed the gamut of how a congregation cares for its priest. Don’t get me wrong – I know that the congregation pays its priest – an…
  • Reaching for that trapeze bar
    Vestry Papers
    Our responses to change and transition in congregational life vary because our understanding of them is influenced by our experiences and individual temperament.
  • A warden’s guide: Surviving the process
    Vestry Papers
    Think of this time as the longest Advent season you have ever experienced.
  • Part 2 of Leading Through a Clergy Transition
    Webinars
    Leading in times of change, particularly a change in clergy leadership, presents special challenges. This two-part series is aimed at vestry members and other congregational leaders who are currently or will soon be leading their congregation through…
  • Part 1 of Leading Through A Clergy Transition
    Webinars
    Leading in times of change, particularly a change in clergy leadership, presents special challenges. This two-part series is aimed at vestry members and other congregational leaders who are currently or will soon be leading their congregation through…
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