As we collectively inch closer to Fr. Craig’s retirement, I want to share some of the work that has been going on in the background. Clergy transitions typically follow a distinct set of stages. These stages include Loss, Preparation, The Search, Call & Start, Adjustment and Re-visioning. Although Fr. Craig has not yet retired, I’m sure many of you have experienced a sense of loss, since his announcement.
To prepare for a smooth transition, the Vestry and other lay leaders have been engaging with Fr. Craig, on a regular basis. At our Vestry meeting, on January 16, Ann Fleming, Missioner for Transition Ministry & Congregational Development, presented the members with information on search options and other materials to help guide our church through the process. At the Vestry retreat, in February, a significant amount of time was dedicated to building a framework to support the transition process. The Vestry decided to support the process using functional committees to accomplish the work ahead of us. These functional committees will cover communications, profile, interview and celebration. While most of the committees are self-explanatory, the celebration team was formed to organize the party commemorating Fr. Craig and Ann’s contribution to Good Shepherd over the last 13 years.
In addition to the work being done by the Vestry, the Transition Committee, consisting of Nora Earnest, Randy Hubbard, Pete Roden, Elaine Oxenbury and myself, have been meeting with Fr. Craig regularly to understand the critical systems and processes at Good Shepherd. The Transition Committee meetings have helped establish a road map of actions, which need to be accomplished, prior to Fr. Craig’s retirement. Fr. Craig discussed these actions in his March Sheepskin article. One of the actions on the road map was for me to spend a day at the church with Fr. Craig and the staff. This task was accomplished this week. A full building walk-through was performed, during which locations of critical systems and documents were noted. I also had the opportunity to attend the weekly staff meeting and get a feel for all the effort it takes to keep Good Shepherd running.
We have also been in conversation with our retired clergy, and the Diocese, to make certain we have service coverage into the future. Retired Bishop Jerry Winterrowd, Retired Bishop Cal Schofield, and Rev. Merrie Need will be helping us through the transition. I have also been in regular contact with Ann Fleming to discuss supply and interim clergy options. Currently, we have the Sunday morning services covered through April, and the 6:00 PM services covered through May. We will continue to work on the plan, until we have all services covered.
As we approach Easter, let us enter into this sacred season with prayer and reflection. Please keep all the clergy and lay leaders in your prayers, as they prepare to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Please keep Good Shepherd in your prayers, as well, as we prepare for new life with a new Rector. If your schedule will allow, please plan to attend the parish meeting on April 10th, as we continue to prepare for the transition and begin the search process.