In late January the Search Committee reported to the vestry that they were not able to reach a consensus on a candidate for Rector and handed the search process back to the Vestry. The Vestry met with the Rev. Canon Martha Hubbard, on February 13th to explore our options moving forward. After discussing forming a new Search Committee or requesting the Bishop to appoint a Priest-in-Charge, the Vestry decided to ask Bishop Gate’s to find us a Priest-in-Charge. The candidate will have to be approved by the Vestry. The Priest-in-Charge will come with a three year contract with the option of becoming the Rector in the third year. We are currently waiting for the Bishop to recommend a candidate.

June update: The Search Committee met on every week in May doing a line by line, word by word edit based on the suggestions made by the congregation and the Vestry. As a result, we are very close to finishing the Final Draft. The Final Draft will be sent to the Vestry in June for them to approve/disapprove and vote. Assuming all goes well, we will send the finished Profile to the diocese for approval. We will be sending the Community Portfolio with it. Once the diocese approves the document, it will be posted on St. Stephen’s website for the congregation to read. Also, at this time, we will begin receiving applications for a new rector. Thank you for your patience and prayers. We appreciate them both. Your Search Committee

May update: The Search Committee was busy in April gathering information from the congregation for the Parish Profile. We thank all of you for your participation in the listening sessions and the time you spent reading and responding to the Draft Parish Profile. It is now our task to take all the feedback and incorporate it as best we can. Eventually, the Profile will make its way back to the Vestry to approve/disapprove and vote. After we have been given the approval of the Vestry, we can then forward to the diocese for their approval. Once we receive the diocese’s approval, we can then post on the St. Stephen’s website for prospective candidates to view. In the meantime, we will be devising questions and evaluation procedures for candidates so that once applications begin to come in we will be ready to respond. Once again we ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for the honor to serve you in this sacred process. Your Search Committee

February: Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and patience. We held a three hour meeting to analyze the data provided by the congregation as well as the research we had done on our own. We have decided to utilize a writing team to write up the profile. A team reflects the core idea expressed by the congregation that we are at our best when we are a diverse group of people striving to serve God. This approach does take a little more time since we must listen carefully and openly to each others’ thoughts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit as we try to understand how the word and body of Christ exists at St. Stephen’s. We will write the profile and then send it to the Vestry and congregation for final review. Once we have all of that input we will write a final copy and send to the diocese for review. With the diocese on board we can then proceed to posting the profile and accepting names. Again thanks for your patience and prayers. We are asking that you continue praying for us and let us know if you have thoughts and concerns about the work you have entrusted us to do. Your Search Committee

January: The Search Committee meets twice a month to do the work of calling a new rector. In December we held focus groups and individual interviews. We still have a few focus groups we need to conduct so we will continue that journey. Also, we have begun the arduous task of writing the Parish Profile. As we have conveyed to you previously, this is an extremely important document. This document has to convey to prospective candidates who St. Stephen’s is, was, and hopes to be. They will engage with this document to determine if they want to apply to be out rector. So you can see how important this document is. It is our hope to have the document ready by early February. We will then bring the document to the congregation for feedback. We ask for your thoughts and prayers be with us as we continue on this sacred path. As always your comments and concerns are welcome so feel free to stop one of us and tell us. Thank you for your patience and prayers.

December: During the month of November the Search Committee held three general participation small groups and several focus groups in which we targeted specific ministries and groups of St. Stephen’s. In the month of December we will be analyzing the data gathered from the small groups and individual interviews as we begin the process of creating the Parish Profile. We will also be folding in the data gathered from the surveys into the data base. In September and October we gathered descriptive data regarding the St. Stephen’s committee systems, outreach ministries, the history of Lynn, the history of St. Stephen’s, the creation of our building, demographic and geographic information for the city of Lynn and more. All of this material will also be folded into our data base. ALL of this information will be coded and analyzed as we begin the process of actually writing the Parish Profile which will be completed in January. Once this profile is composed we will return the document to the congregation for response and approval. Then it will be forwarded to the diocese for approval so we can begin the process of receiving names. We realize that at times this seems we are moving at a snail’s pace. However, we exist to serve you so it is important that we solicit and receive what the congregation believes who we have been, who we are, and who we want to be so we can diligently and prayerfully move to select a new rector. This takes time! We ask for your continued support, patience, and prayers as we seek to select a candidate for our beloved St. Stephen’s. In closing we want to thank all of you for your participation in filling out the survey, individual interviews, and small groups. If there is more on your heart and soul about selecting a new rector, we welcome and encourage your response. Yours in the love of Christ, Your Search Committee

November: Thank you to those who participated in the survey! As we begin our small group and individual conversations, please consider and pray on the following questions:

  1. What brought you to St. Stephen’s?
  2. What keeps you here?
  3. What would benefit St. Stephen’s the most right now?
  4. What are you looking for in a new rector?

Please attend one of the following large group discussions after the 10:00 service on November 11, 18 or 25. Even if you have filled out the survey, you are still invited to come.

We want to know what you think.

October: We recognize St. Stephen’s is a diverse congregation that needs a variety of tools to inform the search for a new rector. To this end, the Search Committee decided to use surveys, interviews, and small groups to inform our work. We have worked tirelessly for the last two months to create a survey that would inform how we compile the Parish Profile. The Parish Profile will be uploaded to the website for you and prospective candidates to view and get a sense of who St. Stephen’s has been, is, and hopes to be. Furthermore, the survey contains questions that will help guide us as we seek to interview you and yours. We hope to begin the interviews as early as next week! Small groups should begin after October 7. We hope to finish the Parish Profile in December. After that the Parish Profile must be brought before the congregation, the vestry, and the diocese for response. Once the Profile is established we can begin to think about calling a new rector. At all times, we want your feedback and comments on this process. We exist to serve you. It is our honor. Please hold us in prayer and vigilance. If you have not received a survey and would like one, please see Helen Patmon or Steve Switzer.

September: Your search committee has been busy developing a survey that will be used to help create a Parish Profile which will then help us all in the process of calling a new rector to St. Stephen’s. You received a Parish survey via email or US mail. Please read the entire survey before you fill it out. Once you have filled it out, please return it to the church office. For further information or to express your concerns please call or write to the office and we will address your concerns. Know that we are here to serve you, so please let us know what you think. We will follow up the survey with interviews and small group discussions, so stay tuned.