Mutual Expectations

Ministry is a team sport.

The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson, Canon to the Ordinary, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

WHAT OUR NEW RECTOR CAN EXPECT

We understand the unique challenges that face clergy – particularly the rector of a larger parish. In response to these challenges, St. Stephen’s has taken several steps to ensure that our rector can focus on her/his true calling.

First, St. Stephen’s has taken great care to develop an effective administrative infrastructure designed to free the rector from day-to-day oversight of organizational details. Our Parish Administrator, who works 4 full days a week, is professional and well acquainted with both the administrative and more personal needs of the parish. Because the parish values music and education, and understands the particular demands of these ministries, we have on staff a talented, experienced Director of Music Ministries and a dedicated Church School Administrator. Volunteer committees, led by the Vestry, work together to implement policies and procedures that have been “fine-tuned” over the years.

Second, we are sensitive to the personal needs of our clergy, given the demands of this calling. We will offer our new rector a fair and competitive compensation package and ample time away for spiritual reflection and renewal.

We do not expect our rector to act alone. We have a spiritually mature, engaged congregation that actively participates and rejoices in all aspects of parish life and lives out our mission. Volunteer support includes a Pastoral Care Leader, several Eucharistic Ministers and Visitors, and a parish tradition of active lay leadership/participation.

WHAT ST. STEPHEN’S IS EXPECTING

Prayer
We expect that our new rector will be spiritually grounded with an active prayer life from which preaching, pastoral care, liturgical leadership and spiritual guidance will flow.

Preaching
We seek someone with a strong capacity to inspire and connect people to God’s word. We appreciate a preacher who proclaims the Good News with joy, wonder, intelligence, creativity and a sense of humor. Sermons should be instructive and illuminating, relating the Scriptures to daily life. At the same time, good preaching should challenge the congregation spiritually and intellectually. Our members connect deeply with sermons that bring out or expose the truth that may be hidden beneath the words in a section of scripture.

Pastoral Care, Counseling, and Visitation
While pastoral care is a vital component of the clergy’s responsibilities at St. Stephen’s, the parish relies on the rector to guide and support others involved in this important ministry. Compassion, empathy and patience are necessities.

Formation/Education
We expect our next rector will be a strong advocate for effective church school and youth programs and will lend support, guidance and perspective to these essential ministries. We need a rector who motivates us to explore the benefit of lifelong learning and affords opportunities for spiritual growth and knowledge that is appropriate to every age and stage of life.

Worship Leadership
Above all, we have high expectations that the worship services at our church are exceptional in both quality (of execution) and spiritual content. We seek a rector who has a love of liturgy as expressed in the Book of Common Prayer and celebrates the Eucharist with ease and grace yet is comfortable with liturgical exploration. Lay participation is a hallmark of worship at St. Stephen’s, and we expect our new rector to be comfortable with this and to nurture its expansion.

Valuing Diversity
St. Stephen’s has a strong tradition of inclusiveness. We welcome all of God’s people in all of their wondrous diversity. Our next rector should challenge the parish to broaden its reach even farther, to become even more welcoming. While we are deeply rooted in our liturgical traditions, we hope for a rector who will help us discover new ways of making our unchurched neighbors feel welcome and nourished by their presence among us.

Diocesan and Ecumenical Leadership
As rector of one of the larger parishes in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the next rector of St. Stephen’s will participate in committees and events at the Diocesan and Deanery levels. In addition, we expect our new rector to be recognized as a leader among the community of faith in the greater Pittsfield area, and to help us discover new ways to build our community through creative, consistent, intentional outgrowth. We seek someone with the capacity to function on a larger stage beyond the walls of our church and to rally a variety of individuals and groups to address critical issues.

Leadership Style
We expect our next rector to feel comfortable delegating authority to the staff, vestry and committees. We look to the rector to build consensus on challenging issues, rather than dispense with controversy autocratically (or avoid it completely). Strong communication skills are a must. We’re searching for a rector who’ll communicate with our members in ways that keep us informed and connected. We seek a person with genuine personal warmth, an infectious feeling of joy in Christ, a gentle sense of humor and a willingness to be open to thoughtful innovation. We hope for a rector who brings out the best in each of us, one who can help us find new ways to discern and nurture the gifts of our members.

Artistic Development within Worship
St. Stephen’s has a long history of integrating the arts, liturgy, and formation. We hope to call someone who will support a creative atmosphere, welcoming expressions of the Spirit’s guidance through artistic expression. For example, our excellent music program is a central feature of our Sunday service. We look to build on this strength as we explore a broader variety of musical offerings.