Search Committee Letter to the Parish

July 26, 2020

Dear family and friends of St. Stephen’s,

Hopefully, you are all aware that the Profile Committee has completed the Parish Profile and it has been reviewed and approved by your Vestry. If you have not yet been able to take a look at it, please do. The profile Committee’s dedication and extensive work resulted in a truly amazing profile of St. Stephen’s which will be released by the Diocese to the church as a whole and to those who will subsequently submit their candidate profiles to the Diocese. The Diocese will then, after a thorough review, submit their approved candidate profiles to the Search Committee for our review as the first step in the selection process.

While the profile was being created, your search committee also began to formulate the first steps in the search process. The initial step was a meeting with The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson Canon to the Ordinary for the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and a review of the transition process that has been put in place by the Diocese including the Transition Manual prepared by the Diocese. The next steps involved a careful review of the Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT), a review of all the listening session contributions and the summary provided by the profile committee of those sessions.  Your Search Committee has been meeting on a regular basis through Zoom meetings to discern what information is most critical to gather in our efforts to find the priest that God has chosen to walk with all of us as we move into our shared future.

Please know that each of you is in our hearts and minds as we move through his process. No one priest can meet everyone’s hopes and expectations but we will seek to find that person who offers gifts that will unite us all in Christ and guide us on a path that leads to the continued presence of St. Stephen’s and our many ministries for years to come in Pittsfield and beyond.

Unlike the search process in years past, the Search Committee will not make the final decision in selecting a new rector. It is our task to assess the candidates, conduct interviews and then provide your Vestry with 2 or 3 recommendations. At that point the Vestry will begin the final process and with the approval of the Bishop and Reverend Simpson, call our next rector.

The search process is not a quick one.  We expect that the diocese will present a list of candidates to the Search Committee around mid-September and at that time, after the initial review of submitted candidate profiles, the interview process will begin. It is important to know that our search is a deeply confidential process and specific information about the candidates cannot be shared with anyone outside of the search committee other than the Diocese as needed and the Vestry once candidates are presented to them.

Know that each of you is a part of this process through your presence in our lives and as members of our St. Stephen’s family  and be assured that our search is  not about finding the person we would choose for ourselves but, the one priest who will be the loving hands and heart of Christ for all.  Thank you for your continued trust and prayerful support.

The Search Committee of St. Stephen’s

David Nevin – Alec Gilman – Cathy Carchedi – Gwen Davis Ouillette – Josie Ellis – John Garinther – Susan LeBourdais – Chris Perry – Craig Smith

Rev. Francie Hills – Chaplain – Wendy Webster Coakley – Vestry Liaison