The Pick a Priest Process


Our church (parish) is searching for a new priest.  My husband is a part of the search committee.  The committee I dubbed last night as “The Pick A Priest” process.  This is a surprisingly odd way to pick the leader of one’s church.  I cannot quite wrap my head and heart around this procedure.

I grew up Methodist where the ministers are appointed and assigned to each church.  The Episcopal Church doesn’t work the same way.  A few selected men and women cast a call (ad) for a new priest, sort through the candidates, and make a short list of priest for the vestry (local church leaders).  My husband is making an Excel spreadsheet of the committee’s ratings on many parameters of each candidate.  Ultimately, the vestry will choose one Priest for our little church.  The “Diet Catholic” faith is a bit odd to me, but I have been a part of it for about 5 years now alongside my husband and our two boys.

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Our two boys have grown up in this church.  Addison took his First Communion here.  The boys’ younger days at the Methodist church from 0-5 years are likely faded or non-existent.  Our present way of faith formation is in the Episcopal faith.  It’s formal for me.  It’s a lot of ritual and standing up and down and kneeling to pray or prepare for communion.  It is a blessing to me that we take communion every week–love that aspect.

There are many “ways to worship.”  Researching “the way” in the Bible today led me to many verses.  Over 500 verses follow that phrase in The Message version of the Bible.  Here’s the one that stood out to me for this five minute Friday post (Way):

Judges Chapter 18 

In those days there was no king in Israel. But also in those days, the tribe of Dan was looking for a place to settle down. They hadn’t yet occupied their plot among the tribes of Israel.

2-3 The Danites sent out five robust warriors from Zorah and Eshtaol to look over the land and see what was out there suitable for their families. They said, “Go and explore the land.”

They went into the hill country of Ephraim and got as far as the house of Micah. They camped there for the night. As they neared Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They went over and said to him, “How on earth did you get here? What’s going on? What are you doing here?”

He said, “One thing led to another: Micah hired me and I’m now his priest.”

They said, “Oh, good—inquire of God for us. Find out whether our mission will be a success.”

The priest said, “Go assured. God’s looking out for you all the way.”

The secret of a happy life, is giving god the first part of your day, the first priority to every decision, and the first place of your life

The priest said, “Go assured. God’s looking out for you all the way.”

These two sentences gives me hope that God is looking out for our soon to be priest already.  God’s will along with our will creates a way for things to happen.  Things put into motion for us relate to how much time we spend in depending on The Lord.  I pray that our search committee can rest assured that God’s looking out for each of us ALL the WAY, and we need to trust in His Process to achieve a happy life!

Dear God,

You are Creating a faith community world-wide.  Forgive me when I try to have that community fit into my box of idealistic size and shape.  I give thanks for you changing my view on religion and worship over the last 5 years.  Help me to continue to trust in my husband, and more importantly give me the ability to be still and know that You are God.  You are the WAY, and You are with us in every way today.  AMEN.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and the five minute Friday blogging community.  I’m over my 5 minutes so I must add some photos and click Publish so that I can go shower and prepare for this day.  Fun Friday here we come.  Thanks for reminding me of Your Way Lord.

 

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Categories parenthood

4 thoughts on “The Pick a Priest Process

  1. The process to call a pastor is so different in different denominations. In the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), we go through a call process to call a new pastor. I’m in the 60 spot this week.

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  2. Thank you for sharing! Interesting to hear how different faith traditions are, I am glad you’re willing to learn. May you experience a lot of growth and fun while doing it!

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  3. In times of change, I love to remember that God sees the whole situation from beginning to end, and all I need to do is go along! He has your next priest ready. I was raised Lutheran, (P.K. in the house) and I have always felt it strange that some denominations have a high-up committee do the appointing of ministers. It always seemed to me rather like a corporation juggling its middle management. Maybe I can shed some light on the call process? That’s a Lutheran thing, too, and I’ve watched my father go through it.
    The concept is that, as Christians, we all have a calling from God. Called to be a teacher, called to be a writer, called, by God, into the ministry. So when a church needs a new pastor, the synod (synod for Lutherans, diocese for you?) provides to the church the list of available pastors. Likewise, if a pastor feels that God is calling them to move on, that they have done the work they were called to do at their current congregation, that pastor tells the synod they are open to receive a call.
    It is very important for the pastor and the people in the seeking congregations to be prayerfully considering the options, and listening to the voice of God and His Word throughout the process. When a church extends the call to a pastor, it should be because the church feels led by God to reach out to that person. If a pastor accepts a call, it should be because they have seen and visited, and felt God’s call to minister to that congregation. It is not a blind assignment based on “upper management”.
    I know every church does it differently, and I’m sure denominations that appoint pastors to specific churches are also prayerfully considering the potential match, but somehow the call process I know seems more … direct through God? Like, without a middleman. But it’s what I know.

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  4. I really appreciate your honesty in this post. My husband grew up in England and his background is with the Anglican Church (pretty similar to Episcopal) and my upbringing included several different denominations. Currently, we attend a United Methodist church in our small town. Each denomination does things a little differently, but as long as you are obedient to the truths of the Bible I don’t think you can really go wrong with the denomination you practice. I do find it odd the selection process for priests, but I don’t know what the “right” way really looks like. I pray for your church’s transitional period and that God will bring the right candidate along. I’m visiting from FMF and I am so happy to have found you! Blessings!

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