Well, another year goes by the wayside. We had a lovely day away from the office, celebrating both a "day off" and my birthday. After seeing to some simple daily chores, Laura and I headed off up to Pelham NY to see some of our dearest friends. They have just celebrated the birth of their third son, and both L and I were looking forward to meeting him. Young Andrew Marshall is a chip off the block for Randy and Patty, and is a truly handsome young man...Taking after his older brothers. I am also honored to be one of his namesakes. Makes my heart glad, as I came by my name from my grandfather, and he by the doctor who saved his and his mother's lives during his delivery (back in 1907). More ways to keep ol' Doc Marshall's name alive, and to add to the name's story. I look forward to teaching Andrew about his appellative predecessors.
This morning was a tough wake up, though. We lingered over coffee and conversation in NY, and paid for it with a late home arrival. I took Sophie out for a midnight walk, and then was awakened around six, then seven in the morning for her next walk and the morning's events. Those included a Pastoral Care ministry meeting, an informal lunch with on of my RAC members to talk about the Assistant Rector position and now I await the arrival of a couple for a premarital appointment.
Still, and all around, it has been a great morning. With every encounter/meeting I have in these past few weeks, I have made it a point to talk about the possibility of hiring a clergy associate on a full time basis. We have a lot of work to do as a parish before the vestry is able to empower me to issue that call to someone who would be among us as a pastor and liturgical companion in ministry. Getting as much feedback as I can, and as much background as I am able to amass, is important right now. We have a pretty deep history with folk called as assistant rectors in the past, and as we prepare to enter that search and calling process again, I want to find the best way forward. Do it as faithfully as is possible the first time through and the precedent is set.
Paramount for me is allowing the vestry to lead the parish in supporting them to enable me to extend a call. Hard to follow? Of course...The parish is going to have to be willing to support the vestry leadership with its energy and resources in order for the vestry to have the wherewithal to allow me the ability to, in good faith and on a sustainable basis, issue a call to an assistant rector who will be nurtured, challenged and finally released more fully formed to serve the Church. This is not about making a hire to lighten the rector's, or the staff's, workload. It is about us recognizing that Trinity has the opportunity and the responsibility to call, support, learn from and teach someone who is going to look to this parish as a watershed moment in their ministry. We are taking someone on in order to let them go. Not an easy task. It means conversion and changing perspective for me, staff, vestry...And most important of all, the parish.
So, much of my time in the coming weeks is going to be spent on communication with the many and diverse groups in the parish, talking about this new opportunity for us as a parish to act on something God is calling on us to accomplish. I will be answering questions, asking for insight and hoping to move forward into a new era for Trinity. A good way to start a new year.