I have a small committee of advisers that I inherited from the previous rector of Trinity Church. It operates under the title of "Rector's Advisory Committee" and after some time, prayer and support from the wardens, I have worked on using this group and its considerable wisdom and talent to bolster, advise, and support my role as Rector here at Trinity. It is not a super-vestry, an executive committee or anything of the sort, just a group of people I have invited who are serving, or have served the parish in senior leadership positions in the past and who are interested in supporting the rector with advice, criticism and counsel. We meet once a month early on, and the agenda is oriented toward how I might best be enabled and empowered to serve Trinity as its rector...and for me in that role to support the vestry and parish leadership in increasingly effective ways.
We had a good meeting last night, the biggest chunk of which was working on the ever-present issue of leadership succession in the parish (in general) and in the vestry (in particular). What arose out of that time of reflection was what I hope will become an effective strategy for myself and the vestry as we seek to embrace, invite and empower the parish membership into a deeper sense of the spiritual adventure that is lay leadership in parish life.
I took a wipe board into that meeting, and by the end of our time together we had filled it with ideas, thoughts and reflections on the blessings and challenges of calling leadership out of the membership of the Body of Christ in this our parish home. Looking at the goal of engaging the parish in a call to leadership, we took on the challenge of creating a foundation of actions that I and the vestry might undertake in the next couple of months that will renew and invite the population of this parish into seeing themselves as parish leaders instead of just parish members. We all have gifts for leadership...on levels large and small; public or intimate. It is just a matter of realizing what resources we possess; what resistance (both inner and outer) we need to overcome; and what core values we are attempting to express in that acceptance of call that will determine our path into the "yet-to-come" in our common life.
That set of wipe board notations has become a document that is circulating to Vestry today...and as we move through this month and into the next I look forward to seeing where this sense of intentional renewal...and engagement with a sense of new life in parish leadership...will take us.
Stay tuned. More to come.