God is speaking. Our job is to listen.
As we all pitch in to combat the spread of Corona virus, we in the Diocese of Olympia are still listening for what God would have us do. For congregations seeking clergy leaders, this listening process has been deeply impacted by:
- Changes to the role of supply and interims while worship is conducted remotely,
- The organizational challenge of doing work on behalf of the whole congregation when we can’t gather,
- The shifting financial realities that will impact the compensation packages churches will offer,
- And the inability to travel to visit prospective clergy.
In order to help us listen better, we will be pausing all search processes indefinitely until free movement is restored and/or adaptive technologies and processes are developed that help us bridge this discernment gap.
Over the past month, the Bishop’s Office has been in contact with congregational leaders to clarify what work may be finished up and how these changes will impact the timeline of each search. For congregations who experience a new vacancies (Rector/Priest-in-Charge/Vicar) our top priority is securing workable clergy coverage for the duration of the pause (and beyond as needed).
Depending on the situation, some transition work may be authorized by the Office of the Bishop if the following conditions are met:
- The congregation has a full and active complement of leaders: Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, Clerk or equivalents able to meet regularly and remotely.
- The congregation has demonstrated an ability to gather remotely for worship and/or fellowship during the building closures.
- The congregational leadership continues to review their financial status, seek COVID relief if needed, submit monthly Net Disposable Income Reports, work with the Bishop’s Office to ensure that transition communications accurately reflect the financial position of the congregation, and demonstrate the ability to support compensation at the desired level of clergy effort.