Rector Transition

Transition Update 6/19

Steve Fales – St Ann’s Temporary Priest (The Diocesan leaders prefer Temporary Priest or Long-Term Supply Priest vs Part Time Interim Priest.)

 Steve Fales, who likes to be called “Steve”, or for the kids “Father Steve”, expects to start as our Temporary Priest on August 1, 2024.

  • He will lead us in worship for the next 12 months.
  • He’ll work 15 hours/week.
  • He’ll serve all Sundaysexcept the 4th Sunday when Lisle leads us in Morning Prayer.
  • He’ll provide emergency pastoral support to our parishioners.
  • Steve will attend all vestry meetings.
  • He will also be available in the office on Wednesdays to meet with parishioners as needed.

Rev. Suzanne Roberts, Diocesan Transition and Deployment Officer, is helping us put together the Letter of Agreement (LOA). The bishop will approve our LOA before Steve and St Ann’s leaders sign it.

St Ann’s CAT Survey Interpretation Meeting

 The Holy Cow Consulting, zoom-only interpretation meeting on June 25th 6-9pm is open to all St Ann’s committee chairs and any other interested parishioners.  The report link and the zoom meeting link will be emailed to you in the Thursday weekly email on June 20th.

Tim’s Sendoff Celebrations June 30th

Extended Coffee after 8am service: Please reach out to Peggy Perks if you can help. peggyperks@yahoo.com

There will only be one Facebook Live option on Tim’s last day: 10am. Dan Wheeler has volunteered to video the 10am service for Facebook Live. Thanks Dan!!

BBQ after 10am service:  You can sign up at church to bring potluck items or reach out to Catherine Ryder cryder@spurwink.org

Lastly, Patty Bruce is coordinating the BBQ set up and clean up. Please let her know if you can help pattybruce143@gmail.com

 We only have 1 week left with Father Tim! 

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION (newest first)

                                                                                                         St Ann’s Temporary Priest

Rev Steve Fales was ordained in 1978 when he was 26 years old. He has served in a handful of Episcopal churches. He spent significant years in a large parish near Indianapolis. In November 2021, after his wife survived lots of treatments for colon cancer, within 10 days of their move to Maine, she died suddenly of an aneurysm.

More recently, Steve’s spent 14 months in Sanford at St George’s. He lives in Saco and doesn’t see the commute as problematic – expects to cancel services like we would expect for driving concerns. He has 2 daughters and 3 grandsons. And he’s recently begun dating.

At St George’s, Steve has been working 15 hours/week, in the office on Wednesdays. This part time arrangement has been exactly enough to keep Steve engaged, but still feel retired. His Letter of Agreement (LOA) with St George’s was set up by Suzanne Roberts: $20,000 plus mileage for 12 months. He’s on Medicare and drawing from his pension now, so no benefits to add. Hiring Steve at this same rate represents a significant savings to St Ann’s and will help to offset any costs associated with the search for a permanent rector.

Other things to know about Steve:

Strong extravert who likes to build relationships when people are not in crisis.
Doesn’t need to worship with Rite 1
Averages 10-12 minute sermons – his services run 60-70 minutes
Can’t start until August and has travel plans in October
Doesn’t have a lot of his own vestments
Expects to perform weddings and funerals as needs arise
Expects to provide pastoral care for hospitalized parishioners as needed
Would plan to be on site at St Ann’s on Wednesdays
Agrees to have Lisle continue with Morning Prayer on 4th Sundays
Knows Lisle will assist with pastoral care when she can
Next steps: Steve knows the vestry’s June meeting is on 6/11/2024 when we’ll talk about him and vote.

                                                                                         St Ann’s Supply Priests for July

We will have Sue Murphy leading us in worship the first 2 Sundays in July and Mother Barbara Barth will join us the last 2 Sundays in July. Because “Mother B” prefers no video, there will not be FaceBook recordings of St Ann’s services the last 2 Sundays in July. 

                                        Suzanne Roberta (diocesan Transition and Deployment Officer) gave a general overview on April 9th;
 Suzanne and Rev Dr Bill Barter, Associate to the Lutheran Bishop will work together
through this transition
 Every church and every transition are unique.
 Timelines can be difficult to predict.
 The most important thing to do right now is say good bye to Father Tim.
 This is a challenging time – some people embrace change and some are terrified of change. Take a breath. Support each other. Give each other space and understanding.
 We (as a congregation) need time to figure out where God is calling us next. Do NOT rush the process.

We had a robust conversation about an Interim Rector
o Everyone agrees that an Interim Rector is the good plan.
o This will provide stability and a familiar face through the transition period.
o This will help “prepare the ground” for the permanent replacement.
o The interim person can act without the worry about damaging long term relationships.
o The interim person will “shake things up” since they will not do things the same way Father Tim does/did. This actually helps set up the permanent replacement for success.
o Rarely does an Interim become your Permanent person.
o We need to make some decisions about what kind of Interim Job we are looking for – part time/full time. Suzanne notes that finding a full time Interim is easier that part time. A full time Interim would expect that same level of compensation (salary/benefits) as a typical rector.
o We need to write a job description (likely that will be accomplished by our Sr Warden with FLC lay leadership and Suzanne). Suzanne will start with a profile posted on Diocese of ME website, the jobs board for Episcopal News Service and the OTM website. Bill Barter will post on the Lutheran sites. There is no guarantee that we will have an Interim by July 1 but that would be a good goal. If we do not, we will use supply ministry until an Interim is secured.
o AFTER July 1 and AFTER we have an INTERIM in place, we will form a Discernment/Search Committee for our permanent replacement. This is typically 6-8 people and should include 1-2 people from St Ann’s Vestry and representation from both St Ann’s and FLC.
o The search process in the Lutheran church is very different and FLC will discuss with Bill about following the Episcopal model.

At this time, we had an opportunity to ask additional questions;
Q: This feels like a very long time to wait to ‘get started’. Do we have to wait until after July 1 to begin this work?
A: YES – If we rush, we won’t lay the ground work well. We have things we can do in the meantime. Make sure the website is current and “spiffed up” since any candidates will look there first. We can do a congregational assessment (more on that in a minute). We are
reminded by Suzanne and others that taking the time is a good thing.

Q: Tell us more about the congregational assessment tools.
A: Suzanne recommends an assessment with a company called Holy Cow. www.holycowconsulting.com. There are different modules we can pick from, the cost is based on the size of our membership, everything is done on line, the assessment will be launched and then remain open for 3-4 weeks. This looks at the vitality, health and enthusiasm of the congregation. This helps us identify strengths and weaknesses. This is very different from the survey we just completed. The results get sent to a consultant (Suzanne has a consultant she recommends). The consultant would process and then present both to Vestry and the congregation. This likely will cost a few thousand dollars.

Q: What can we expect with our membership through the process?
A: It is typical to have fluctuations in membership. Some people are so focused on Father Tim, they may leave. And some people may return. During these transitions, things tend to settle out ok and often there is initially an uptick in membership with a new Rector. Healthy
transitions are absolutely possible when the congregation comes together and steps up. People need to have a sense of belonging, feel needed and ownership in the parish. Consistent communication will be critical as well. Father Tim even noted that his style tends to be “I’ll handle it” which results in some people stepping back. Think of now as a “Call to Arms”.

Q: Can we have a half time Interim?
A: Vestry will decide on the full time vs part time role of the Interim. With the FLC relationship and the size of the congregation, it is likely that a full time interim would be a better fit. Most part time people are retired and may not have the energy/enthusiasm we need.

  Message from Father Tim

Fr Tim has made the decision to move on to a new ministry. Here is the message to parishioners that went out on March 13th:

After much thought, prayer and listening to the Spirit of God, I have accepted a Call to serve as the new rector for St. George’s Episcopal Church in Sanford. We have worked together in ministry for 17 years and serving you as your rector here at St. Ann’s has been the joy of my priesthood. Our children grew up in this Church and came to know God as a loving, caring and inclusive Being, through your faith and inspiration…for that I am eternally grateful. I will continue to serve at St. Ann’s until July 1. Thank you and may God’s blessings be upon you.

Why Did This Happen

Fr Tim has not just been our pastor for 17 years; he was here for five years before that with his family.  Along the way he’s seen Saint Ann’s through everything from a major capital campaign to a ¼ time shared ministry at Faith Lutheran Church. God has driven the growth of the parish to almost twice in size. Fr Tim constantly serves on a stunning number of committees (which is quite an effort for a church of our size), and, along the way has had to work to be the pastoral priest he is at heart.  How many people do you know that have stayed in the same job for 17 years? That kind of longevity is a thing of the past. St Ann’s has been blessed! Fr Tim is 64 years old and Episcopal clergy have a required maximum retirement age of 72.

As our senior warden, Patty Bruce puts it, “While Father Tim’s news of moving on is unexpected, and may be difficult for the congregation, St Ann’s is on solid ground with seasoned leadership and resources from the Diocese to support us throughout this transition. Each one of us at St Ann’s has a personal connection to Tim that we respect and honor. We will support each other through this transition and grow stronger together. Collectively we also have many strengths and skills to carry us forward. We have a lot of work in front of us, but I’m buoyed by the commitment and willing spirit of my fellow Vestry members and others.”

What is the Process from Here?

Our first objectives will be saying goodbye to our long-time rector and friend, as we work to find an interim priest to lead worship with us for the next several months while we seek and find another full-time rector. The vestry and a selection committee will work together to find the best fit for where we are as a church.

What Will the Likely Effect Be on Parishioners & The Parish?

From a personal perspective it is likely to be much the same as watching an adult child, grandchild or friend move away and start a new life.  Difficult and mixed feelings for most, but we all respond differently.  We encourage parishioners to take every opportunity to enjoy Fr Tim over the next few months and to help send him on his way.  We are committed to providing updated information on a regular basis and your vestry members are available if you want to talk. Vestry member contact information is posted on the bulletin board in the Narthex and in the Undercroft on the wall next to the TV.

Beyond that, we all likely hold individual thoughts about what the effect will be for the entire parish family.   It may help to remember that St Ann’s is a family rooted in Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit will help guide the process.  Be open to God in your life as the Spirit helps show the way to each of us.