Cross Words – Epiphany by Fr. Rick Cross


      W                                                                                       Epiphany, 2020

C r O s s


      Discernment Circle – You are invited!


Next Thursday, January 9th, beginning at 5:30 pm, a new and unique opportunity awaits the St. Patrick’s Community. This year as an alternative to the traditional small Nominating Committee (usually the Wardens, the priest and a couple of retiring Vestry members), the Vestry have agreed to use a “Discernment Circle” to flesh out parish leadership for 2020.

I got the idea from St. Mark’s, Waterville where this approach recently was used, and I invited the Rev. John Balicki, the Rector there, to facilitate our Circle.

The process is planned to take an hour and a half, beginning with a shorter than usual Taize-style Meditation service, setting the tone of our prayerful discernment discussion. Following this prayer, everyone will move down to the Shamrock Room for a quick bowl of soup and then into a circle of chairs for a structured discussion. A guiding question is: “How is the Spirit leading us to discern leadership for our congregation for 2020?”

Everyone’s hearts, minds and ears are needed; the more the better quality of our discussion. In some ways, this can be thought of as a pre-Annual Meeting Hearing. The goal is not just to “fill the slots” of Vestry and Officers and Delegates, although that may be a by-product. You are being asked to participate in the larger question of thoughtful sharing about leadership within our community.

Is God calling you to offer yourself for a leadership position? Is God calling you to identify and suggest another sister or brother in Christ for a leadership position? “Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people” – the St. Patrick’s community – about the leadership needed, and the many gifts that have been given to our members.

A slate of nominees may emerge from our discussion and there may be more candidates than openings in which case careful voting could happen at the Annual Meeting. Anyone interested in being considered for a position who cannot attend the Circle, should contact me or Warden David Blethen to make sure you are considered.

Positions to be voted on at our Annual Meeting January 26 are: 1) Two Wardens, 2) A Clerk, 3) A Treasurer, (all elected for one-year terms each year); 4) One Vestry member (elected for a three-year term); 5) Two Delegates to Diocesan Convention and 6) Two Alternates (elected for one-year terms).

As preparation, I have asked current Vestry members to consider what responsibilities each position involves and to be prayerful about considering candidates. I know there has been some private discussion about this. The “Circle” can be an exercise in trust, open direct conversation, seeking the mind of Christ together, and speaking the truth in love.

I believe this prayerful, respectful process will strengthen our community. Everyone’s wisdom can help us take a fresh look at where the Spirit is leading us in our life together, and which gifts we have been given to lead us in that direction. I encourage everyone to participate, even if you choose to be a listener. Thanks for your support.

                                                                   Shalom,   Fr. Rick