The Rev. Dr. Paul D. Tunkle, rector of The Church of the Redeemer since November 2001, has announced that he will retire in May of 2014. This page will chronicle our parish journey in this time of transition.
The Church of the Redeemer Congregational Meeting
November 17, 2013
- A Rector is tenured; he or she serves until he or she retires or reaches the age of 72. A Rector does not report to the Vestry, but is accountable to the congregation, the Vestry, and the Bishop. At Redeemer the Vestry and Rector believe in a mutual ministry.
- An Interim Rector serves a definite term as defined in a covenant (contract) with the Vestry and during his or her time with us will have all of the authority of a Rector. He or she is accountable to the congregation, the Vestry and the Bishop. The Vestry will look for an Interim Rector who will work in the mode of a mutual ministry.
- The time of transition is one of discernment that will lead to the call of a new Rector. This is not a search process leading to a hire. The parish needs to set a place at the table for the Holy Spirit and to pray and reflect that we may listen and become aware of what is best for The Church of the Redeemer now and in the future. Our end goal is not an employee/employer hire, but rather a mutual discernment between the Search Committee, the Vestry and the priest whom we are calling to be our rector.
Opportunities for Parish Input throughout the Transition Process
- Small and large meetings/conversations over the months ahead (before and after Paul leaves).
- Parish survey (after Paul leaves)
- Communicate with vestry members and eventually with the Search Committee.
Opportunities for Informational Updates
- Periodic updates from the Vestry, the Search Committee, and others yet to be determined.
- Updated web site, which will have continuing activities of parish life, transition information, parish “profile” (based on parish meetings/conversations and the survey), profile for the new Rector, celebrations of Paul and Judy’s gifts to the parish, etc. The web site will serve as our published profile, which will hopefully also be a vehicle to attract newcomers to the parish.
The Vestry Makes the Major Decisions
- Call of an Interim Rector
- Approves the profile for our Interim Rector
- Selects and gives charge to the Interim Rector Search Committee
- Offers Call to Interim Rector, based on a covenant (contract) with him or her that has been approved by the Vestry.
- Call of a Rector
- Approves profile for the new Rector and the parish profile.
- Selects and gives charge to the Search Committee. *
- Calls the new Rector from a pool of three or so candidates referred to the Vestry by the Search Committee.
Time Line for Time of Transition (Because this is a discernment process, not a search, the times are only approximate. Some activities may take less time and some more.)
- November 17, 2013 through May 17, 2014- Celebrate Paul and Judy **
- November 2013
- Congregational Meeting
- Select Interim Rector Search Committee
- December 2013 –January 2014
- Interim Rector Profile Development
- February 2014
- Start Interim Rector Search
- Select Profile Committee***
- April 2014
- Call Interim Rector
- Select Search Committee (Will need a large, diverse pool from which to select names for this critical function.
- May 2014
- May 10, 2014 Special Event honoring the Tunkles
- May 17, 2014 Paul’s last Sunday at Redeemer
- June 2014
- Interim Rector Arrives
- Parish Survey Sent Out
- Search Committee training, preparation, etc.
- August 2014
- Parish and Rector Profiles Approved
- September 2014
- Active Search Begins
- September 6, 2014 Consecration of New Diocesan Suffragan Bishop
- October 2014 through April 2015
- Active Search Process continues
- May 2015
- August 2015
- Farewell to Interim Rector
NOTE: The times allotted for the active search and the call and for the new Rector to arrive after agreeing to the call are based on the complexity of the search and also not knowing the new Rector’s personal situation.)
* Those parishioners who would like to be considered as members of the Search Committee and who would like to suggest others to be considered please send the names to firstname.lastname@example.org.
** If you are interested in opportunities to work on celebration activities, please forward your name or the names of others you might suggest to Mary DeKuyper, at the email above.
*** If you are interested in serving on the Profile Committee- designing survey, planning and conducting congregational meetings, analyzing results of parish input, and writing a parish and rector profiles for approval by the Vestry, also send names to Mary.
At its Vestry retreat on November 8 and 9, 2013, the Vestry drafted a prayer for its work over these next many months. We invite you to join us in this prayer,
Gracious and merciful God, who has guided The Church of the Redeemer throughout our life together, we pray for courage, wisdom, guidance and faith and that you bless us in finding a new Rector, removing our anxieties, celebrating the moment, and increasing our vibrant ministry. In the name of Jesus, who nurtures and supports us in doing your work. Amen.
Mary H. DeKuyper,
From the Vestry Meeting of October 15, 2013
The Vestry met on Tuesday, October 15th to hear the search process report and recommendations of the Transition Advisory Committee (TAC). The Committee members are Deborah Callard (Chair), Jeff Ayres, Brandon Berkeley, Pierce Linaweaver, and Anne Pidcock (Vestry Liaison). The Committee met with the Rev. Canon Stuart Wright, Canon for Transitions for the Diocese of Maryland, researched best practices in search processes and talked to a variety of churches within and outside our diocese. They also met with the Rev. Thelma Smullen, our former Interim Rector, who served as a consultant to the Committee. The Committee reached consensus on their recommendations through a prayerful process. After the report was given, the staff and Vestry had an opportunity to ask clarifying questions, and then the staff, including our Rector, Paul, was excused. The Vestry spent a few minutes more with the Committee before the TAC members, except for Anne Pidcock (the vestry liaison), were also excused from the meeting.
The Vestry, now alone, undertook its first decision: how they would make decisions. They agreed that the use of consensus (all in agreement or with even the few not in agreement consenting to go forward and support the decision) would be the mode used. This decision was the first use of consensus!
First, the Vestry recognized that these next months until Paul’s leave taking offered important opportunities to thank and celebrate Paul and his ministry.
Second, the Vestry agreed, again by consensus, with the major components of the search process, as recommended by the TAC. They are:
- Update the web page and use it as the vehicle for disseminating a profile of the parish and a profile for the desired characteristics and experience of the new Rector. This would replace the printed profiles done in past searches. A hoped for by-product would be that the web site would also be a vehicle to tell Redeemer’s story to potential parishioners.
- Hold congregational meetings to inform and listen. These meetings would be held all during the process and could inform the content of the profile mentioned above. The first of these meetings will be held on November 17th after the 10:00 service to update people on the search process, answer questions and listen to comments and suggestions. The meeting times will vary over the months.
- Select a Search Committee and its chair
- Call an Interim Rector
- Undertake the active search for our new rector
- Call our new rector and welcome him or her to Redeemer
Third, the TAC and the Vestry were in complete agreement that good communication was one of the key ingredients to a successful transition, as it is in all that we do in the parish. However, this special time demands of all of us to listen with both our minds and hearts and to contribute our comments and suggestions in a caring and open manner. We will have congregational meetings, an updated web presence, updates posted on the web, in e-Redeemer and in The Chimes, and one-on-one. I, along with the other officers and Vestry members, welcome your comments and questions.
The Vestry will meet alone to further discuss the timing of the elements of the process at its November 8th and 9th retreat. The timetable needs to be flexible enough to allow true discernment and reflection all through the process and also move us toward our desired goal of having a rector to lead the parish into its future. The Vestry may also discuss the specific activities that need to take place under some of the major components of the process. The staff will join the Vestry for the last portion of the retreat to discuss the many shared responsibilities and work of the parish beyond the transition process. Many exciting programs are planned and there will be a myriad of opportunities to be involved in this work and in the search process.
I ask for your prayers in support of all those involved in the various aspects of this transition process, for Paul and Judy, and for all those who call The Church of the Redeemer their spiritual home.
From the Minutes of the August 20, 2013 Vestry Meeting
Transition Report. [Anne Pidcock] Anne reported that the transition advisory committee met for an organizational meeting. Deborah Callard is chairing the committee, which also includes Jeff Ayres, Brandon Berkeley, Pierce Linaweaver and Anne. Its primary purpose is to advise the vestry about procedures that the Episcopal Church follows in Discerning a Call for a new Rector. They will research the current "best practice procedures" about engaging a consultant, an interim rector, costs and budget, a timeline for the process and communication with the parish. The Vestry liaision will report to the vestry each month about the committees' progress and the vestry will decide on how to proceed.
Anne said that Canon Stuart Wright, the Diocesan Canon for Transitions, had been very helpful. Rev. Wright had told the committee about two recent changes in the process. The first is that much of the matching of candidates to the position takes place by computer, so the process is much more streamlined. Canon Wright told the committee that the transitions ministry conference on which he serves is finding the matches are better using this process. Second, instead of developing parish profiles, parishes now rely on their websites to convey information that the profile used to convey. Websites contain information about the parish’s approach to stewardship and its liturgical practices and the like.
On the question of whether there is a need for an interim rector at Redeemer, Stuart Wright said yes, for at least one year. He says an interim is necessary to separate the parish identity from the departing rector and give the parish the opportunity to see itself in a new way. Interim rectors are trained specifically for interim ministry.
Anne said the committee would be meeting again on September 5, 2013.
The Vestry discussed comments received from parishioners about the transition process. The Vestry will discuss the transition at each Vestry meeting, the core values of Redeemer, the information that has been gathered and what is known about best practices in the church, generally.
August 2013 (published in the Fall Chimes)
From Mary H. DeKuyper, Senior Warden:
I thank all of the parishioners who have contacted me since May and shared their thoughts about this time of transition. While the advice offered varied greatly, there was a common underlying theme: a strong commitment to this remarkable, vital community that is The Church of the Redeemer.
I have appointed, with the consent of the Vestry, a Transition Advisory Committee to advise the Vestry and me. The members of the Committee are: Deborah Callard (Committee Chair), Jeff Ayres, Brandon Berkeley, Pierce Linaweaver, and Anne Pidcock (Vestry Liaison). They will be inquiring about the best practices involved in a search process, and as a beginning, the full committee met with the Diocese of Maryland’s Canon for Transitions, the Rev. Canon Stuart Wright. Their research could include talking to other churches, reading publications, etc. The committee’s findings and advice will be presented to the Vestry as a framework for the Vestry’s decisions.
It is important to remember that the Vestry, alone, is the body that makes the critical decisions, which will include, the actual search process and its timetable, the make-up of the Search Committee and the call to a new Rector. Both the Transition Advisory Committee and the Vestry will be involved with the Holy Spirit in an on-going discernment process.
I found the following prayer written for the congregation and used all during the search process that brought us Paul Tunkle.
Almighty God, hear our prayer for this parish family. Guide our minds and fill our imagination with every good hope and vision for the future. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard among us. Show us by your Spirit how to fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and strengthen us for our mission to serve you in all that we do. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.