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St. Paul’s Search Committee 

Criteria, Responsibilities and Charge




How Appointed

The Vestry appoints the St. Paul’s Search Committee.  It is to be broadly representative of the congregation and, even more importantly, is to be comprised of members who are clearly committed to the church and to an effective search process. It is important that there be widespread agreement on the part of the Vestry in the selection of Search Committee members.


Search Committee Guidance

The Search Committee must maintain strict confidence about the candidates being considered. For them to do otherwise is to risk great damage, both to the candidates and to the parishes – St. Paul’s and those other parishes from where a new rector may be. Some candidates do not know they are being considered until the initial contact. Their congregations also do not and should not know until the decision to call is made. The Canon for Transition and Deployment will explain in detail the reasons for this confidentiality and will remind you of it frequently. It is very harmful if a Search Committee member “leaks” information to anyone in the parish, including a spouse or other family member. Therefore, the ability to maintain strict confidence is essential. It is also important to provide for the security of Search Committee files.


Other criteria/guidelines for the Search Committee include:

  • Regular attendance, active participation

  • Confirmed members in good standing, with current pledges

  • Discerning listeners, open minded, thoughtful

  • Willing to accept the commitment

  • One Vestry member who is willing and able to do both duties and who serves as a liaison between Search Committee and Vestry

  • Nine members

  • Team should be diverse in thought, background


It is never appropriate for a member of the parish staff to serve on the Search Committee, or to be assigned to assist the Search Committee. Members of the staff will report to the new Rector, and should not be privy to the materials or deliberations of the committee.



Vestry Charge to Rector Search Committee


Calling a new full-time Rector is a deeply spiritual event in the life of our parish and represents a significant opportunity. We are engaged in an opportunity to honor our history and those who have loved St. Paul’s Church so well by calling a new Rector who will encourage our continued spiritual growth to become the parish which God is calling us to be. It is an opportunity to continue our transformation into the hearts, minds and hands of Christ through our life and

ministry together. It is an opportunity to breathe in the Holy Spirit and grow ever closer in our personal and collective relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Therefore, inspired by God's constant love and guidance, and drawing on the grace of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Vestry hereby charges the Search Committee to identify, evaluate and recommend candidates to become the new full time Rector of St. Paul’s Kent, Maryland, as follows:


  • Utilizing Diocesan guidelines supplied by the Canon for Transition and Deployment as a resource, and with the support of the Transition Consultant, develop a detailed plan including major tasks, assignments, and milestones for completion. Submit these to the Vestry as soon as possible but no later than September 28, 2015. 

  • Encourage and support as needed the Profile Committee in developing the Parish Profile, by September 28, 2015.

  • Utilizing the Parish Profile as your guide, consider and discern the characteristics, ministries, and gifts, which we seek in our new Rector and thereby, develop written criteria for the Committee’s search, no later than November 9, 2015. Confirm these with the Vestry at a joint Vestry-Search Committee meeting no later than November 20, 2015.

  • Complete the package for approval for submission to the Bishop by November 30, 2015.

  • Seek a new full time Rector who is anchored in Christ, will create energy and passion, has successful experience in a Pastoral sized church, is interested in the history of the Parish and will revere the Cemetery of St. Paul’s, is interested in participating collaboratively with the other Episcopal parishes in the region and in partnership with an older congregation as Rector of St. Paul’s.

  • Ensure that the search is conducted at least regionally, and nationally, if required, and recruit suitable candidates for rector using such sources and methods as the Committee sees fit while remaining respectful of Diocesan resources and guidelines.

  • Manage the search budget ($40,000) allocated by the Vestry effectively and accurately account for all search expenditures, e.g., travel expenses for candidates and Committee members. (This will be detailed in the Plan.)  Seek support from the Parish Treasurer in the management of the funds in this budget.*

  • Perform assessments respectfully and objectively, as thoroughly and rigorously as possible, and in full consistency with the themes, priorities and characteristics presented within our Community/Parish Profile.

  • Use a variety of techniques, e.g., written questions, site visits, interviews, meetings /dinners with Vestry to help assess and evaluate candidates best suited to become the new Rector of St. Paul’s Kent Episcopal Church. Use our Community/Parish Portfolio content to craft these techniques in a manner that get to the core of what St. Paul’s seeks and needs in a new Rector.

  • In evaluating candidates and their fit for St. Paul’s Church, seek as much as possible to understand not only their attributes and experiences which can be described verbally or presented in writing, but also their behaviors and deeply personal characteristics which are more subjective, which reflect unique qualities in their faith and character and beliefs, and which therefore can be critical in understanding their fit in relationship with St. Paul’s Church. At each step of the way assess whether enough compatible candidates remain to move forward to the next phase. If not, notify the Vestry immediately.

  • Ensure that every candidate‐of‐interest has access to the Community/Parish Portfolio and parish website.

  • Request from the Diocese background investigations, inclusive of credit checks, as appropriate.

  • Efficiently and respectfully eliminate candidates from consideration after determining a lack of fit for St. Paul’s consistent with our Community/Parish Portfolio.

  • Conduct thorough reference checks on all candidates considered by the Committee for recommendation to the Vestry (or have them conducted by the Diocesan office).

  • Obtain Bishop’s approval on all candidates to be recommended to the Vestry.

  • Recommend one candidate to the Vestry by April 30, 2016 but subject to the following: the recommended candidate must have the Committee’s confidence that if he or she is called to serve as our parish’s new Rector, the call would be accepted and would result in an extended and successful Rector‐parish relationship for St. Paul’s Church.

  • Present finalist to the Vestry, with an organized packet of background information useful for the Vestry’s thoughtful and prayerful discernment. Include summary information regarding reasons for recommendation.

  • Understand that the duration of the search is subject to change pending identification and successful call of our new Rector; the Vestry hopes the Committee will complete its service by the end of May 2016

  • Work together to be a strong, effective team honoring the process of mutual assessment and discernment.

  • Serve and represent your parish and congregation. Whereas you are the hands and feet of the congregation in our parish’s search for a new Rector, the congregation is the body – commit to staying connected.




Decision Making

The norm for decision making for both the Search Committee and Vestry is by discussion and consensus. The Search Committee must be able to support whichever candidate the Vestry selects. The Vestry is also charged with consensus making. If there is not agreement when a call is made, the call may not be a good one. In both cases, the consensus need not be unanimous, but all members of both the Search Committee and the Vestry must agree to actively support the selected candidate and to not engage in post‐selection “second‐guessing.”



  • Establish and follow clear written guidelines regarding confidentiality, i.e., what information about the search process may and may not be shared outside the Committee. Include a process for electronic data sharing.

  • Subject to confidentiality requirements, communicate to the congregation on a regular basis regarding the Committee’s progress, using all available parish communication channels as appropriate and in coordination with parish communications staff.

  • Make this charge available to the congregation on the website.

  • Maintain consistent updates through the Committee chair to the Diocese regarding candidates’ status and process. All communication between the Committee chair and the Diocese will be treated as privileged.

  • On a monthly basis, report progress, status, and spending relative to budget to the Vestry through the Vestry liaison, who shall be a full member of the Search Committee. Notify the Vestry promptly of any problems encountered or situations in which the Vestry’s guidance or help is needed.

  • Maintain regular communications with the Senior Warden regarding Committee progress, issues and needs.

  • Ensure distribution of our Community/Parish Portfolio through Diocesan and national channels.

  • Ensure completion and online posting of the national Church Deployment Office Institution Search Request form, and ensure Vestry approval of such form.



The Search Committee will consider the mission and priority ministries of St. Paul’s Kent Church in the conduct of the search and the screening of candidates:



Learn God’s Word – Live God’s Love


Stemming from this sense of parish vocation, the Vestry has identified the following priority ministries as the vehicles by which the calling of St. Paul’s can be most clearly and faithfully expressed:


CHRISTIAN FORMATION – Effectively preparing young and old for Christian life in the church and the world.


PASTORAL CARE – Providing a sense of belonging in times of celebration and in times of crisis.


OUTREACH and CONGREGATIONAL DEVELOPMENT – Engaging our members with the needs of the local community, the world, and the environment as a Christian family. Excelling in welcoming, inviting, and connecting people to the life of the Gospel.


MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION – Leading and managing staff, volunteers and buildings and grounds effectively. Working collaboratively with the Vestry to lead St. Paul’s into the future.




Appendix A

Definitions and Compensation


Throughout this process we will be referring to the "position" of rector (as in "position description"). However, some clear distinctions are called for in the consciousness and attitudes of the search committee, vestry – indeed the whole parish. "Presbyterate" is an order of ministry. "Rectorate" is a position a presbyter may be called to fill. A presbyter is ordained (given authority and called to account for certain functions in ministry) under the authority of the whole church of God. A presbyter serves as an extension of the episcopate and is, accordingly, a member of the diocese (not parish). This is called "canonical residence." In other words, every presbyter is under some episcopal authority, usually a diocesan bishop. (Perhaps this gives credence to why the bishop must approve the presbyter you call.)


What this means, then, is that when you call a rector, that individual comes on board with certain accountabilities beyond the parish and even certain authority within the parish beyond that of the vestry. It also means that the salary and benefits must be seen in a new light. That "package" is not something you offer as an incentive for good work; incentive is already built into a healthy vocation. Think of the package rather as a living – a support system you must provide so that the cleric is reasonably free to pursue the vocation with personal dignity. If it is inadequate (relative to the norms of the church) it is demeaning and can thus become a dis-incentive. If it is right, even generous, it will provide the support, but won't function as an incentive. Clergy are quite aware of that distinction and usually avoid talking about "salary." The term "stipend" feels better to many. This also explains why many clergy are offended at performance reviews tied to salary adjustments. The two do not go together.


The point of this is that you are about the business of calling a presbyter to be your rector - not hiring one. If this distinction is not deeply appreciated you will find yourself insulting prospective nominees, for they will resent being treated as hirelings. They know the difference. Calling a rector is more like proposing marriage than hiring a CEO. The rector and parish then enter into a relationship wherein both parties are expected to do everything possible to make it work for the good of the overall ministry of the parish. Furthermore, the parish can't simply fire the rector if things aren't going well. Getting out of that relationship is much like a divorce; it's not easy and people are apt to get hurt. So here is another good reason for not rushing the calling process. Divorces are sometimes the best way out of a bad situation, but no one likes them. (CR Wilson, Search, 1985.)


* $40,000 includes process expenses, Committee and Candidate expenses, and Rector Relocation Expense.

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