A time of changes
Bishop Provence met with some of the parish today to discuss Fr. McGrath's departure, and he and the Senior Warden described the process of looking for a new rector and what has been done thus far.
This will be an interesting time because, as Bishop Provence noted, our new Rector will build (1 Cor. 3:10) on what has already been built here by Frs. Leen, Hoare and McGrath, and he will be evaluated at least in part for how he will shape the parish (or attempt -- I don't think we're an unruly bunch of Anglicans, but I sometimes think that to our Rectors it's sometimes a little like herding cats or tuning bagpipes). We have to consider our goals as a parish: beyond Growth, which every parish wants, is it Education? Evangelism? Community outreach? More services? or what? Each of us will have to consider.
Other points in the discussion were also interesting. Bishop Provence noted our province's growth: when Fr. McGrath came to us the nearest parish was in Redding CA but now there are three in Oregon, as noted in this blog in Less Alone.
Also the high degree of cooperation between the ACC, APCK, and UECNA (noted in the blog) came up, because Fr. McGrath will serve as Navy chaplain under an ACC bishop -- the three provinces seem to be developing a working model for continuing Anglican cooperation and communion. This is a joy to hear, and I pray it continues.
Also a joy is the devotion of our clergy. Bishop Provence noted the two priests serving one of our new missions -- I don't know exactly long the drive is, but I am guessing it's 7 hours each way! Then again, many years ago Fr. Leen once served a mission in Spokane, a similar distance, one Sunday a month.
Fr. McGrath's coming departure is a time of sadness for many of us in the parish, to be followed by the difficult, anxious time of finding and calling a new Rector. But if we aren't challenged in new ways we won't grow in those ways. The result will be, I think: we choose our goals, call a Rector hopefully proficient in those directions, and then stubbornly resist being reshaped (all the while being reshaped anyway).
In our parish and in the Continuing Anglican world, it will be a time of changes.