Transition Priest in Charge (3 year term)

Bangor, ME
Type: Clergy
Posted Sep 4, 2020
Job Title
Transition Priest in Charge (3 year term)
Name of church or organization
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Job Location
Bangor, ME
Job Description

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bangor, Maine, is seeking a Priest-in-Charge for a three-year term following the planned departure of their Rector in October 2020.  The congregation hopes this will be a three quarter time position but is open to considering full time if necessary to make it possible for the right priest to accept the call.  During the final six months of the Priest-in-Charge’s call, the congregation will actively search for its next Rector. In order to enable the congregation and the Priest-in-Charge to do most effectively the work of the interim, the Priest-in-Charge will not be a candidate for Rector.

The Parish

St. John’s is one of the earliest churches in the Diocese, first organized in the 1830s soon after Maine became a state. The congregation’s first building was built of wood in the Gothic Revival style and was acclaimed as being especially true to Gothic design. The current building is a replica (though stone-clad) of the original, which burned in 1911. A look at the parish web site, stjohnsbangor.org, shows the classic beauty of the building, which would not look out of place in a small English city.

There are strong liturgical traditions at St. John’s, and the congregation takes care to foster a faithfulness and practice of worship that befits the spaces they inhabit. Sunday liturgy is formal though not especially “high-church.” Under non-COVID circumstances there is an early Rite 1 service, and a later, larger Rite 2 service with full choir and Christian Education and nursery programs; there are opportunities for fellowship or formation following both services. Open services of Morning and Evening Prayer are said every weekday, usually led by a member of the congregation, and a noon healing Eucharist is offered once a week. The choir is particularly important, both as a prominent aspect of worship and as a substantial part of the congregation’s support and membership. Periodic Choral Evensongs have been a special offering in the congregation’s shared life, and may be scheduled to coincide with major celebrations or commemorations. St. John’s also has a strong group of Eucharistic visitors who take turns visiting homebound parishioners after Sunday services.

While the COVID-19 crisis has altered the schedule and mode of worship, near-daily online Morning Prayer services (via Zoom and YouTube) and occasional outdoor Evening Prayer services continue with a dedicated core of clergy, parishioners, and volunteers. Even with their inherent limitations, these new forms of worship reveal insights and opportunities.

St John’s has several social service ministries. On the Second Saturday of the month it hosts lunch at no charge for anyone who needs physical or social sustenance, and is developing an on-site rummage resource center to supply the neighborhood with needed goods. The parish participates in and takes turns hosting an annual, interfaith Martin Luther King Day service. Members of the congregation serve monthly at the ecumenical soup kitchen, provide food to the area homeless shelter, and support the Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering. Parishioners also participate substantially in a broad range of community, educational, and non-profit organizations.

There is an energetic program of youth and adult Christian education, including junior and senior youth groups and currently a five-student confirmation class. Adult programs are offered throughout the year. Offerings might be a book group, a close study of Scripture, a topical study such as one on forgiveness, or a dive into a question of social justice such as a study of race and racism. Members of the parish have also led and participated in the Education for Ministry (EFM) program for the past 12 years.

The Work Ahead

St. John’s is seeking a Priest-in-Charge for an intentional period of discernment and redirection. The parish is facing a number of challenges:

  • The stone church has some structural challenges due to deferred maintenance. Our Building Working Group has been working hard this year to address exterior safety issues and plans to work on the next steps ahead (including an ongoing maintenance program to keep the beautiful facilities available for years to come). The autumn 2020 removal of the top of the tower and additional work will require that St. John’s enter into a capital campaign. St. John’s has been working with ECF for the past few years to prepare us for this campaign. Repairing, restoring, or removing the tower are all expensive undertakings, any of which will present a challenge to the parish’s finances.
  •  St. John’s has been struggling in recent years to support a full-time priest. At the same time, it has a high number of paid staff colleagues for a congregation of its size; volunteer service is an undergirding tradition at St. John’s but one that will need to grow. St. John’s also needs to examine whether the execution of its mission and the current arrangement of its staffing are right, and if not, how they might best be reshaped.
  • The music program has attracted charismatic leaders and loyal singers. The result has been enhanced worship for the congregation, deep memories for child choristers and a community of support among members. That program is in transition, as well; our priest will have to help us into a future that fulfills the promise of our past.
  • The congregation’s mission statement calls it to “make God’s love known now and for generations to come through worship and service to all.” This is a time for fresh thinking about what that might look like in the middle decades of the 21st century: what new things is it time to try? What old things is it time to say farewell to?The congregation wants to work with a priest skilled in interim ministry, to help them address these challenges before they seek and begin to work with their next Rector.

A complete position description, as well as the quantitative portions of the OTM, are available on the Diocese of Maine website (address below).

Type of commitment
Full time or Part time
Does this job pay?
Yes
Application Process
For full application instructions go to episcopalmaine.org/congregations/search. If you would like to discuss St. John’s, the City of Bangor, or ministry in Maine, you are warmly invited to contact the Rev. Canon Michael Ambler, Canon to the Ordinary, at mambler@episcopalmaine.org.
Link to the job posting or application
www.episcopalmaine.org/congregations/search
Website
stjohnsbangor.org