This is a short message from the Wardens - our last before this Sunday's annual meeting. You'll find some important information that we want to share with everyone.
For those of you who are newer to Grace, all recent Annual Meetings have been convivial and - we are bold to say - kind of fun experiences for both newcomers and oldtimers. This year we plan the same - a luncheon, a chance to sit with either new friends or old, and an important time to hear about the work of the parish and elect fellow parishioners to roles that will serve Grace in 2013. There'll be childcare from nursery age through fifth grade, too.
We'll meet immediately after church in the Large Hall. Please try to come. It'll be a good experience.
If you're relatively new to the parish you may not realize that our priest, Margaret Schwarzer, is in her second year of a three year interim contract. We've been so blessed to have Margaret in the pulpit and as a pastoral presence at Grace. What about this "interim" business? The 2012 vestry supported a motion asking that the Diocese allow us to consider keeping Margaret with us past her interim time, exploring more permanent choices. Your wardens met with Bishop Shaw and he is considering our request.
As soon as we know the Bishop's response, we will share it with the whole parish. We expect to hear within a relatively few weeks.
However, we want to make something clear about the process we are following. No decisions about clergy leadership will happen behind closed doors. After we hear from the Bishop, whatever we hear, the entire parish will have opportunities to voice our thoughts, feelings, and dreams for what we want in a parish minister. We will meet in 2013 in various forums to explore this question. We have Margaret until at least summer 2014, so Grace is being intentionally deliberate about the process. As a community of faith, we know that nothing about our future is a given except that God cares for us, God has certainly blessed this church, and we seek to be faithful to God's will in everything as we can best discern it. That's a stronger certainty than anything this world can offer. Everyone at Grace will be part of the process. You'll hear more in the weeks after Annual Meeting.
Many of you know that our organist, Linda Clark, will be retiring in February after many years of inspired and faithful service. A group commissioned by the vestry has been seeking both an interim and a longer-term organist. We're happy to report that the search committee recommended, and vestry has approved, Jeffrey Mills as our interim organist. Jeffrey knows Grace and served with us in 2002, before Linda arrived. He'll be a faithful and enthusiastic presence in our music ministry.
Last (for now), your wardens want to thank all of you. God has blessed us all with good times and given us comfort in hard times in 2012. We've rejoiced to meet new people. We grieve and are still grieving over those who have gone. But Jennifer and David just can't thank all of you enough for being the community of love and care that is Grace Church.
Jennifer Reed and David Barbrow