top of page

Our Priest Search

In order to thrive, our next priest will need these top five skills.

1 / Preaching

Keep an eye on all the parts of the church simultaneously, keeping them moving in sync with each other and our mission

2 / Strategic Leadership

Bring out the best in the lay leadership already in place.

3 / Pastoral Care

Be a calming presence, lower the temperature and not get defensive.

4 / Teaching & Training

Be supportive and flexible, sensitive to our needs.

5 / Change Management

Accept us and lead us into change.

The Search Committee presented the findings from the CAT (Congregational Assessment Tool) and the Cottage Meetings to the congregation on Sunday, January 28, 2024.
The Parish Profile, OTM (Office of Transition Management) materials, and other search materials are near completion and will be ready for posting of the position in early March.

The latest on our priest search

We now know our top priorities for additional energy/focus and the Vestry is already working on them.


Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.


Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.


Work to renew and revitalize the community around the church by building coali=ons with partners that share this vision and commitment.


Provide more opportunities for Christian education and spiritual formation at every age and stage of life.


Expand outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society.

What We Learned From the Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT) Online Survey & Cottage Meetings

While the Fall 2023 online survey and Cottage Meetings were primarily aimed at providing information to be used during the selection of our next priest, a wealth of other information was revealed in the results. About 85% of the people who usually come on Sundays took the survey, and almost as many came to the Cottage Meetings, which means the results really do reflect our congregation. With what we learned, we can do many things to strengthen our church right now, before our new priest gets here!

One of the biggest surprises from the survey was learning how resistant we are to change, all the while saying we need and want to change to attract new members, particularly new families. The CAT revealed that only about 50% of us felt we welcomed adaptations in worship, or that we adapted to meet changing needs of our members. Only about 35% agree that our members welcome changes in worship, and almost 90% say that our church tends to stay very close to established ways of doing things. Combining all these, we score lower than 95% of churches in overall flexibility. Yet 100% of us say that some, moderate, or substantial change will be required to realize their vision for the church. Over the coming months we will be working with our Priest-in-Partnership to explore how embracing change can bring us closer to God’s plans for us.

A few other insights:

  • We scored very high in hospitality, with one exception – we don’t know what to say to personally welcome guests in worship services! Surely we can fix this!

  • We scored pretty well in conflict management – an area we have worked hard on this past year. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

The Cottage Meetings revealed much the same things as the online survey. People are enthusiastic and glad the search process has finally started. We believe our greatest strength is our PEOPLE, closely followed by music, outreach, and our many varied activities. The Cottage Meetings asked what people would like to see implemented right away and here are some of the responses: more varied worship (Taize, Centering Prayer); more internal identification of who is working on what/let each group/commitee do their own announcements; reinstate Drop and Porch ministries & Divorce Recovery Group; get our buildings used by more outside groups; open Sacred Ground to the public; and get noticed in the community by doing press releases to the Woodford Sun and wearing St. John’s identification/t-shirts when doing community work.

bottom of page