Dear Discerning Priest,
You have read the portfolio, looked at the pictures, and examined the statistics. You may have done a bit of checking around to get a sense of who we are. We haven’t met you yet, but we know you are out there, and we are ready to welcome you with open arms. And should you have family members, we look forward to welcoming them too. We are eager to appreciate your gifts and skills, and to join with you in the effort to make God’s dream of love and justice visible in the world.
We can say without reservation that we are a healthy parish. We achieved this state through high levels of parish participation, and talented leadership over the last twenty-plus years. We have been thoughtfully, mindfully, and thoroughly preparing for transition, and we feel ready for new leadership with fresh ideas.
As you will have seen throughout this portfolio, shared ministry is integral to life at Trinity. Many parishioners are active in multiple facets of parish life and work, and we are deeply committed to inclusive process and consensus. While we value and respect the spiritual and practical leadership that our Episcopal polity places in a rector, as a community we have “lived-experience” of parish leadership as a role of first among equals, and it feels good to us, it works for us. We are praying for a leader who can energize, inspire and make tough calls when necessary, but also one who can wholeheartedly embrace shared ministry as a way of life.
We hope for a person with empathy and spiritual depth, a person of mindfulness and commitment to pastoral presence in community. We pray for a meditative person who engages in regular spiritual practice in addition to Sunday worship, who is comfortable and interested in sharing the experience of the spiritual journey. We hope for one who, even if of a more introverted personality, will genuinely enjoy the social aspects of parish life.
We are eager for a rector who preaches with creativity and insight. We are grateful for our current tradition of a shared pulpit, and we regularly invite others to preach—members of the Santa Barbara interfaith community, as well as Episcopal priests who are also members of Trinity, and appropriate laypersons. We are grounded in high church liturgy and respect for the Book of Common Prayer, but we appreciate fresh ritual. We have spent many years growing to a place where inclusive language, fresh imagery, and challenging metaphors are embodied in our liturgy, and there is parish consensus that we do not want to move backward in that regard. We are theologically diverse, but trend strongly to progressive and inclusive visions of the divine and to an understanding of faith, and a good candidate for our community will also trend in that direction.
We are financially sound, although struggling with the universal need to do more with less that characterizes the current economy. We hope you have a good understanding of church finance and are ready to work with the parish on all aspects of our material life, from the challenge of maintaining our beautiful and historic buildings, to the financial management and stewardship necessary to support our ministry and plan for the future.
Trinity’s parishioners have a deep and wide reach into our surrounding community and into the larger world. People from the parish minister in numerous interfaith and secular endeavors, looking to build a more just, peaceful, and healthy society, and we seek a rector who is interested in doing the same. We look forward to being infused with your passion, and to collaborating with you to make your vision of God’s love and justice a reality in our community.
If you are the one called to join us, we look forward to a time of getting to know one another. As the new parish/rector relationship develops, we will be excited to see where this new partnership will take us. We look forward to a time of thoughtful dialog and shared vision. We are eager to receive your ideas, and to experience your response to ours.
May God bless you and guide you on your journey of discernment. We wait for you steadfastly and in peace.
Trinity Episcopal Church
Santa Barbara, California