The bishop expressed his thanks to the cathedral for the many ways in which the cathedral community supports the wider mission of the Episcopal Church in Colorado—being, for example, an exemplary leader in its financial support of the diocese as well as raising up many leaders who have faithfully and effectively served the wider Church on both a diocesan, national, and international level. The bishop also expressed his gratitude for the Cathedral’s leadership in advocacy for the homeless in Denver through its participation in the Women’s Homelessness Initiative and its investment in the Saint Francis Apartments on Cathedral Square North. “The cathedral is a robust and gifted parish community,” the Bishop said, “with many opportunities before it to live more fully into its witness to the Denver community and the diocese.”
The bishop observed that a key marker of a healthy parish is the percentage of members who are engaged in “hands on” ministry to the poor, the marginalized and the dispossessed - a minimum of 25% of a congregation’s members being the threshold. He challenged us to consider how we, as a parish community, might take up that call more fully and creatively in our own neighborhood.
The bishop also spoke of a key strategic area of focus for The Episcopal Church in Colorado—“effective evangelism with youth and young adults”—noting that the diocese is “all in” with youth and young adults. He invited us to consider how the Cathedral might continue and deepen its partnership with the diocese in that regard.
Responding to questions about the challenges we face, the bishop expressed his concern about the Cathedral’s current deficit spending, the dangers of drawing too heavily on endowment, and the impact these issues might have on the search for a new dean. He invited the Profile Committee to be candid with potential candidates about the financial position of the Cathedral and stressed the importance of continuing to proactively address and resolve these issues during the interim (as the current clergy and vestry are doing) in order to more effectively position a new dean for successful transition into office.
With regard to the search process, the bishop encouraged us to “be real” in the parish profile as opposed to being overly invested in “self-image.” “In a place as beautiful, magnificent, and well endowed as Saint John’s,” he observed, “ego and pride can all too easily become a barrier to the life of humility and service to which we are called by Jesus.” About the Profile, the bishop said the document need not provide the answers to all issues or concerns. It should instead name and report our challenges and our desires for growth. The Profile is not intended to be a mission statement, he said. It is intended to be a description of who the congregation is at this point in time—our aspirations, our hopes and dreams, our “growing edges,” and the kind of care and leadership we believe we need to support us in the next season of our common life and ministry.
He stated that a good profile is in effect just a “snapshot” of the life of community at any given point in time, that the process of producing the profile is as important to the community as the candidates, and that in the end the profile is simply a vehicle to enter into deeper and more meaningful conversation among the cathedral community as we discern together God’s call for us and vision for Saint John’s Cathedral.
The bishop stated that he looked forward to continuing to taking and active part in our discernment process.
Going forward, a small group will continue to write and edit the Profile, looping in vestry, staff, and rank-in-file parishioners, until it is finally submitted to the vestry for approval.
Search Profile Update: December 8, 2015
Since first convening in September, the Dean Search Profile Committee has met, sometimes weekly, to lay out its goals and processes and to set deadlines. With nearly 20 members, broadly representative of the congregation, the committee at first believed it could draft a decent Profile after the October 17 Dream Together Conference. Why not, we wondered, adapt the Dream Together data on our “hopes and longings” into a draft document and be done with it? After meeting with the Art of Hosting facilitators, however, the committee concluded that further conversation, prayer, and thought were needed.
With group discernment taking place over two months of rolling Listening Sessions, we might best be able to say, with confidence, This is who we are, as Episcopalians and Christians. These are our strengths, these our challenges, and this the direction we believe we must journey. And finally, this is the kind of pastor, shepherd, and Cathedral dean we believe would best lead and guide us in becoming the people of God that God means us to be.
Working with the prodigious supply of comments left in the Dean Search Suggestion Box, from our Listening Gatherings, from thoughtful emails and conversations, we are seeing themes, or refrains, emerge. With these refrains, we are conducting a simple if-then exercise:
(If) we are a people who ....
(Then) what does this tell us about ourselves?
We can report so far that the people of Saint John’s say we love beauty: the beauty of our liturgy, our music, our neo-Gothic architecture and our stained-glass windows. The beauty drew us to Saint John’s in the first place, and it draws us today. We keep returning, we report, for the community and for the opportunities for spiritual formation, for children and grownups alike. We describe our community as welcoming, open, inclusive, diverse, and intellectually stimulating.
As a "Big Church,” Saint John's allows some parishioners to maintain what they say is “welcome anonymity” as they get their personal and spiritual bearings. For others, the “Big Church” means Saint John’s is a place for them to dive, or dip a toe, into the bustling life of this parish. Still others say that the “Big Churchness” of Saint John’s is intimidating—an impediment to belonging and connection—with no obvious entry places to deeper engagement through service or formation.
We can also report some consistency in the words parishioners are using to describe what we want in a new dean. A consistent message has been that both the new dean, and each of us, needs to be honest, transparent and authentic in our speech and behavior, after the example of Jesus Christ, whom we proclaim as our Lord and Savior. Words like ‘approachable’ and ‘humble.’ ‘Caring’ and ‘inclusive” were also cited with frequency. Parishioners have also said they want a dean who is ‘learned.’ We have also emphasized programs, saying we want our dean to “support children's programs” and to be ‘fiscally responsible.’
We shall have another update, soon, on our progress, There will be more on the Profile at the Annual Meeting on January 24, 2016. So please plan to attend and participate.
The Search Profile Committee
Update: November 1, 2015
Search Profile Listening Gatherings
With the conclusion of the Dream Together Conference, October 17, 2015, the Parish Profile Committee is now holding Listening Gatherings with the congregation to build on what we heard at the Dream Together gatherings.
The next round of Listening Gatherings will take place this Wednesday evening, November 11th, and on December 2nd and 9th at 7:00pm in Room 103. Additional gatherings will also be held on Sunday 11/29 and 12/6 after each of the Masses those days.
Update: October 27, 2015
Search Profile Committee Update
The Search process at Saint John’s is well underway, and the Parish Profile Committee is eager to share news of its work since we began meeting in September. We have been tasked with drafting suitable language for two important church documents, to be published by Saint John’s and the national church. These documents will constitute our first formal announcement of the opening for our tenth dean of the Cathedral. We hope to publish these two documents in March 2016. In the process we shall be sharing drafts of this language with the congregation for comments, insights, and contributions.
The Profile Committee has been told that its first and most important writing task is to complete the Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) questionnaire. The OTM questionnaire poses nearly a dozen questions, produced and overseen by the national church. Once the Profile Committee approves the draft answers, the OTM document is submitted to the Vestry for approval and forwarded to the Office of the Bishop for comment and eventual approval. The second document, also important, is called the Parish Profile. A profile is an honest description of a church community, from its worship and flavor of its congregational life to its major ministries, its core values, and its finances. Our profile will also be aspirational. What are our hopes for the Cathedral? What sort of person and pastor do we want to support us and lead us as our new Dean?
Once the Profile is published and the OTM questionnaire submitted to the national church, the Profile Committee will disband. This is when the work of the Interview Committee will commence, supported by the Integration and Hospitality groups.
We ask that you pray for us and for Saint John’s.
Our Work to Date
Identified by the Vestry over the summer, the Profile Committee members (see below) began in September to meet every Monday night. We have settled on the organization and design of the Profile. We have assigned writers and editors to the various sections. With the conclusion of the Dream Together Conference on October 17, we are beginning to schedule the necessary Listening Sessions. In groups of two or three, Profile Committee members will be visiting with affinity groups, committees, and other gatherings of parishioners in Listening Sessions to take place through January 2016.
We are also reviewing the stories from the 2014 Dream Together conference and combing through the data produced by the 2014 RenewalWorks survey.
We are also posing a series of four questions parishwide. (Question 1: “What does Saint John’s mean to you?”) Please look for a new question each week over the next month. These questions are printed in the service bulletins and published online in the weekly Cathedral Voice e-newsletter. Submit your answers online, or in writing in the Welcome Center.
Our earnest hope is to engage the wisdom of all who would speak with us, believing that by the grace of God through Jesus Christ the Cathedral community will produce a Profile that provides an authentic glimpse of this community we love.
If you have any questions about the Search Profile Committee or our process feel free to contact any of our members.
To learn about the committee's membership please visit the Dean Search Committee listing for more details.
From the Senior Warden, Larry Kueter
Update: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
With summer quickly coming to a close, kids returning to school, and cooler weather right around the corner, I took a moment this week to reflect on this time of transition and change at Saint John’s. Since January we have been living in the space of the unknown; a space where we can reflect on the past, be present in the transition, and look to the future with joyous anticipation.
We have accomplished a great deal already, celebrating Peter and Kate’s ministries among us, and the ministries awaiting them in Florida. We welcomed our interim dean, Father Patrick Malloy, into our family. We began the process of finding a new Dean by forming four search committees comprised of more than 60 congregants. They have been charged with the key tasks of transition in this process. I was deeply thankful for the generous response of those asked to serve. Everyone we asked accepted the call.
Later this month, we’ll convene all the Search Committee members for an orientation. Each committee will then take up its work separately. For the Search Profile Committee, this means getting to work immediately on what’s called a “Parish Profile.” Once completed, the profile will be posted online—a first formal step in announcing to the larger community of Anglican clergy that Saint John’s Cathedral is searching for its tenth dean.
So over the coming months, the Profile Committee will be holding listening sessions with small groups using the conversation tools we have learned through the Art of Hosting. Look for announcements about the dates for these sessions.
Finally, as our discernment process continues, I urge us all to remember Father Patrick’s words from his sermon on July 19th:
“In this interim time between Deans, we will not get very far if we go in search of the pastor or set out to prepare for the pastor [or] the shepherd who will rescue us perhaps from ourselves or from our past or from whatever we think we need to be saved from. Because that shepherd we already have in the Lord Jesus … And so the question above all questions we need to be asking ourselves in the months ahead – these months of transition, these months toward a new Dean – is ‘Where is Jesus leading us?’”
This question therefore lies at the heart of our search: “Where is Jesus leading us?” As we listen, carefully and prayerfully, for the answers, I believe we shall see that God is working, through and among us, to call a new shepherd to lead us and to serve among us.
Update: Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Talent and dedication are two qualities not lacking in Saint John’s parishioners. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the extensive list of people who either volunteered or were nominated to serve on a search committee.
Over the past two months, the Vestry has spent time in discernment regarding the staffing of each of the four committees being formed, and has identified a group of 60 people to help us during our time of transition.
Last week, I extended invitations to eight members of our community to serve as co-chairs of these committees. I am pleased to report that all eight accepted these invitations. The co-chairs for the four search committees are as follows:
Search Profile Committee: Susan Chenier and Mary Ellen Williams
Search Interview Committee: Diane Barrett and Jay Swope
Search Hospitality Committee: Brad Case and Sandy Mazarakis
Search Integration Committee: Carolyn Daniels and Tom Stoever
The co-chairs are in the process of contacting each of their committee members to invite them to serve. We expect that this process will be completed within the next week or two at which time we will announce the full membership of each committee in an upcoming Voice
On July 12, all co-chairs and committee members will be commissioned and blessed at the 10:00 am service. Father Patrick is developing a liturgy for this occasion which will officially kick off the great work of this group.
Over the next six months, the Search Profile Committee will be collecting information and compiling it into the Cathedral Profile. The profile plays a key role in the search process as it is the document which helps clergy candidates discern whether they are called to serve at Saint John’s Cathedral. Our goal is to present the Cathedral Profile to the congregation at the Annual Meeting in January.
Beginning in late Summer and continuing through the Fall, the Search Profile Committee will be hosting conversations to give parishioners an opportunity to tell their Saint John’s story. These conversations also will be listening sessions where space will be created where longings for the future of our faith community can be expressed. Dates for these conversations will be announced soon.
If you have any questions about the formation of the committees or the process of selecting a new Dean, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We share in your excitement for our journey together.
Update: Tuesday, June 9, 2015
On May 31, with the installation of Father Patrick Malloy as Interim Dean at the 10:00 am service, the Saint John’s Cathedral community is seeing the first visible evidence of the transition plan and the search for a new Dean. We are both lucky and delighted that Saint John’s and Father Patrick found each other so quickly. It is already clear that he will play an important role for us as we move from the Leave-Taking stage of the transition to the Self-Assessment stage. Journey through the Transition >
The next visible evidence of our transition plan will come, soon, with announcements about the co-chairs and members for the four committees being formed by the Vestry—Hospitality, Parish Profile, Interview, and Integration.
Having prepared and approved a list of parishioners for these committees, the Vestry is now confirming members’ willingness to serve in the recommended capacities. Inclusion in the committees will be announced once this process is complete. Committee members who are available will be blessed and commissioned at a Sunday service, or services, to be announced.
Thank you to all of you who expressed a willingness to serve on these committees. Many more parishioners volunteered to serve on the four committees than were needed to do the work—a reassuring measure of the energy and desire we have at Saint John’s to be of assistance. But all of us, together, can support the work of transition by praying for the committee members.
In addition, everyone can take part in our transition process by helping the Parish Profile group carry out its charge to create a complete and authentic profile of Saint John’s. We want to be able to describe both our strengths as a community of faith and areas where we might grow, together.
Update: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
By now, I am sure that most of you saw the announcement that Bishop O’Neill has appointed Father Patrick Malloy as Interim Dean for the Cathedral for the time that it takes us to discern, call, and install a new Dean for Saint John’s Cathedral. We are excited to have him join our community of faith. We are also pleased that it did not take very long for the Cathedral and Father Patrick to find each other. Joining us soon will speed his integration into our community and allow him to be a partner with us and our clergy in carrying out the mission of Saint John’s Cathedral.
Father Patrick will be introduced at all of the services at the Cathedral on Sunday, May 31, and will be installed as Interim Dean at the 10:00 am service on that day.
I know you will all join me in making Father Patrick feel at home and a member of the Saint John’s family.
Update: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
We have entered a time of focused discernment regarding our process and search for a new Dean.
● Times are being scheduled for collective conversation and reflection about those values that are important to us and that we would want reflected in a new Dean. The first of these conversations was held on Sunday, April 26. View the powerpoint presentation here >
● Committees are being formed for the search process. The search and transition process will include i) Self Assessment, ii) Search, iii) Calling, and iv) Start-up for the new Dean's first 12 to 18 months.
● A clear timeline and steps for the process will be approved by the Vestry and shared with the congregation.
● A process of frequent and regular updates here online and in the Voice eNewsletter will keep the Saint John's community informed about the progress of the search process.
A few things are already underway:
● The Vestry has met with Bishop O'Neill several times for guidance about the process, and a subcommittee of the Vestry has met with a representative of the Bishop to develop a draft of a task list and outline of the search process.
● The Vestry has concluded that the Cathedral should conduct a full search for a new Dean.
● The discussions with the Bishop make it clear that this full search process cannot be done properly in less than 12 to 18 months.
The path we are beginning here is much more than a search for a new employee to lead our congregation. It is a spiritual journey that we will all take together and a decision that will help form Saint John's community of faith for years to come.
We share in your excitement for our journey together as we select a new Dean.