I had a good but exhausting day yesterday.
Left home at 0 dark 30 to drive down to the land of Mr. Jefferson's academical village.
I met with a member of a search committee who is also a friend. Her church, a fascinating little multicultural place in the midst of a university town, will be posting their position announcement for a new vicar the day after Easter. They have been through a bad patch with a vicar who wasn't the right fit, and the aftermath of that experience has taken a couple of years to work through. My friend is convinced that I might have the right skill set to help this place move forward and grow again.
Then I spent several hours with an old friend who is the rector of a large church (ASA 511 over two services) about 20 minutes away from the downtown of the same university town. He is looking for an associate rector. His current one is leaving because her husband is going back to school elsewhere. The area is growing, the church is financially healthy, the parishioners are an interesting mix of old and new (and the old welcomed the new), and they have a beautiful new organ and a growing music program. I also went to lunch with the rector and his former senior warden, who is on the search committee. It was one of those job interviews that masquerade as "it's just lunch." I suspect this job would be mine if I wanted it.
Then there is St Middle School, which is still in play and is wonderful but complicated. I would be the easy choice for them. They know me, I know them, we'd remain in the general area where PH works so he could maintain his existing practice, but the cost of living is higher.
The choices look something like this:
1) a place where I would be boss, would work a zillion hours, be in an extraordinarily cool place with very interesting parishioners, would be a hero if I turned it around after it went through some very hard times, and if it worked out I could stay there for a decade, making it worthwhile for PH to start a new practice;
2) a place where I could learn how to be a priest by apprenticing with an experienced, generous and successful priest who is also a grown-up, work a 40-hour week, be a part of a team but not the boss, and would get itchy to leave in two years (which is a challenge for poor PH, for whom building a new practice takes a few years);
3) a place where I would be boss of a sub-unit of a resource-sized parish (vicar of the mission) part of the time plus assistant for outreach and mission the rest of the time, probably work less hours than # 1 but more than #2, have to live out in the 'burbs, a little further out than I would like, but not have to move PH from his practice, and might be a place to stay for several years if it continued to grow, but would involve working with a wonderful but challenging rector (visionary, not detail-oriented, doesn't always close the loop).
Adding to the mix is the fact that this diocese does not normally name transitional deacons to head churches, even as vicars, which would mean the Bishop doing something potentially precedent-setting by approving me for either #1 or #3. That said, I do have the skill set to do the job. Mostly.
Suffice to say, I have a lot to chew on. What say ye?