Tuesday, August 11, 2009


As you know, there are two places for which I am shortlisted. Things have gone silent with both of them. I am attributing that to other kinds of busyness to attend to, the mid-August blahs or some such thing. I will hear something from each of them at some point, if for no reason than to tell me they've decided to go in a different direction. "Going in a different direction" is the new euphemism for "we're giving the position to someone else." I don't think they will both go off the rails, but only God knows.

In the meantime, I've gotten a request for a written response to a series of questions from another church in search, one that has intrigued me for a long time. So over the next couple of days I will try to write answers that are
a) deeply spiritual
b) intellectually stimulating
c) witty and charming.

Or not. In any case, I hope at the very least my answers will be honest.

In other news, tomorrow is my birthday so I am taking a Sabbath day and using the spa gift card that my children and grandchildren gave me for an ordination present. Then PH will take me out to dinner at a new restaurant in town. I'm planning on wearing something elastic.

On Thursday I will go for a meeting with my Bishop, a friendly chat asking if I can do Deacon's Masses at Saint Middle School, talking about my job situation, suggesting he might want to rethink the job placement process for graduating seminarians...should be interesting.


Rev Dr Mom said...

So do you have specific suggestions for the job process?

My bishop finally decided (after I was ordained and had a job) that as desirable as it might be to have everyone be an assistant first, he really couldn't require it anymore. And he now ordains candidates to the transitional diaconate in the middle of senior year so that they can be priested sooner.

I really hope things work out for you soon!

mibi52 said...

Well, for starters, both things that you mentioned! Also, to be frank, there is virtually no pressure on rectors to at least interview all the newly graduated seminarians from the diocese. Part of this is the strong leaning toward a congregational polity in this southern diocese, where we have been historically rather low church. We're no longer as low as a snake's belly (as the saying used to go) but some of that low church flavor remains in the independence of certain rectors, in the addressing of clergy as Mr. or Ms. rather than the Rev...you get the picture. One way this manifests itself is not letting anyone know when they've got an assistant's opening, so they can fill it via the old boys network. Another way is refusing to interview DioVA folks who are not their picture of what their assistant should be (male and 25 years old), but readily interviewing candidates from other dioceses who have graduated from Big Old Seminary and want to stay in the area, who fit their vision of the ideal candidate.

Frankly, the rectors who operate completely off the radar of the diocese can't be forced to participate in the system, they have to be coaxed. So if we don't have the money to fund a curacy program like the Diocese of Texas does, we should provide some smaller but attractive incentive for taking DioVA people before they take folks from other dioceses. There are no positive incentives nor are there negative consequences for refusing to even look at DioVA graduates, and it has been happening with greater frequency in the past couple of years.

As for me, something will happen at some point - I'm grateful I'm working as an interim and getting great experience, and I'm even more grateful that I've got a working spouse and only one kid left in college. Thanks for the hopeful words!

Rev Dr Mom said...

I hear you. DioMass is VERY similar. The diomass folks get interviewed but they don't always get called (but that's how I ended up here so....)

I think all assistant jobs should go through the deployment office just like rector positions do. That would avoid a lot of misunderstandings down the road in addition to increasing their visibility.

And what if provinces worked together to help place newly ordained folks?

mibi52 said...

What a concept!

Caminante said...

Of course, just how many assistant positions are even out there? Most of the positions for rector/priest in partnership are part-time. There now is only one congregation in the Dio VT that has an assistant. (I have been ordained 16 years and never have had a full-time position in the church.)

Good luck.

mibi52 said...

Caminante, in this neck of the woods most of the rectorships/vicarates are full-time, and there are a number of both full and part-time assistant assistant/associate positions, although not as many in this economic climate as in past years. I realize, though, that in many parts of the country that's not true, and that's a shame.

Most assistant jobs around here are targeted for youth ministry, and those of us who are second-career clergy don't even get a chance to interview for those openings, because there is often a presumption that such jobs can only be effectively filled by younger clergy. I do wish that the church could do a better job of helping search committees think outside the box on that one.

Am I grateful I've got a job, even though it's part-time and interim? You betcha! I love my work and I love my peeps...but I am also well aware that it will end in a few months. Do I wish the deployment process, at least fresh out of seminary, was less about who you know and more about who's the best fit? I do hope and pray so!

Thanks for the comment, and thanks for the good wishes...for all of us, and for the church!