As Summer draws to a close, and our new program year begins, I would like to update you on some staffing changes that I have initiated and our Vestry has approved. I have now been serving St. Paul’s for about a year and a half. During that time, I have been thinking and praying with the Vestry about how best to use our staff resources to support our parish goals:
1.) Enhancing our spirituality and responsibility to combat the world’s growing secularism
2.) Working toward meeting the needs of our community
3.) Connecting with other faith organizations in our area
4.) Achieving environmental sustainability by enhancing awareness and reducing our carbon footprint
This summer, each staff member conducted a full self-review of their position, and a performance review with me (with input from other parish leaders). This is the first time staff have received reviews at St. Paul’s in more than a decade. Through this exercise, each staff member set goals for their work over the next year - for professional development, addressing performance issues, and growing their ministries. We also adjusted job descriptions. This kind of work is not just a management task. It is also deeply spiritual work, listening to the call from God for our parish, and discerning how we can best align the gifts we have been given to respond to that call.
I also did similar work with our Vestry, and set goals for my own work over the next year. Those goals for myself are to:
1.) Support Commission System and continue to empower lay leadership
2.) Focus on development of lively worship and preaching
3.) Continue to develop effectiveness of function and performance of staff team to further mission of the parish
4.) Oversee the development of documented and transparent administrative policies, procedures and financial controls
5.) Continued involvement in pastoral care and stewardship
6.) Working with others to develop one major external faith-based partnership this year
7.) Find more ways to be involved in teaching and spiritual formation
8.) Take days off each week
To help us accomplish these goals, we are making a number of changes to the St. Paul's staff organization and responsibilities.
I am excited to announce that we are being joined by two interns this academic year who will support the development of our Children and Youth programming. Each will serve at St. Paul’s 10 hours a week, and will receive a small stipend for this work. Cristina Adams comes to us as a Field Education student from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She will be serving as our Student Minister for Children and Youth, and will be working to support our Children’s programming and our relationship with the St. Paul’s Episcopal Nursery School. Her work will include teaching on Sundays, and offering Godly Play on a weekday for parish and Nursery School children. Frankie Kavilir, a local college student who grew up attending St. Paul’s, will be joining us as our Youth Ministry Intern, supporting our Confirmation Classes and Youth programs. I am thrilled that they bring their faith and energy to St. Paul’s, and we can be an extension of their learning.
Our Vestry has asked me to form a Search Committee and begin the process of hiring a third priest to our ordained leadership team here at St. Paul’s in the summer of 2019. This person would join in the sacramental and pastoral leadership of the parish, with a clear focus on pastoral care and spiritual formation. We believe that it is time for us to add staff to continue to harvest the energy, growth and vitality we are experiencing at this moment in our life together. We are inviting you to help enable this vision during this fall’s stewardship campaign and as we shape the job description in the weeks to come.
I am excited to announce that the Vestry has approved the reinstatement of St. Paul’s Chorale Scholars Program funded by the Friends of Music. The Friends of Music Committee (Jamie Van Nostrand, Preston Shimer, Alice Lee, Doug Starr, Katy Williams, Christin Cooper) will oversee this program, an outreach to musically talented college students. It will give a professional development opportunity to two young musicians whose career may involve sacred music performance through a stipend position in the St. Paul’s Chancel Choir. This is a one-year trial of this program, which will be evaluated next spring by the Friends of Music Committee and Vestry.
This program year, the Rev. Garrett Yates will assume increased leadership in our Confirmation programs. Some of these transitions in our eighth-grade class will be outlined in the September edition of the Messenger. The 7th grade Confirmation class will also be taught by Garrett and Frankie Kavalir. Garrett also will be offering several 4-5 week Spiritual Direction programs during the coming year, and developing a leadership team who can lead us in the next steps in our environmental sustainability work after the completion of our solar panel project later this year.
Paul Barker, along with his new duties as Manager of Operations of Old Saint Luke’s, will continue to work to strengthen our youth ministry through incorporating faith-formation into our programs. Our Youth and Confirmation programs also have set a goal of at least two youth retreats or overnights a year for each age group. Paul is also assuming responsibility for convening lay-leaders to develop an Adult Mission Trip starting sometime in the next year. We have found that these intensive experiences help to build deep relationships which are part of a strong faith formation program.
Erin Morey will continue her work supporting our adult spiritual formation programs, including our new spiritual initiatives with Centering Prayer and Ignatian Spirituality. Kristen Morgan is overseeing our introduction of Godly Play into our Children’s ministry, which I hope will eventually support children of all ages in our parish.
Christin Cooper, Doug Starr and Erin Morey are working on several music related community outreach projects, collaborating with other faith communities. Last week, in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese, we launched our first “Beer and Hymns.” It is our hope that these events will continue, sponsored by other churches in the area. We are also co-sponsoring an event this October, Voices in Unity: A Festival of Song, a project with a block party vibe, with Temple Emanuel and Bower Hill Presbyterian Church. And on November 18, St. Paul’s is hosting a concert highlighting a diverse group of performers, as part of the Mt. Lebanon Unity and diversity work that began with the community effort to address bias since the Mt. Lebanon Unity Rally in 2016. All of these initiatives are part of our work to serve the needs of our community.
Last, in order to support our community and program life, we are making shifts in our administrative support staff. At his request, Bill Higgins is moving to a Monday through Friday schedule and Don Duncan can no longer work on Sundays. As a result, we are looking to hire a Sexton to work each Sunday. A job description has been developed and the position is being advertised. Please let me, Bill or Jr. Warden, Geoff Hurd know if you know anyone who might be interested in this position. We also will be adding a position of Parish Administrator who will take on a higher level of Administrative Support to the parish. We hope that this position will continue our effort to develop transparency and professionalism in our administrative work. It is also our hope that this will allow me to better use my gifts supporting the spiritual and pastoral life of the parish, which is where my heart is. To this effect, Dorothy Conway has concluded her work at St. Paul’s as Parish Secretary. I thank her for her years of dedicated service to St. Paul’s, and wish her well in the future. During the next few weeks as we transition this position, all office function is being covered by other staff, volunteers and myself. All Parish Office related email is being forwarded to [email protected]. Please use it for all office-related correspondence. I hope to have completed this transition by mid-to-late September.
As always, I love to hear from you with questions or responses you may to any of this. Please continue to pray for the work of our Vestry, the parish staff, and all of our leaders as we continue in our Holy work together in this community.
The Reverend Noah H. Evans