Discernment Updates

September 18, 2016

Dear Friends,

 

What an amazing journey we have been on together over the past year.  We have been honored and privileged to do this work of discernment with you and on your behalf.  We are delighted that God has brought John and Rachel Gardner to CHT, and we look forward with excitement to the future.

 

There are many thanks that need to be said:  to the members of the discernment committee for their diligence and dedication to our many tasks; to the vestry for its support of our work; to Mark Smith and Peter Kountz for their leadership and care for our ministries during this time of transition; and to all of you for your prayers and trust and patience during this process. Most of all, we give thanks to God for all of His abundant blessings which we have experienced again and again during this process.

 

Please continue to pray for all of us and for the Gardners as we begin, together, the next phase of CHT’s ministry on Rittenhouse Square.

 

Ashley Del Bianco and Ben Leiby

September 9, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of the Church of the Holy Trinity,

 

After 18 months of intensive self-study, searching, and discernment, we are very pleased to announce that The Rev. John Gardner and The Rev. Rachel Wenner Gardner have accepted the call to CHT as co-Rectors.

thegardnersJohn and Rachel were ordained priests in 2002. John was a Priest Associate at Christ Church in Whitefish Bay, WI and Rachel was a Priest Associate at Trinity Church in Wauwatosa, WI until 2006. John and Rachel have worked together as co-Rectors since 2006, first at Trinity Church, Rocky Mount, VA from 2006 until 2012 and then at the Church of the Ascension and Holy Trinity, Pueblo, CO from 2012 until 2016.

The Gardners have 3 children: Boyden, age 9 and twins Connor and Quinn, age 5.

John and Rachel expressed a great appreciation for our current programs at CHT, including our healing ministry, our music programs and our outreach ministries. They are also aware of our challenges and both are eager and enthusiastic to apply their experience and skills to take CHT into the future.

The Vestry and Discernment Committee, in turn, have been inspired by the Gardners’ shared skills in preaching and pastoral care, experience in collaborative leadership, and commitment to spiritual growth and discipleship for all.

Please extend a warm welcome to John, Rachel and their family. Their first Service at CHT will be Sunday September 25th.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

The Vestry

The Discernment Committee

June 21, 2016

Dear Friends,

As of June 19th, we will have completed field visits to 6 candidates, and by the time you read this, we will have identified 3 finalists who will visit with the committee and vestry in Philadelphia in the next few weeks.  As a reminder, we are happy to discuss details about our process, but we cannot provide any information about candidates.

Continue to pray for our committee and for those who are considering whether God is calling them to join us in ministry.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)

Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

May 23, 2016

Dear Friends,

We are moving into the final stages of our discernment process.  We completed phone interviews with 11 candidates in May and will be making field visits to about 5 candidates this month.  When these are completed, we will identify 3 finalists who will visit with the committee and vestry in Philadelphia this summer.  We have been encouraged by the quality of the candidates with whom we are in conversation, and we are excited about where God is leading us.

Please continue to pray for our committee and for those who are considering whether God is calling them to join us in ministry.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)

Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

April 19, 2016

Dear Friends,

The pace of our work has quickened, and we are entering an exciting time of our discernment process.  As we reported last month, we had over thirty applications and nominations.  The Bishop’s office reviewed all nominations, and Jill Mathis, Canon for Transition, presented a list of twenty names cleared for our consideration on April 3.  We are now performing our own evaluation of these candidates’ materials and conducting phone interviews.  We will narrow the list of candidates over this month and hope to visit 4-5 candidates by June 1.

Please continue to pray for us and for those who are considering whether God is calling them to join us in ministry.

 

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)

Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

March 31, 2016

Dear Friends,

The committee is meeting weekly as we prepare for interviewing candidates in the near future.  Our deadline for receiving names has passed, and we received over 30 applications.  After initial Diocesan review, we will begin phone interviews later this month.

Please continue to pray for us and for those who are considering whether God is calling them to join us in ministry.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)

Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

February 5, 2016

Dear Members and Friends of CHT,

We have reached an important milestone in CHT’s search process. Through the fine efforts of committee members and staff, and with input from many members through our parish conversations, the parish profile is complete and available for viewing at: http://htrit.org/parish-profile/

The Discernment Committee is now preparing to receive the names of clergy who might be suitable candidates to join us as Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity. We will be receiving names from many sources and will especially welcome suggestions from fellow parishioners. Please send a confidential letter by March 14 to one of the Discernment Committee co-chairs (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com; benjamin.leiby@verizon.net). Give us the full name and contact information of anyone you wish to suggest. Please also tell us whether that priest knows you have submitted his/her name. The Committee will take it from there.

It will be several weeks before we are in touch with any clergy directly. Please understand that all our contacts with possible candidates must be confidential. We will make reports from time to time, but no member of the Discernment Committee is free to name names. Please rest assured that we will keep you abreast of our progress through articles in CH@T, announcements at Sunday worship services and updates on this page of our website.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

The Discernment Committee

Ashley DelBianco, co-chair
Benjamin Leiby, co-chair
Amy Arcaro
Esha Bhatia
Jack Downes
Sally Griffith
Simson Hui
Thomas Lipscomb
Soozung Rankin
Nancy Rasmussen
Sarah Spell
Ed Weston
Toneh Williams

 

January 27, 2016

We have reached a significant milestone in our discernment process with the completion of our Parish Profile and Ministry Portfolio. Both documents were approved by the Vestry in January, and the profile will appear on the website very soon. We will now receive names for consideration through March 14.

Many thanks to those who attended the Family Conversation on January 17. There was an honest conversation which yielded important themes that will inform our work in the future. We are committed to continuing the healing process and anticipate a liturgical event sometime during Lent. More details will follow.

We thank you for your prayers for wisdom and strength as we continue our work.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

December 16, 2015

Dear Friends,
We are in the final stages of completing our parish profile. Drafts are available for your review in the church office, or you may request an electronic copy by contacting rectorsearch@htrit.org. The profile will be finalized by mid-January and posted on the website. At that time, we will begin receiving names for consideration.

As a follow-up to the parish workshop in September, we have scheduled two opportunities for family conversations in mid-January. Please see the notice on page XX.

We thank you for your prayers for wisdom and strength as we continue our work.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

November 23, 2015

Dear Friends,

We are nearing the completion of our parish profile. The committee met in mid-November to review a first draft and is now in the process of revising the document. Drafts will be available for your review and comments in early December. Our goal is to have a final profile ready for posting on our website in early January.

A full list of committee members and other information and updates on our progress can be found at http://htrit.org/about-us/discernment-updates/.

We thank you for your continued prayers for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family during this time of transition.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

November 4, 2015

The Discernment committee seeks your help in answering the following questions as we complete our Parish Ministry Profile.

1. Describe a moment in your worshiping community’s recent ministry which you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.

2. What is your worshiping community’s experience of conflict? And how have you addressed it?

3. What is your experience in leading/addressing change in the church? When has it gone well? When has it gone poorly? And what did you learn?

Join members of the committee for a discussion of questions 2 and 3 after both services on Sunday, November 8.

You can also send your thoughts to the committee at rectorsearch@htrit.org

October 27, 2015

Dear Friends,

We continue to work on developing our parish profile. We plan to have a draft ready for your consideration by the end of this month.

Members of the committee will be seeking your input on a few questions in brief sessions after services during the month of November. We will also be posting these questions in the weekly e-news and in the leaflets, so you will be able to submit responses even if you can’t be at church those weeks or are unable to stay for the discussion.

A full list of committee members and other information and updates on our progress can be found at http://htrit.org/about-us/discernment-updates/. Please continue to pray for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family during this time of transition.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

September 23, 2015

Dear Friends,

Thank you to all who attended the discernment workshop on September 20, and a special thanks to the many people who helped with planning, set-up, and tear-down. It was a great success! We had about 50 people in attendance and came to remarkable consensus on the current state of our parish, where we hope to go in the next three to five years, and what qualities we seek in our next rector. The search committee will be using this information as we continue to develop our parish profile. We hope to have a draft ready for your consideration later this fall.

We are happy to announce that Sally Griffith has joined the committee. A full list of committee members and other information and updates on our progress can be found at http://htrit.org/about-us/discernment-updates/

Please continue to pray for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family during this time of transition.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

August 18, 2015

The Search for CHT’s Next Rector
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q: Who is on the Rector Search Committee?
A: Dick Ullman, Coach, ullmanshome@gmail.com

Ashley DelBianco, Co-Chair, ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com
Ben Leiby, Co-Chair, benjamin.leiby@verizon.net

Jack Downs, downes@chop.edu
Amy Arcaro, amygarcaro@gmail.com
Esha Bhatia, BHATIA@email.chop.edu
Simson Hui, simson_hui@yahoo.com
Thomas Lipscomb, thomas.lipscomb@phila.gov
Soozung Rankin, soozungsarankin@comcast.net
Nancy Rasmussen, nrasmussen@verizon.net
Sarah Spell, thejoyofsarah@gmail.com
Ed Weston, iraweston@gmail.com
Toneh Williams, tonehwilliams11@gmail.com

Q: May I contact a Rector Search Committee member?
A: Absolutely. We are here to listen, hear and serve. Your search committee members touch and reach all corners of the demographics of our church family. Better yet, you are always invited to attend all listening/workshop sessions. Watch for details in the notices at worship, weekly e-news blasts, and monthly newsletters. Please mark your calendar for Sunday, September 20, 2015, immediately following the 11 am worship service for an in depth workshop. Lunch is provided and childcare available. ALL are invited. To assist with planning, please sign up in church or reserve your spot with the church office (office@htrit.org). This is an opportunity to share all ideas and help us take the next important steps. Please register for the event by clicking HERE.

Q: If I have an idea or comment to share about the process or next Rector, may I send in a letter or email?
A: Definitely. Please feel free to do so. Your comments will help the community. Please, also, consider attending conversation sessions and workshops. Every voice matters. Watch for information in your worship leaflets, weekly e-news blasts, and monthly CH@T newsletters. A survey will also be sent to the church family this fall and we hope to get a good response.

Q: How much transparency will there be with the Rector Search?
A: Transparency is very important to the Rector Search Committee, the Vestry, the staff, the parish, the worshipping community, and the diocese. While there is transparency with the entire process, the members of the Rector Search Committee cannot discuss names or any details of individual candidates.

Q: When will the next rector arrive?
A: The Episcopal Church recommends a process that is unlike what you may be familiar with from other denominations or what you may experience in your own work place. God is at our table, and we want to be open to God being present at all meetings and a part of all conversations. We pray our new rector will begin work with us by the fall of 2016.

Q: Fall 2016! Why is it taking so long?
A: Part of the process as an Episcopalian is to embrace a discernment period. This means that each step involves many questions and deep soul searching as individuals and as a corporate body. The Rector Search Committee is divided into four sub-committees to work on various parts of this process. These topics help us see who we really are in all its colors – with our previous rector, without a rector, in this space and time in between rectors, with an interim rector, etc. The four sub-committees are: membership audit, data/demographics, history of CHT, parish profile.

Some have felt it is helpful to see this discernment period as similar to our liturgical practice, much like experiencing Lent or Advent – a waiting and preparing period. In addition, because of our liturgical calendar, clergy typically move in January or during the summer. As we are only beginning the self-study process, a late summer 2016 arrival is more likely.

Q: What is the average length of time other parishes engage in a discernment period and meet as a search committee?
A: The average discernment process takes 18 months. If we are able to stick to our timeline, we should have a new priest approximately 15 months after Alan’s departure.

Q: Why did CHT hire an outside consultant?
A: It is helpful to get a perspective from someone who is familiar with the process but not as close to the particular practices and challenges of our congregation. An outside consultant who has successfully helped a myriad of other parishes going through a similar process can provide insight and perspective that is useful and help to keep us on schedule. The Rev. Richard Ullman, who lives locally in Center City, has consulted with parishes like ours all over the country. You will have a chance to meet him at the workshop on September 20.

Q: How many times has the Rector Search Committee met?
A: Since the retirement of our previous Rector, the Search Committee has met twice. The sub-committees have met or will be meeting at least once by early-September. Aside from meetings, the Rector Search Committee stays in touch via frequent emails. We will be meeting more frequently after Labor Day.

Q: Is the Diocese of Pennsylvania involved?
A: Yes. We are in close contact with leaders of the Diocese. Support and resources are available to parishes undergoing Rector Searches and the Bishop must approve the candidate that we recommend to the vestry.

Q: When was the last time CHT went through a Rector Search?
A: CHT last searched for a rector from 2003-2004.

Q: When will the Search Committee begin interviewing possible Rector candidates?
A: It is the Search Committee’s hope to begin meeting candidates in early 2016.

Q: If I know of someone who may be a good candidate for CHT, what should I do?
A: By late fall 2015, a CHT Profile will be available for all. It will be posted on the CHT website and an alert will go out nationally via the usual means of communication through all dioceses. There is a central database for churches who are looking for clergy and clergy who are discerning a call to relocate. All Episcopal clergy have access to the information and postings. You may also simply send the CHT Profile to a possible candidate if you feel inclined.

“They called the church together and related all that God had done with them.”
(Acts 14:27, NRSV)

 

July 23, 2015

LOOK INWARD, LOOK FORWARD
Sunday, September 20, 2015
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Lunch & Childcare Provided

The search committee continues to work on developing our parish profile. We are gathering data on our financial status, our facilities, our history, our mission, our ministries and outreach programs, and our demographics. We invite you to a preview of our findings on Sunday, August 23, at 9:45 a.m. in the Parish House.

We now need your help and ideas, and we ask you to meet with us for a guided discussion on Sunday, September 20. We encourage all members to attend the 11:00 a.m. service that day. Immediately following the 11:00 a.m. worship service, we will gather in the Centennial Room for lunch and an extended workshop to clarify the direction of our parish and the skills and disciplines needed by our next rector. The Reverend Richard Ullman will guide us through an afternoon of discovery of who we are as a community within the Body of Christ (Looking Inward) and where we believe God is calling us to move in mission and ministry (Looking Forward).

We strongly urge every member of the parish to attend this workshop. Your personal input, your suggestions, your thoughts and ideas will be heard, compiled and presented as the core of our parish profile, and the Search Committee will use this input in discerning our next rector.

It will be a lengthy meeting. It will also be a meeting for building a future together as part of the body of Christ. We pray that God’s will for us will become known and His direction for us will be made clear. Please come and share your thoughts, your heart, and your faith on Sunday, September 20. Sign up in the back of the church or by contacting the church office (office@htrit.org; 215-567-1267).

We look forward to a meaningful and uplifting gathering.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

June 19, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,

We continue to work on developing our parish profile. This involves several components including an audit of parish membership, gathering historical information, and listening to the stories, concerns, and hopes of the parish. We are working to schedule a date for a parish workshop in early fall which will be announced this month.

We are happy to announce that Toneh Williams will be joining the committee, replacing Emily Casey. Please continue to pray for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

May 22, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,

We are pleased to announce that the Vestry approved our engagement of the Rev. Richard Ullman as the consultant who will be guiding us through the search process. You will have the opportunity to meet Dick over the next months. He is a highly experienced consultant who has worked with numerous parishes within our diocese and beyond.

We continue to work on gathering information for our parish profile and will soon be announcing dates for your participation in this process. Please continue to pray for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

April 27, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,

The search committee met for the first time on April 21. We reviewed the general outline of our process and foundational concepts for our work. Two of the most important of these principles are transparency and confidentiality. We pledge to be as open as possible over the next months about our process. In addition to monthly updates, we are always available to answer any questions you might have about our work. Although we are not yet at the stage of receiving applications, please understand that we cannot discuss names of candidates or information about them outside of the committee.

We will now be working on the development of our parish profile. A sub-group of the search committee is being assembled to gather information on our history, current status, and surrounding environment. We will be seeking your participation in this effort in various ways over the coming months. More details will be coming soon.

Please continue to pray for the work of the committee and for the entire CHT parish family.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)

 

 

March 16, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,

This is the first of monthly updates on our progress in discerning God’s choice for the next rector of CHT. Since Alan’s announcement of his retirement, we have been working to set out a structure for our process and organizing a committee of parishioners that represents the diversity of our congregation. On February 26 we met with the Vestry and Jill Mathis, Canon for Transition Ministry in the Diocese of Pennsylvania, and she provided further guidance on the discernment process in our diocese. Our work will be completed in three stages. The first involves assessment of who we are as a church, our hopes and plans for the future, and the qualities we seek in our next rector. Building on the recent work of the strategic planning committee, we will be seeking your input in the development of a parish profile (more on this in future months). We will then move into the search phase where the profile will be published and we will receive names and applications. Finally, we will define a limited pool of candidates and eventually recommend top choices to the Vestry who will make the final selection of the next rector.

The following members of CHT have committed to participating in one or more phases of the discernment process:

Amy Arcaro
Esha Bhatia
Emily Casey (liaison to the vestry)
Jack Downes
Simson Hui
Thomas Lipscomb
Soozung Rankin
Nancy Rasmussen
Sarah Spell
Ed Weston

We will be having an organizational meeting within the next few weeks, and we will then begin our work in earnest. We ask for your continued prayers for strength, wisdom, and perseverance as we begin on this exciting journey.

Ashley DelBianco (ashleysdelbianco@gmail.com)
Ben Leiby (benjamin.leiby@verizon.net)