Monday, May 16, 2011

the cat's out of the bag

I am now free to share publicly that I will be leaving my parish at the end of this month. This is not a voluntary departure, but a financially forced farewell. There are nuances to how this all came about but the bottom line is this: the church is operating at a deficit, and prudence suggests that the biggest chunk of the budget be excised. That would be me, as the saying goes.

This parish has had an uphill fight to grow in size, spirit, and bank account since its previous leadership effectively shredded the ranks. A struggling economy and a membership dominated by retired folks didn't bode well for strong, increased financial support. In spite of numeric growth in membership, the financial reality is that it is costing the church more to have even a part-time priest than it can manage.

All of us are sad, some are highly upset, and no one knows what the future will hold.

Though this is not of my choosing I see this is an opportunity. I am working with an incredible career coach to assess and explore what direction to take next, and feel good about what is emerging from that effort. This is a frightening time, to be sure, but I am full of hope.

Now that I am able to "talk" about it and am free to refer to what is going on here on the blog it will be much easier to share this journey with you as it unfolds. Prayers, encouragement, affirmation, etc., are more than welcome. Stay tuned, as I fond of saying! 

photo from www.liberatingchoices.com

5 comments:

Mary Beth said...

Ah, Altar! you have worked so hard there. I know it has been a struggle and you and many others have put great and loving service in. You and the parish are in my prayers as the change approaches.

I know that great things await you and I'm so glad you are working with a coach. I'm a huge proponent of a listening ear in times of difficulty. If our life is a weaving, the strands often get so tangled. Sitting down with someone who can help us smooth, re-arrange, and re-assess the place of each piece is a gift.

You'll be in my daily prayers. XO

Jayne said...

I fear that more and more churches will be soon facing the same fate sadly. Church growth just continues to decline and decline... unless you go to a non-denominational mega-life-church that is... still bumfuzzles me. But, as Oprah says, that's another show. I know this will be such a time of growth and discovery for you my friend. Go get 'em!

Jules said...

Dear friend,
Having personally experienced the "door closing, another opening" cliche, I can vouch that it is true. Stay strong, do what the coach advises and watch for that brand new door to open wide.

The Bug said...

Sending you warm thoughts & hugs - I love what Mary Beth said about how sitting down with someone can help.

KimQuiltz said...

Talk about "door closing, another opening"! A month before I had a door slam shut in my face a parishioner actually gave me a painted sign that says, "When God closes one door, He opens another." When the woman gave it to me she said, "I bought this for you because I thought of you when I saw it."

It is still sitting on top of my TV, reminding me that I am not only very well loved (as you are!) but nothing lasts forever and change is good!

I'm crazy excited to see what new door you are going to step through!!

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