All Angels’ Church seeks a Priest-in-Charge (with potential to be Rector) ordained in the Anglican Communion
WHO WE ARE
- We are an Episcopal church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where those in pricey apartments and those without housing worship under the same roof. We have morning and evening Sunday services open to all; the latter particularly draws from Community Ministries, our program serving 700+ people a year who experience housing insecurity.
- Our roots in Seneca Village, a settlement founded in 1825 by free Black Americans, established our multiracial identity. We desire to grow in our diversity, understanding, and equity.
- Our congregation draws from the neighborhood, all five boroughs, and nearby states. The transience of NYC naturally means we have some involved briefly and others for decades, with a loyal diaspora of former members.
- Our strengths lie in the rich, multi-generational community reflected in our house churches, a spirit of meaningful volunteerism, an elevation of the arts, a playful sense of fun, and a culture that treats children and youth as full participants in worship and ministry.
- Our stewardship is geared toward the whole person. We seek to steward well our tangible resources, which include our parish building, a 3-bedroom rectory, and a healthy endowment.
- Our current reality is that we are a church with deep challenges and hurts. We have been compelled to face our brokenness as individuals and a community. We desire healing. We are doing the hard work that entails, and we long for a priest equipped to guide us in this journey.
WHAT WE’VE EXPERIENCED & LEARNED ABOUT OURSELVES
- Clergy transitions: In late 2016, the rector of 17 years was removed under Title IV proceedings. In fall 2020, the rector installed 15 months earlier after a full search process resigned at the Vestry’s request, having deemed him unfit to lead us by unanimous vote. There is a strong need for senior clergy that can engage with the congregation in ways that are personal, pastoral, and visionary.
- Staff transitions: Leadership changes have influenced staff transitions at both the director and administrative level, with both negative and positive impacts ranging from loss of trusted relationships and program continuity to improved organizational practices.
- As we have taken a hard look at ourselves in the context of these transitions, we have understood our church culture more deeply. We perceive that a veil of spiritual narcissism has cloaked the church. We have prided ourselves on being a uniquely diverse and transparent community, but we are less so than we have chosen to believe.
- We have varying views on how diversity is represented in both congregation and clergy. We have a lack of cohesion on diversity and equity, and our range of populations struggles to intermingle and demonstrate deep fellowship as much as we profess.
- We have long excelled at conflict avoidance. We don’t often or easily discuss difficult issues in thoroughly transparent and healthy ways, including human sexuality, racism, wealth disparity, and leadership dysfunction.
- The pandemic has contributed to loneliness and lack of unity that impact our outreach. Our interim clergy have served faithfully without meeting much of the congregation in person, and our community often feels fragmented. In particular, our Community Ministries participants and our 5 PM service have experienced detachment due to lack of technology access for online worship and our curtailed in-person offerings (shelter, meals, fellowship). Our engagement with the global Church has gone dormant during our years of transition.
WHERE WE WANT TO GO
All Angels’ remains a body that is committed to Christ, each other, and the greater good of the city to which we are called. Over the past year, we have identified key themes that are important to much of the congregation. We believe that there is great potential for coalescing around these themes.
- Racial diversity and inclusion within the congregation and leadership: All Angels’ has a diverse past in both membership and leadership. This diversity has fallen off to some extent, and there is a fairly broad longing for deeper diversity and equity. There is also a healthy realization of the efforts and costs involved in this pursuit.
- A healthy, joyful church with more stability: Our painful leadership transitions have left scars for many, and there is an emerging consensus that many of our systems and structures were not healthy over a much longer period. There is a broad consensus that getting healthier in our leadership, our relationships, our communication, and our lay participation in ministry is a primary goal over the next five years.
- The ability to dialogue about difficult issues: We celebrate our rich diversity of perspectives. At the same time, there is a growing recognition that broad acceptance of differing views was often achieved through an unwillingness to engage in important conversations. We desire to have those conversations, marked by transparency, psychological safety, genuine dialogue, and grace.
- Biblical teaching and prayer: There is a desire for these hallmarks of the church to continue. The All Angels’ community generally chafes against formulaic reductions of the Gospel and values thoughtful and grace-filled complexity.
- Reconnection and unity as a diverse community post-pandemic: Theological, racial, socioeconomic, gender, and age diversity has made church a richer experience for congregants, and we look forward to being a welcoming community with deeper relationships as we begin to gather again.
- Development of lay leadership: All Angels’ is known for its “deep bench,” with underutilized talent across a broad range of vocations. Connecting members to a life of service inside and outside the church is a deeply held hope for the future.
WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR
- A humble servant whose bearings are solidly grounded in the humility of Christ and the teachings of the Gospel;
- A facilitator and agent of communal repentance, restoration, reconciliation, and a seeker of truth rather than a commander-in-chief;
- A leader comfortable with a diversity of backgrounds and opinions, able to communicate transparently and directly in order to confront difficult topics that we as a church have avoided;
- A shepherd who understands, values, and cares deeply about the underprivileged in our community, is adept at crossing socioeconomic and ethnic boundaries, and can desegregate and build a single (vs. separate) congregation that transcends barriers;
- A cultivator of each person’s spiritual gifts who can equip lay leadership and empower people to serve the church;
- A community-builder who can lead us together into deep and fruitful relationship with God and share our joyful sense of fun;
- A communicator who can thoughtfully grapple with biblical teaching in the context of complex modern spiritual and societal challenges and engage scripture with people of diverse perspectives.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until November 15. If you are interested in applying, please send cover letter, resume, current Office of Transition Ministry (OTM) Portfolio, and links to three sermons to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to Canon Nora Smith, Canon for Transition Ministry, at email@example.com.