Welcome, Fr. Stephen!
We are pleased to announce that the Reverend Stephen Christopher Holton has been called by the Vestry, recommended to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, and approved by Bishop Ian Douglas to serve as the thirteenth Rector of Christ Church, New Haven. Serving as Associate Rector of Grace Church, New York City since 2012, Fr. Stephen will return to Christ Church, New Haven, where he served between 2009 and 2012 as a seminarian intern, as chaplain and director of St. Hilda's House, and as Curate. Fr. Stephen will celebrate his first Masses as Rector on Sunday, June 26.
A Prayer for the Calling of a Rector
Almighty God, giver of every perfect gift: Look graciously on your whole Church and this parish of Christ Church, and so guide us during this time of discernment and call that we may grow in commitment to one another and to the cause of your Christ, and may choose a faithful pastor to join us in our ministries, in our congregation, our community, and those we serve, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Update: The Christ Church Parish Profile, October 1st, 2015
Click here to read the approved parish profile.
Transition Update from the Senior Warden
Take the Parish Survey: Click HERE
17 March 2015
As we move toward the conclusion of the first stages of our transition, there is one contribution that every one of us can make toward helping the Discernment Committee complete its long and arduous work. It will cost you nothing but less than one hour of your time. That is to fill out the committee’s questionnaire, which will be a strategic instrument for creating our parish profile. Instructions for the questionnaire are included in the current issue of the Christ Church Chronicle. You may respond to the questions online by clicking HERE or by mail.
Once the questionnaires are studied by the committee and the parish profile is completed, it will be sent to Bishop Ian Douglas. After he has approved the document, the fourth and final committee of our transition process, the Recruitment Committee, will seek applicants for consideration as our rector. In a process similar to that followed in forming the Discernment Committee, the vestry will make a list of nominees, who will then be asked to accept their nominations. The difference in that process this time will be for the vestry to be more intentional in soliciting informative nominations. Thus everyone is invited to consider putting forth your own or someone else’s name for nomination, emailing it to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. Imperative here is that the application be accompanied by a brief description of why you believe you or your peer nominee would be an effective member of the Recruitment Committee. We need to move apace so that the vestry may have the completed list from which to select nominations at its May 19th meeting. I will then ask individually those nominated to agree to serve, and the committee will be ready to begin its work by June 1.
Here is the description of the Recruitment Committee from our diocesan guidelines:
In general, here are some desirable characteristics for all team members, regardless of which team they desire to serve:
Communicant in good standing (attends services regularly, giver
of record, serves in parish life with time and talent, etc.)
Good organizational skills (essential for Team Leaders)
Works for the good of the whole and not in a partisan manner
No hidden agendas
Can maintain confidentiality (an absolute for the Recruitment Team members)
Comfortable with assessment, data gathering (Discernment
Willing to commit time required to attend meetings and to
For Recruitment Committee: to prevent conflict of interest, team members are not related to each other (spouses, parent/child, etc.)
For Discernment & Recruitment Committees: at least one and not more than two team members are members of the Vestry and serve as liaison to the Vestry (if a Vestry member completes his/her service during the Transition Process, the Vestry may appoint the person to continue to serve as a team member an liaise with the Vestry in an ex officio capacity throughout the transition)
For Discernment & Recruitment Committees: to prevent conflict of interest, staff, their spouses/partners and family may not participate
Design a protocol for vetting the slate of candidates
Develop interview questions and protocols
Serve as resource and guide throughout the recruitment period
Must be a voting member of the congregation (16 years or older, Communicant in good standing, etc.)
Able to keep “the broad picture” in mind
Can set aside personal agenda
Skilled in interviewing
Process-oriented and goal-focused
Meanwhile, the parish officers have been considering candidates to succeed Fr. Joe as Interim Rector. In a few weeks we will propose our choice to the diocese and with the bishop’s approval present the candidate to the Vestry, the same process we followed in calling Fr. Joe. I am hoping that the transition to the second interim will be seamless and that the appointment will begin June 1. Please plan to attend a festive coffee hour after the Solemn High Mass on May 24th to bid Fr. Britton farewell as he leaves us to become rector of St. Michael and All Angels in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Thanks be to God for Fr. Joe’s very able and caring leadership at Christ Church during the past year!
Update: The Christ Church Annual Report, February 3rd, 2015
The Annual Meeting of the parish was Sunday, January 25. Click here to read the parish report distributed at that meeting.
Update from the Discernment Committee: December 2nd, 2014
The Discernment Committee has been meeting weekly since October with our consultant from the Episcopal Church of Connecticut, Bob Osborne. Through prayer and thoughtful discussion, we have been working to develop a vision of what Christ Church is and what we hope the church can become under the leadership of a new rector. We have met with Fr. Britton, and taken a walk-through of the church campus and grounds, in addition to an upcoming meeting with the Finance Committee. Through these meetings, we are hoping to develop a complete picture of Christ Church’s current state of affairs – both our parish’s strengths and its weaknesses. Now, though, we need your help – and we want to hear from you!
Please mark your calendars for focus group discussions in the new year on three Sundays:
January 11(after the 9.00 service)
January 18 (after the 8.00 and 11.00 services)
February 1 (after the 9.00 and 11.00 services)
Sign-up sheets will be posted at the back of the church during the next few weeks, and we hope that everyone will sign up for a focus group discussion. These groups are informal gatherings (hopefully over light refreshments!) during which everyone will have a chance to share their thoughts on what we should look for in a new rector.
If you are unable to attend any of these meetings, we still want to hear from you! Please email Angharad Rebholz (email@example.com) if you can’t make it, so that we can make alternate arrangements. Additionally, please do feel free to contact any or all of us at any time if you wish to further express your thoughts on this process.
As we begin the Advent season – a time of anticipation and preparation – please consider and pray on what Christ Church means to you. Check back on this page for more updates, and please continue to keep the work of our committee in your prayers. Thank you.
Note on the Discernment Committee (Nov. 12)
The Discernment Committee is pleased to announce that John Kohanski and Maggie Powell have agreed to serve as Co-Chairs; Barry McMurtrey as Chaplain; and David Rood as Secretary The committee is at work preparing a series of focus groups to which members of the parish will be invited.
Letter from the Parish Warden (Sep. 25)
Last Saturday, the Vestry met in retreat to begin the envisioning process for the search for our next rector. After joining together for Morning Prayer and Mass in the chapel, we sat in the lounge of the Parish Hall with our consultant, Bob Osborne. Bob led the Vestry in a series of activities and discussions over the next several hours designed to help us think about our history and identity as a parish and to think also about our gifts, our mission, our needs and our desires. While not necessarily the way any of us would have chosen to spend a Saturday afternoon, it was, in fact, very productive and energizing.
Besides the sheer pleasure of spending time in the company of such warm, thoughtful, funny people as the Vestry members, I found the stories and insights that were shared that day to be profound and moving. We talked about our experiences at Christ Church, and specific times when the parish, the clergy, or the building itself played an instrumental role in our lives. We also talked candidly about things that had been challenges for the parish in the past and what we had learned from this. All of the responses that the Vestry members shared to specific questions were collected and will be used by the discernment committee to inform its work. Any stories, experiences, or perspectives that any members of the congregation may wish to share would also be welcomed by the committees.
We then spent a very long time working on the makeup of the various committees that will carry out the necessary tasks in the search for our new rector. This was a process that involved a great deal of thought, prayer, discussion, and decision. In the end, I believe we came up with teams that are well-balanced and rich in talent. The candidates for these committees are in the process of being contacted and, when that is complete, the committee members will be announced to the parish. I wish to thank in advance those committee members for the essential service they will offer to Christ Church during the search process.
When the day was over, I came away with two powerful realizations; one personal and one general. The first was how important it is to me to spend one hour a week away from the material-realistic world which I inhabit, having all five senses immersed in the rich, beautiful and holy liturgy of Christ Church, where I can experience in both a physical and mental way the real presence of the Divine. And I am very humbled by and grateful for that. The second was of the enormous abundance of talent, passion, love, intellect and ability we possess in our congregation. And that realization makes me so very hopeful about this search process underway and the exciting future our parish is reaching toward. In the words of Jacob at Bethel: "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
RECTOR SEARCH UPDATE (Sep. 17th)
The Revd David Cobb left Christ Church after a very successful tenure as rector in February, 2014 to accept a call as rector of the Church of the Ascension in Chicago. The parish celebrated his 12 years of service with a Solemn Evensong and Benediction on February 9.
Upon his departure, the wardens and vestry began a search for an interim rector. The Revd Joseph Britton accepted their invitation to serve in this capacity, and began on April 6, 2014. Fr. Britton had previously served as dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and also has extensive parish experience in congregations in the environs of New York City, Boston, San Francisco, and Paris (where he served as Canon Missioner).
In June, the vestry met with Tim Hodapp, Canon for Mission Leadership of the Diocese of Connecticut, and Bob Osborne, the diocesan transition consultant for Christ Church. They outlined the steps of the transition process, and prepared the vestry to appoint four committees for the purpose: Discernment, Recruitment, Prayer, and Hospitality.
The vestry retreat for appointing these committees was set for September 20, led by Bob Osborne. Once the committees are appointed and the nominees have accepted, they will begin their work, especially focused on discerning the parish’s future direction and mission.
Further details regarding the search process will be posted on this page as they become available. Thank you for your interest, and please hold the parish and its leadership in your prayers during this exciting period of transition, looking toward what Fr. Britton has described as “the future that now lies open before us.”
For more information on the transition process, the Diocese of Connecticut's Guide for Parishes in Transition can be found here.