In the Interim

What's an "INTERIM"? It's both the period of time between two "settled" priests or rectors, usually lasting about one year; and it's the informal title of a priest who serves a congregation during that time, with a focus on helping the congregation's transition from one rector to the next. Susan was trained by the Interim Ministry Network for this particular kind of ministry.

Greetings! I'm Susan, your Interim Rector.

In late July, I gladly accepted the call of St. Paul's Vestry to serve as your Interim Rector for the coming year (approximately) starting August 1, 2020. If things were "normal" we'd have enjoyed a couple of pot-luck events by now, and begun sharing stories about St. Paul's past, present and future.

Well, obviously, things aren't normal in the world or in the church... COVID precautions including social distancing, wearing masks, and allowing no more than 10 people in the sanctuary (or any indoor space) at the same time. So, fellowship events will have to wait; and we will get to know each other over "Zoom" or in very small groups! So be it.

Thinking back to the earliest centuries of the Christian faith, the followers of Jesus have gone many trials and tribulations -- including, refraining from public gatherings. Safety precautions meant avoiding Romans troops and hungry lions, rather than microscopic viruses. Nevertheless, people's faith was strengthened by knowing that the Holy Spirit was still present with them; and that one day, the future would be better.

That's how I'm starting to think about this pandemic. "They could do it, so can we." I have to believe that someday, life will feel more normal; and we can break bread together, hug during the passing of peace, sing joyfully out loud, and all the other actions that usually define Christian worship and fellowship. However, that might take a while -- probably not until we've all been vaccinated for the Coronavirus.

Important projects of the Interim year will move forward anyway. One of the first things is to assemble a Transition Team comprising six or seven parishioners, who will help me and the Vestry with Interim-specific tasks. They will be announced here and elsewhere.

Also on this page will be my articles from the newsletter, and helpful links to the processes and where they came from (no, I'm not making this up! I was trained by the Interim Ministry Network for this particular kind of congregational care and development).

However we manage it, I'm looking forward to getting to know you in the coming weeks. God bless and keep you safe!



Search updates

Collect for the Parish Holy and everliving God, by your power we are created and by your love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen this parish family by the gift of your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to your service with love and compassion. Grant us all things necessary for our common life in these difficult times; and bring us all to be of one heart and mind in the mission of your Church; we pray through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

What's Next?

January 21, 2021

With the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, a new era has begun in our country -- and the world. What about right here at St. Paul's?

The Transition + Search process is gathering information from YOU, all the people of St. Paul's, to answer the question, "Who is God calling us to be now?" Answering this multi-faceted, missional question requires the participation of everyone who wants a stake in the parish's future. Isn't that you? Or, do you want to sit on the sidelines and watch, ignore, or complain while others provide their vision for St. Paul's and your next Priest?

Don't do that! Jesus is calling: softly, tenderly, and urgently, for your discipleship. He invited them saying "Come and see!" and "Follow me, and I'll show you how." So say your Wardens, who have been coaxing everyone to participate in Holy Conversations this month. There are many who have answered that call; and many who haven't yet. The process is waiting for a minimum of 80% participation.

Once the "soft data" of opinions, hopes, and stories have been collected in the Conversations, we will take the next step: an 86-question survey to provide quantifiable, chart-able data. Demographics and priorities, worship preferences and stewardship participation, ratings of what has been great, what is going well, and what has not met your expectations. This data will also help our Profile committee, and will be fed into the national and regional Clergy search/deployment engines. The online survey (called a Congregational Assessment Tool or CAT) costs about $500 and it will be purchased from our Rector Search budget; but it's only worth as much as the level of participation.

If the Wardens and I are starting to sound like broken-record-players (wait, what are record players?) it's because far fewer than 80% of our members have signed up for a Holy Conversation, and we're concerned. The process won't move forward until we've got a better picture of who is ready to join in the future of St. Paul's. If you're already on board, THANK YOU and please encourage others. When Jesus said "Follow me," he kept on moving forward. Don't let him get so far ahead that we lose sight of his way, his truth, his life for us.

Porchside Pastoral Visits

As COVID-concerns limit the ways you and I can interact, especially indoors, staying outdoors remains a safer option. Would you like a "Porchside Chat"? Or backyard, driveway, etc... As long as the weather is autumnal, and you can stand to be outdoors, I'm game.

Leave a message at the church, 810-229-2821, and I'll call you back to make a date. I can even bring Communion, since we blessed and reserved wafers on Sunday; and there's a bishop-approved procedure for safely offering the sacrament at homes. I'd really enjoy meeting you, so give me a call. Have folding chair, will travel!

Peace and blessings,



Greetings! That's me on the right, posing with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry while we both attended the "AMEN Conference" on Mackinac Island last October.

I’m delighted to have been called by your Vestry as Interim Rector for the coming year or so. With all the changes that have been thrown at St. Paul’s, with the COVID pandemic striking immediately after our new Bishop’s arrival and Fr. Deon’s departure, things have been pretty topsy-turvy. My role is, first, to help the parish settle into a manageable pattern and provide pastoral care in the coming months. And that feels comfortable, at least to me and hopefully to you, too, since we’ve been meeting on Sundays for worship. We will continue to gather at 9:30 a.m, outdoors when the weather is nice or via Zoom when it’s not; and I’ll be looking for ways to incorporate your talents and ideas.

As we settle into weekly patterns of worship, groups and maybe some classes on Zoom (still working out logistics), my next tasks will involve the transition from Fr. Deon as Rector toward ?? as your Priest-in-Charge. I’ll be working with you all on five “focus points” (described below) over the course of the Interim.

To assist with these diverse projects, the Vestry and I will be putting together a Transition Team. In the near future, you will see our “recruitment poster” (St. Paul’s Wants You!) for persons who would like to be considered.

Here are the Five Focus Points for our Interim year. They will be referenced frequently by me, the Vestry, and the Transition Team as we move forward together. Each member of St. Paul’s will have multiple opportunities to be involved.

Heritage: How St. Paul’s has been shaped and formed by the past? We will be looking at the congregation’s history, core values, and missional strengths; and asking you for “family stories” as we create a timeline.

Leadership: What are your gifts for ministry, and are they being put into action? Using some online tools as well as one-to-one conversations, I’ll invite the Vestry (first) and later EVERY member of St. Paul’s to explore and develop their gifts.

Mission: Let’s clarify what St. Paul’s feels called and able to do in the Brighton area and beyond. We will work to discover who you are as a congregation of baptized ministers without Fr. Deon at the helm. This will also assist the Search Committee’s work on the Profile, since your next priest will want to learn about your organic identity as St. Paul’s Church in Brighton.

Connections: Not only do you have a bunch of individual gifts, you’ve got myriad connections to your community through work, volunteering, schools, family members and more. We’ll look at the tangible and intangible assets that support your current ministries, and can open doors for new ones.

Future: As we’ve discovered the above, a picture will develop of possibilities for the future. What can you imagine might be next for St. Paul’s? What might you want to test out, even before a new priest arrives? We will dream together!