Office of the Bishop
Dear People of St. Peter’s:
It is with great joy and anticipation that I join with your vestry in announcing this next step in the life and leadership of St. Peter’s, as you call the Reverend Jacob Pierce to be your Priest-in-Charge for the next two years.
This model is a new one in the Diocese of North Carolina and came out of a great deal of prayer, conversation, mutual discernment, and grace. Jacob will serve as Priest-In-Charge with all the authority and responsibility of a rector, as you discern together whether he may be called to become the next rector of St. Peter’s. This approach was agreed upon for a number of reasons which include: pastoral sensitivity to the particular history of St. Peter’s around transition; a desire to continue the momentum for your strategic plan; Jacob’s own capable leadership during Ollie’s sabbatical; and the recognition that the church of the 21st century may need to explore new and different models based on a specific parish context.
The details of this model and Jacob’s role have been worked out in concert with your wardens and vestry leadership and are shared in their letter. Most important to remember is that while this period is one of transition and discernment, it is also a time to move forward in your mission with boldness and confidence. The 18 month mark of the Priest-in-Charge model will begin a more intentional and intense time of discernment, during which both St. Peter’s and Jacob will prayerfully share their respective understandings of what God is calling you to at the end of the two year period. If vestry and priest-in-charge are in agreement that Jacob is called to be your Rector, the call would move forward and he would be formally installed in a Celebration of New Ministry early in the third year. If either party, or both, do not discern a call, then the parish would move into an interim period. Jacob would be eligible to serve as interim while a new rector is called.
As this is a new model, there will be questions about how this plays out, and certain details may need to be adjusted along the way, but we have great hope for this approach and great excitement about what this will mean for you as you move forward together in your life and mission. My staff and I will continue to work closely with your vestry, and I look forward to this partnership, the ways it will serve all of you at St. Peter’s, and what we may learn together that will serve as a gift to the wider church.
Blessings and grace,
The Right Reverend Samuel S. Rodman
Diocese of North Carolina