August 15, 2018
Dear People of St. Peter’s:
With great joy and excitement, your Vestry announces that the Reverend Jacob E. Pierce has accepted our unanimous call as Priest-in-Charge to lead us through this time of transition and discernment, and into the bold future we all envision for St. Peter’s.
Since the May announcement that we would be seeking a new rector, the Vestry has been deeply engaged in an enriching and enlightening process of prayerful discernment that has led us to this moment. From the beginning of our deliberations, we were able to consider a wide range of transition models with the full encouragement and support of the Right Reverend Samuel S. Rodman and his staff. As we did so, several facts resonated with us, and some clear considerations emerged.
First, St. Peter’s is a healthy, dynamic parish with strong lay leaders, wonderful and committed staff and superb clergy in place. We want to push forward with our strategic visioning process, our ambitious outreach and social justice agenda, our powerful liturgy, our inspirational music programs and our strong formation opportunities without losing momentum.
Second, Fr. Jacob provided capable and inspiring leadership last year during Fr. Ollie’s three-month sabbatical, and his work as St. Peter’s Associate Rector for the past 18 months has been stellar. The more we discussed the kind of spiritual leader we hoped to attract to St. Peter’s, the more we recognized that we already had a superior candidate in our midst.
The Priest-in-Charge model which we have adopted is faithful to these considerations. St. Peter’s deserves a unique transition process reflective of the strength of the parish. This model includes rigorous discernment that will engage the whole parish.
For the next two years as Priest-in-Charge, Fr. Jacob will have the full authority and responsibility of a rector. He will immediately take on the role of leading our worship, outreach, formation, pastoral care, and the ongoing administration of the parish. Together we will complete a parish profile, develop a strategic visioning plan, and engage in conversation about St. Peter’s core values. Through this period of mutual reflection and evaluation, we will together discern whether Fr. Jacob is called to be our rector. If the vestry and Fr. Jacob agree that he is called to be rector, he would be installed at the end of the two-year term. If not, we will move forward with a traditional search.
The vestry believes strongly that this transition model provides stability to St. Peter’s at this crucial time and allows us to lean fully into our mission as a beacon of hope in Center City Charlotte.
We commend to you Fr. Jacob’s letter to the parish, Bishop Rodman’s letter, and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document for more information. Please plan to attend a forum this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for a conversation with the Vestry and Priest-in-Charge to learn more about this transition model.
As we embark on this journey together, St. Peter’s Vestry is grateful for the open way in which Bishop Rodman and his staff have engaged with us to develop our path forward. We also are grateful for the opportunity to take this journey alongside Fr. Jacob. This partnership with the diocese will continue over the next months as we–the parish, the vestry, and Fr. Jacob–develop a plan for our future and seek to live into our faith through this transition. Thank you for your support and prayers over these past weeks. Our work has only just begun.
In peace and gratitude,
St. Peter’s Vestry