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St Barnabas is calling a Priest-in-Charge

Part of this process has been to complete the Community Portfolio—12 questions explored by the congregation through Sunday workshops. 

Here is how the people of St. Barnabas responded:

Community Portfolio for St Barnabas

Congregation: St Barnabas – Denver, Colorado

Position: Priest-In-Charge Preferred Start Date: As soon as practical

ASA:  80-90 # wknd services:  2 # week day services: 1

Address:   1280 Vine Street, Denver, CO 80206 Phone:  303-388-6469

Compensation

Current Annual:  Cash Stipend: $75,100                       

Housing:  $29,000 of the $75,100 salary was designated by the Vestry as a parsonage allowance pursuant to Section 107 of the IRS Code

Cash Stipend for New Position:  $85,000 (including housing allowance)

Moving Expense and Housing Provided?  For candidates who do not live in the Denver area, moving and housing assistance may be considered by the vestry.

Pension: 18% of stipend

Healthcare: Family, Dental

Vacation Days: 26 work days + 4 Sundays

Continuing Ed:  # of days: n/a Budget:  $100 per yr

Sabbatical Provision: $1000 per yr

Ministry Expense Reimbursement:  $840 per yr budget

History

Names, title and tenure of past 3 priests:

1990-2000: The Rev.Al Halverstadt, Rector

2002- 06: The Rev. Georgia Humphrey, Rector

2008-Jan. 2018: The Rev. Paul Garrett, RectorPaul Garrett

Church School:  Yes (Godly Play, Sunday School)

Youth:  15-20 students   3 teachers

Day School:  No

Narrative

#1 - Describe a moment in your worship community's recent ministry which you recognize as one of success and fulfillment.

Every Thursday for the past 6 years, St. Barnabas has participated in the Women’s Homelessness Initiative (WHI), providing a warm meal and a safe sleeping space for 20 homeless women. This program is a collaboration with other churches. St B alone has served over 6400 guests.

Volunteers are from our congregation, other churches, and service groups – many of whom have helped for years. They set up cots, fix and serve dinner, stay overnight, hand out “breakfast bags”, and clean up.  Most importantly, they provide caring respectful contact with guests. Sometimes surprisingly, guests also care for us. It is truly a mutual experience of Good News.

The women we serve are homeless for a variety of reasons, including physical and mental health challenges, financial hardship, and/or emotional or physical abuse. Despite these difficult circumstances, “moments of fulfillment” occur often in routine interactions with guests – connecting with them as people, seeing their courage and love for each other, receiving and accepting their care and love for us, watching for and celebrating positive change in their lives, and recognizing that they, like each of us, are indeed children of God.  

#2 – Describe your liturgical style and practice. If you have more than one, describe them all.

Sunday morning has two Rite II services: Eucharist is said at 7:45 and sung at 9:30. Liturgical style is relaxed and appropriate vestments are worn. About ten people attend at 7.45 and 85–90 people at 9.30. 

Prayers of the People are written by parishioners and approved by the Rector. Inclusive language is used. Hands are held to sing the contemporary BCP Lord’s Prayer.

Lay people assist with preaching, reading, and serving the Eucharist. Many would appreciate 1 hour services and shorter sermons.

An all-volunteer choir of 16 – 20 sings at the 9:30 service aided by the organist/pianist. The director has recently resigned. Hymns are usually from the 1982 Hymnal and anthems traditional in style. Occasionally, more contemporary music is used. Many would like modern hymns with simple, lively tunes.

We once had a contemporary Sunday evening worship service which some would like to see revived.

Children & youth are welcome but services are adult oriented. A small group of 8–10 people attend a Wednesday morning said Eucharist. On Wednesday evening a small group meets for study and Compline. 

#3 – How do you practice incorporating others in ministry?

All are encouraged to engage in parish ministries, mainly by clergy and fellow parishioners involved in a ministry.

For worship services, volunteers are scheduled quarterly for readers, prayers, chalice, sound system, greeters, ushers, and acolytes. The Family Minister (currently open but being filled) greets new families to tell them what’s available for kids.

Outside Sunday services, WHI and Soup Group (making and selling soup to benefit St. George’s Clinic in Baghdad) announce the need for help at Sunday services, in bulletins, and by person-to-person invitation.  Share the Care contacts many parishioners via email and phone to provide meals and rides for those needing help. Caring Ministry provides and coordinates emotional support as noted in #4. Youth are invited to serve as acolytes, nursery and Sunday School helpers, and to go on service trips and pilgrimages and participate in local service projects.

A Ministries Fair in Fall lets everyone know of opportunities within and outside the church. Volunteers are often recruited by word of mouth – a personal invitation from someone who is involved.  Others are recruited through our website, electronic announcements and social media.

#4 - As a worshiping community, how do you care for your spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being?

At St. Barnabas, efforts to provide care for these three areas overlap, and make connections on a personal level that develop community.

For spiritual well-being, there are two Sunday services, Wednesday Bible study and Eucharist, Wednesday evening Compline, Sunday School, the Barnabas Forum, lay Eucharistic visitors, Saturday study group (similar to Education for Ministry), youth pilgrimages and retreats, and the labyrinth.

In addition to pastoral care provided by clergy, the Caring Ministry is a group of trained volunteers who lend emotional support when needed. A prayer chain, greeting card ministry, Arts on Vine, musical offerings, auction events, and social event like the July 4 picnic also lend support and connect parishioners.

Physical well-being is addressed through the Rector’s discretionary fund, and Share the Care that provides meals and transportation. Our building is ADA-compliant with devices for hearing impaired.

There are a variety of ministries. Programs are inclusive and attract different groups. However, some members are concerned that our ability to maintain all of this is stretched, and that communication about these opportunities is less-than-ideal.

#5 - Describe your community's involvement in the wider church and/or region.

St. Barnabas has a long tradition of championing progressive causes within the larger Episcopal Church, including selection of laywomen for leadership roles, ordination of women priests, provision of funerals for suicide victims and blessings of same sex unions.  

Parishioners currently serve the wider Church as board members of the Church Pension Fund, the Colorado Episcopal Foundation, the Executive Committee of the High Plains Region, and as Teen Representative to the Diocese. Members served on committees for both the previous and current Bishop Search processes. Several St. B members are actively involved with the Iliff School of Theology and its Anglican Studies Program. St. B volunteers have offered 25 years of Education for Ministry to church and community members. St. B has joined other churches within Capitol Hill United Ministries to address local needs such as meals for neighbors with HIV/AIDS, tutoring for elementary students, and meals and overnight lodging for homeless women.

We hope that our new priest will walk alongside of us as we learn about opportunities to be more involved in the wider church and resources that are available to our parish.

#6 - How do you engage in pastoral care beyond your worshiping Community?

Pastoral Care is The Work of the Church.  St Barnabas is an activist community. We have a long history of reaching out to our larger Metro area, Country and World communities.  A large majority of parishioners is involved in care beyond our walls. Programs that parishioners are currently participating in include:  spiritual direction, visiting elders, Women’s Homelessness Initiative, hospital and hospice visitations, food drives for MetroCaring, LGBTQ community support, supporting mental health services, delivering meals to those with life threatening illnesses, reaching out to homeless youth. The Soup Group makes and sells soup to raise funds for a Baghdad clinic. We host an alternative market each December inviting local nonprofits to share their stories.  Parishioners donate money, which helps to support the important work of these groups.

#7 - Tell about a ministry you have initiated in the past five years. Who can be contacted for more information about this ministry?  

The Building Renovation Project involved serious commitment from the entire parish to provide a beautiful and functional building for ourselves and over a dozen outside groups who use the building every week.  Utilities, interior décor, kitchen, restrooms, meeting rooms, and worship spaces were updated. Classrooms were expanded and a new elevator and new restrooms make us ADA-compliant.

This project brought us together because everyone had a role – in user-design groups, steering committee, capital campaign, moving to and from a temporary church (where we stayed for 14 months), and/or praying for a successful project.  Financial support was strong – over 95% of pledges have been paid to date.

Almost all existing ministries continued during the transition – WHI, youth group, EFM, auction, etc.  We did lose some members who found the temporary worship space uninspiring and the renovation distracting.

It is noteworthy how many challenges – large and small – worked out fine: paying for it all, project team skills, a timely roof insurance claim, excellent architect and general contractor, fitting a wash sink on the kitchen wall.  God was with us! For more information, contact Jim Hayes.

#8 - How are you preparing yourself for the Church of the future?

The congregation has been reading and discussing Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration, which suggests ways to make Christianity more relevant and accessible for people inside and outside of traditional churches.  There is enthusiasm for more parish-wide discussion to consider specific plans to implement change, focusing initially on our worship services and on outreach to the larger community.

St. B has had mixed success in embracing necessary technology to prepare for the future. We have a new website but it can be difficult to maintain without specific staff support. (How can smaller congregations be better at this, given staff and financial constraints?) Email announcements have been well received and most parishioners access email effectively.  “Realm” is a tool which we have recently added to our website, but it could be better utilized.

St. B recognizes that youth ARE the church of the future and we’ve had a strong history of participation in youth and family programs for almost 20 years.  We are currently in transition with the departure of the long-time family minister and are making efforts to bring these programs back to the level they’ve been historically.0

#9 - What is your practice of stewardship and how does it shape the life of your worshiping community?

Fall pledge drives have emphasized that gifts of treasure should be based on spiritual values, and encouraging all to give a significant percentage of income that grows over time. Testimony is shared regarding the importance of St. Barnabas in the lives of parishioners. For over 20 years an annual auction, where parishioners offer a variety of activities for bid, typically raising over $30,000. As a result, St. Barnabas finances are solid.

Parishioners also contribute their time and talent to more than three dozen ministries enhancing the life of the parish and reaching out to the community.

These practices have helped create a sense of community. The vitality of that community is seen in our successful $2.8 million dollar building renovation, which enhanced the ability to serve both internal and external ministries, including hosting more service organizations in our space.

We hope our new priest will help strengthen stewardship of our God-given resources, including rebuilding our pledge base after a few years of modestly reduced revenue. Our challenges include the integration of digital communication and social media into an all-year effort to nourish stewardship awareness.

#10 - What is your worshiping community's experience of conflict? And how have you addressed it?

In discussing this question, we worked at articulating an honest look at where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to be. Some believe we don’t address conflict directly. Times of conflict have been most noticeable during transitions due to staff changes, especially with a rector’s departure. Conflicts around personnel issues have been more intense than conflicts around programmatic issues.

Much of that can be attributed to the confidential nature of personnel matters. Other factors include a lack of constructive channels to communicate grievances, which only compounds fear and anger. We’ve learned that it’s necessary to allow space to respond to the issue and explain the process, even if it’s not possible to talk about the substance. It’s also important for members of the congregation to have their concerns heard even if the final decision or outcome isn’t what they wanted. Listening is critical.

Parishioners have expressed a need for more education about the role of the Vestry and Rector and where the authority for certain decisions lies. Plans for the Barnabas Forum are underway to discuss this, along with information about resolving conflict more constructively.

#11 - What is your experience leading/ addressing change in the church? When has it gone well? When has it gone poorly? What did you learn?

St. Barnabas has experienced significant change over the past few years, especially in regard to clergy and staff and the church building itself.  Some refer to “change fatigue.” 

Overall, the building project went well.  There was a high level of involvement, funding was successful, and the project was on time and on budget.  The interim location was OK but we did lose some members during this time. 

St. Barnabas hasn’t always handled the transition from one rector to the next smoothly and the latest transition is even more difficult since there were changes in the rector, family minister, sexton and choir director in a relatively short period of time.

Parishioners have cited many things learned through leading and addressing change. 

• Be realistic about change and its effects. There can be a lot of pain associated with change and healing is necessary.

• Communication must be transparent.  Avoid factionalism and triangulation.

• Have common projects to work together for common goals and a sense of accomplishment. Empower St. B to be a community.

• The Diocese is supportive of our efforts.  We’re not in it alone.

• It takes courage to change but it also puts extra demands on volunteers.

New Priest

Describe the gifts and skills essential for your future priest.  Up to 4 descriptions, one or two words each.

We had quite an extensive process to identify these – getting submissions from the parish and then having Vestry members go through 3 rounds to finalize selections.  The results are:

  1. Empowering Leader

  2. Engaging Preacher

  3. Theologically Progressive

  4. Optimistic

 

Connections

Church Web Site: https://stbdenver.org/

Media Links (Facebook, blogs, etc.): 

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church--Denver, Colorado

 

References

Sr Warden:  Jim Hayes Phone: 440-477-8688 Email: jimhayes1349@gmail.com