Church life is not only about increased ASA (average Sunday attendance) and building projects. Sometimes, as David Leathers, Senior Warden of St. James acknowledges, “It takes quite a bit of energy just to keep things going.”
Prior to 2017, St. James had a four-member staff team, including a full-time rector, a music director, a secretary, and an administrator. Currently they operate with just a musician and supply priests, with parishioners stepping forward to cover everything from selecting the service hymns to making sure the bills get paid, formation classes have their curriculum, and service bulletins are printed.
Though survival may feel like the primary preoccupation, a new kind of pastoral care life emerged in the absence of a rector. David says, “We now have a weekly meeting for 10-15 minutes during Coffee Hour, where the needs of the church community are quickly reviewed and those interested in this ministry volunteer to follow up with visits, phone calls and cards with those that are in physical or spiritual need. This is an area that the congregation made clear was very important.”
As they move forward in this time of transition and look forward to calling a part-time rector, the parishioners of St. James embody the deep meaning of “the work of the people.”