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Letter from the wardens: Oct 24, 2021

IMPORTANT NEWS: Rev. Amy Rowe named as Incarnation’s next Rector, to start in May 2022

Ni Ketut Ayu Sri Wardani (Indonesian, 1966–), Pentecost, 2013

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Rector for this church that we may receive a faithful pastor who will preach the Gospel, care for your people, equip us for ministry, and lead us forth in fulfillment of the Great Commission; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dear Incarnation Members and Friends,

It was about a month ago that our beloved Rector Liz publicly announced her intent to step down from that role next spring, as she and Simon plan their return to their home country and family in the UK after more than 15 years in the US. And, amidst a wave of grief at the prospect of losing Liz, you might have started wondering what the process would be for selecting her successor, and who it might be. Read on to find out more about the process, but here is the bottom line:

With great joy, the Incarnation vestry announces that following the process recommended by the Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic (DOMA), and a careful consideration of Incarnation’s essential values, vision, and of what we need in this next season, and after due diligence and conducting a rigorous, formal interview, your vestry has selected Rev. Amy Rowe to be the next Rector for Incarnation. The Bishop has approved, and Amy has accepted. She will become our Rector next May when Liz and Simon leave.

Liz had told the vestry (and vestry candidates) of her and Simon’s timeline several weeks before the announcement became public, and well before that, had informed the wardens, the Bishop, and Canon Mary Hays, who is responsible for Congregation and Clergy Care in our diocese. Both Bishop John and Canon Mary have provided solid guidance and wisdom to our vestry in our task of selecting and appointing the next Rector.

So, on October 2 our brand new vestry met with Canon Mary, who banished Liz from the room and asked us to talk about a) what is essential to making Incarnation what it is, b) what needs to grow if we are to be who we say we are and who we want to be as a church, and c) what do we need in our next leader?

This was a very encouraging, inspiring exercise: As a vestry we experienced a remarkable degree of agreement in our responses to these questions. We recognize that not every vestry experiences this kind of unity; it is something for which we are deeply grateful. This conversation gave us great clarity on what we were looking for in a Rector candidate.

Now a key part of standard DOMA best practice is to first assess the suitability of any internal candidate, and make a yes/no decision on that person before opening up an external search. Of course, Amy was a very obvious and strong internal candidate — you can read more of her story here. As our Executive Pastor and Deacon, Amy has been a co-planter of Incarnation, and will be ordained to the priesthood later this year. We have all heard her insightful, nourishing preaching, and have experienced her sensitive pastoral care, and her gentle, humble, but strong leadership, notably during the months she served as Acting Rector. Thus we were delighted and grateful that she was interested in being the next shepherd for the Incarnation flock. With great courage, Amy raised her hand for our consideration.

The vestry invited Amy for a formal interview, which took place on October 16. In our ensuing discussion, we were all convinced that she is the person we want to lead us into our next season, because she embodies what Incarnation is — indeed, we are who we are as a church largely BECAUSE of Amy. This was a UNANIMOUS, ENTHUSIASTIC, AND VERY, VERY CLEAR DECISION. In the words of one vestry member, “an unequivocal YES!”.

The next step was to seek the approval of the Bishop, who said he couldn’t be more thrilled with our choice. We then contacted Amy with this news, and we are so very grateful that she has accepted our call to be Incarnation’s next Rector.

Now remember, this transition won’t happen until next May when Liz and Simon depart — but we view it as God’s great mercy to us to have this decision made now, so that we will not be exhausted or distracted by this uncertainty. We have plenty of time now to sort out how it will all work, and for Amy to assemble a team.

Do you have questions, or want to process this news with someone? Please feel free to contact any of the vestry, or of course, Liz or Amy, to discuss anything that is on your mind.

Did we say we are grateful? THANKS BE TO GOD!!!

From your Wardens on behalf of the whole vestry,

Nancy and Ben


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