Announcements for Sunday, July 5, 2015

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Announcements for Sunday, July 5, 2015


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Announcements for June 28, 2015

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Announcements for Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Announcements for Sunday, June 14, 2014

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Announcements for Sunday, June 14, 2015

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Celebrating John Newton

We have had a number of festivities to celebrate the ministry of our rector John Newton, who is retiring this summer. There was a fun party on June 26 at Como Park. John and Karen’s last Sunday with us was June 28.

A Farewell Gift

The Wardens and Vestry have committed to giving John a farewell gift in recognition of his ministry. Our goal has been reached. Thank you to all who donated.

Posted in Featured, Transition Tagged with:

Searching for the Next Rector

“It will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with these precepts… In all that you do, you are to nourish God’s people from the riches of his grace, and to strengthen them to glorify God in this life and the life to come.” –Service for the Ordination of a Priest, page 531, Book of Common Prayer

In January, Rev. John Newton announced his retirement, setting in motion a series of events that will continue until a new rector has been appointed.

The Bishop’s Role

Under Episcopal Church polity the appointment of a new rector is at the Bishop’s call. Thus at the end of the search process the Vestry must present the final candidate to him for his approval.

The Wardens invited Bishop Brian Prior to speak with the Vestry and church staff at their annual retreat early in February. The Bishop emphasized that his role and that of diocesan staff was to assist and facilitate Messiah’s search, and not to govern or direct it. Since then the wardens have met with diocesan staff, who have provided useful information and reiterated the Bishop’s position.

The Vestry’s Actions

At its March meeting the Vestry received a report from the Wardens on their discussions with diocesan staff. A plan was developed to:

  • form a transition steering committee to create a timeline and develop a process to provide prayer and spiritual support;
  • organize a going away party;
  • initiate a self-discovery and search processes.

A slate of names for the Search Team was presented and accepted in May. The Rev. Mary Gustafson was also chosen to take on the ministry of Interim Rector on a part-time basis during the search period. Some of the rector’s responsibilities will be undertaken by other staff members and lay members of the congregation.

The Discovery Process

The bulk of the work from this point shifts to the Search Team, but not before one important step has been taken: consultation with the congregation at large. During the first week in June members of Messiah will come together to discuss seven questions:

  • How has your life been changed and impacted by this church?
  • What are you most excited about at Messiah right now?
  • What would you (or do you) tell your friends about Messiah?
  • What are one or two ways that you think Messiah needs to improve?
  • How would you describe our church to candidates for the Rector position?
  • What characteristics do you think our new Rector needs in order to be effective here at Messiah?
  • What advice would you give to the Search Committee to help them in the search process?

Out of the answers to these questions we will develop a congregational profile, both as an aid to our understanding of ourselves and to give potential candidates an overview of who we are as a community.

The Search Team

The members of the Search Team are:

  • Mary Arnold
  • Denise Deen
  • Steve Erickson
  • Doug Goetz
  • Kathy Hoffman
  • Joe Kimbell
  • Imad Libbus
  • Cherry Say
  • Joy Skjegstad

The goal of the search committee is to present a single candidate for rector to the Vestry. This job will begin with a parish profile to identify Messiah’s strengths and weaknesses, context, and sustainability. Out of this they will develop the criteria for a rector candidate. They will also establish contact with those who would have recommendations of suitable candidates.

The candidates will be screened against the established criteria and the list narrowed to three or fewer. At this point the committee will contact the diocese to ascertain if there are any “red flags”. They will then contact the leading candidates for interviews. This will involve sending a two-person team to visit the candidate and attend their church, unknown to their congregation. The committee will carefully consider the interview results and then invite one candidate to visit Messiah to experience worship here and meet with the committee. In the end, they will recommend a single candidate to the Vestry for their consideration. Once Vestry approval has been received, the candidate will be presented to the Bishop for appointment as Rector.

While names of specific candidates must remain confidential, the Search Team will keep the Vestry and congregation informed about their progress on a regular basis throughout the process.


An all-important ingredient of the whole process is prayer. The search will be an ongoing theme as part of the Prayers of the People on Sunday mornings. It will be a focus at the Wednesday morning men’s prayer gatherings and there will also be other occasions for group prayer as the process unfolds.

Please also continue to pray on a daily basis:

  • for a blessing on John Newton’s retirement and thanksgiving for his lifetime of ministry.
  • for the Holy Spirit’s protection and guidance for members of the Search Team;
  • for our Interim Rector, the Rev. Mary Gustafson, as she leads us through this transition process;
  • for wisdom and faithfulness for the Wardens and members of the Vestry;
  • for our church staff, that they may continue to serve with dedication and vision; and
  • for the new Rector, whom we believe God has already chosen.

Shepherd of souls,
give to us for the leadership of this church
a person after your own heart:
a person of faith and prayer,
filled with the Holy Spirit;
a person of vision, wisdom
and sound judgment;
a person with a pastoral heart
and a true love for people;
a person set on fire
by the transforming power of Jesus.
Prepare the person of your choice
for their ministry among us,
and prepare us for their coming,
and make us, with them,
a church joyful in worship
and united in witness,
working, caring, praising, loving,
to the glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Discovery Meetings completed

As a part of our transition process with Rev. John Newton retiring this summer, we have hosted a series of discovery meetings to get input from the congregation about the search for a new Rector. These were opportunities to meet in small groups and respond to a set of questions that will help guide our search team.

The search team will use the findings in coming up with a parish profile.

Thanks to Joy Skjegstad for helping us through this process.

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Announcements for May 24, 2015

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Announcements for May 24, 2015

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Going Away Gift for John Newton

Dear Parishioner,

As we prepare to bid farewell to our rector, Rev. John Newton, this June, we also have the opportunity to celebrate his ministry throughout the past 10 years at Messiah Episcopal Church. These years were marked by growth, challenge, and change for our church.

John has, every year, exceeded expectation in his work among us. He has been an unflagging advocate for Christ in our community and a tireless shepherd of Messiah’s flock. We are so grateful for John’s service.

To that end, we would like to bless him with a monetary expression of our gratitude.

Being a pastor has never been a lucrative career; this is our opportunity to give a great gift to John in recognition of his excellent service to our congregation and in recognition of a distinguished career in service to Christ and his church. The Wardens and the Vestry have committed $10,000.

Would you be willing to share in giving this gift? We are asking you to commit an amount of your choice towards this gift to John. You can send your gift to the church in the envelope provided or bring it on a Sunday with “John Newton gift” in the memo line. We ask that you would return your gift to the church by the end of June.

Thank you for considering this gift. We hope you are able to participate in blessing someone who has so richly blessed Messiah.

In Christ’s Love and Service,

Rachael Arnott
Senior Warden

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Construction Update

It’s the season of construction here in Minnesota, and this year that’s going to impact how you get to church. There are a few projects to watch out for:

Ford Parkway

Ford Parkway ConstructionLocated at the corner of Ford Parkway and Macalester, we’ll be in the middle of a construction zone for much of this summer. Beginning May 26, through traffic and parking on Ford Parkway between Fairview and Snelling will be prohibited for approximately three months. You may need to take Pinehurst Avenue or Highland Parkway—the two streets north of and parallel to Ford Parkway—to Macalester Street.

With no parking on Ford Parkway and possible parking restrictions on Macalester for related utility work, parking will be a challenge:

  • You may park on adjacent streets, however we want to reserve the block of Macalester Street in front of the church for those who are handicapped or have difficulty walking. Also, be sure to obey all St. Paul parking regulations—there’s no parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, 20 feet of an unmarked intersection and 5 feet of a driveway.
  • There is plenty of parking at the Charles Schulz Arena one block west of the church at Snelling Avenue.
  • The owners of Parkway Auto Care on the corner of Ford Parkway and Snelling have also kindly agreed to allow us to use any vacant spaces in their lot on Sunday mornings.
  • The route 84 bus is diverting to Highland Parkway and Fairview Avenue.

Get more information from Ramsey County.

Snelling & 94

The Snelling Avenue bridge spanning I-94 is closed through August 22. If you come to Messiah from I-94 or Snelling, you might need to find a detour. There’s more information from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

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Announcements for May 17, 2015

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Announcements for May 17, 2015

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