We are in the final stages of discernment for St. Mark’s next rector, and  all of us – congregation, vestry, and candidates – need prayers!

Not because there haven’t been prayers all along the way. Think back for a moment on where St. Mark’s has been in the past eighteen months: from the time Winnie announced that she was moving, through choice of an interim, formation of a search committee, congregational survey, town hall meetings, creation of a parish profile, receiving names, sorting through preliminary responses, then interviewing a smaller pool, then search committee presenting candidates to the vestry, and another round of vestry interviews and candidates visiting.

The search committee and vestry and congregation held this process in prayer all along the way.

Pray – not because there’s a problem, although the culture often implies that prayer is a rather superstitious “last resort” when technology and skill and control have failed.  Pray because people of faith pray when wonderful things happen and when we are in the valley of despair as well as in ordinary days when we seek God’s presence and direction as a companion on the way.

We need prayers now so that the vestry and candidates can trust that “they are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses” who hold them and love them and empower them.

We need prayers so that, as a congregation, we consciously give ourselves over to God and what God is doing in our midst. God has a purpose (at least one!) for St. Mark’s.  God knows and honors and transcends our conscious hopes and fears when we participate with God and the vestry and candidates in this discernment of the Spirit, and will weave these prayers and faithful actions into the present and future of St. Mark’s.

The vestry has been asked to pray this passage from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, as well as Prayers for an election meeting (pdf), daily.  Please join them in in praying over the next few weeks as these decisions get made.

“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. . . . Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:1-5)