The entire process takes a year--if the parish is lucky--and a decline in membership nearly always occurs during the search.
I asked the minister after the service today, why does it have to be so stressful? In the private sector CEO retirements seem much better planned. The successor is identified well before the CEO leaves, knowledge and authority are transferred in an orderly fashion, and there may not even be a need for an interim leader. There's much less disruption in corporations that know of key departures ahead of time.
|(Tweeted by Sean Lucas)|
That's a point that I hadn't thought of. We happen to like this rector, but now I'm remembering other churches who were happy to see their minister leave.
The church is more like a marriage than a business, he said. One doesn't look for a new spouse while the current one is alive (!). In that light having an interim minister is crucial, because the interregnum (inter-rectorum?) is a period necessary for mourning the old and preparing for the new.
The church is one of society's oldest and hidebound institutions, and it's easy to forget that its roots lie in radical transformation that should be welcomed, not feared.