come learn about us!
Welcome to our Rector Search page, and thank you for your interest in St. Paul’s. We hope the narratives that follow give you a well-rounded picture of who St. Paul’s parish is today and who we seek to become, with the help of our new part-time rector. We developed the following prayer at the first meeting of the Search Committee, and we recite it during our monthly meetings and during Sunday worship:
Prayer to Guide our Parish in our Search for a Pastor
Prayer to Guide our Parish in our Search for a Pastor
Almighty God, we seek your guidance during this time of
important contemplation and deliberation. Please assist
us in our search for the knowledge and wisdom that will
lead us to the selection of a spiritual leader who will honor
our parish and all who enter here.
May he/she be blessed by your hand so that we may be
encouraged to be kind, purposeful and faithful. AMEN
WHO WE ARE
St. Paul’s is a small parish located in Georgetown, the county seat of Sussex County, Delaware. Our membership consists predominantly of older, retired and semi-retired individuals and couples and a smaller number of mid/late-career professionals and families with children. While we are a mostly white middle class congregation, Georgetown itself is highly diverse with over half its population identifying as Hispanic and African American, many under the age of 18.
In early 2020 we undertook a survey to learn how parishioners thought about St. Paul’s in terms of its strengths and challenges and the desired characteristics of a new rector. We used the results as a guide for the narratives that follow. Once St. Paul’s is able to reconvene we plan to hold a series of parish-wide focus groups to address issues of change, as well as review mission and vision statements.
In addition to a half-time rector, St. Paul’s employs a part-time music director and part-time parish administrator. Bookkeeping, cleaning, and grounds maintenance services are procured by contract.
St. Paul’s is friendly, welcoming, and inclusive. Parishioners care for one another deeply and are mutually supportive. We live out the biblical injunction to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). These characteristics have enabled us to attract new people to St. Paul’s in recent months. We aspire to continue growing in number and diversity.
St. Paul’s is an active congregation with energetic and vibrant members, most of whom are 65 and older. We are dedicated to service within our congregation and to the larger community. Although St. Paul’s is not a wealthy parish our finances are stable; we have learned how to accomplish much with what we have, thanks to a strong volunteer work ethic.
St. Paul’s has a vibrant and expanding music program featuring the 579-pipe Haskell organ and a talented director of music. We have a growing vocal choir and expect to re-establish our handbell choir when we are able to reconvene. Parishioners feel that our music program magnifies the worship experience and promotes unity and cohesiveness. It also affords opportunities for outreach when, from time to time, we host public concerts.
St. Paul’s has a 225 year history in Georgetown. The church building is architecturally significant, beautifully appointed and functional, having generous classroom, office, and event space. We would love to see our space more effectively utilized.
St. Paul’s has undergone a series of leadership transitions in the last decade, having moved from a full-time rector to two interims, with supply priests in between. These changes have empowered parishioners to develop a high level of self-sufficiency. We are comfortable with the notion that, “except for those sacramental ministries which are the special gifts of the ordained, all the ministries of the church are understood as shared ministries of all the baptized.” (A Supplement to the Active Clergy Guide for the Employment and Compensation of Contractual and other Part-Time Clergy serving Congregations in the Diocese of Delaware). In furtherance of that understanding of the role of the laity, we seek to develop concrete and measureable programs to identify, encourage, and train members to share fully in the liturgical, pastoral, administrative, and service ministries.
We seek to enhance outreach to our culturally diverse community (45% white non-Hispanic, 35% Hispanic, 15% African-American and 5% Asian/Pacific Islanders. Demographics for the Town of Georgetown provided by Town Manager.) There is more we can do to encourage and welcome our community into the life of St. Paul’s; likewise, there is more we can do to be more engaged in community events and causes that resonate with the diversity of Georgetown.
To further this goal, St. Paul’s needs to develop a coherent communications strategy. This would involve media announcements/coverage of, for example, guided tours of the church, open houses, the annual flower sale, seasonal concerts, and the parish’s participation in the annual Hispanic festival. Not to be neglected is the need to adopt a more personal, one-on-one communication strategy that resonates with our cultural milieu. We would like our light to shine brighter in the larger community!
ASSETS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
We look for a part-time rector who is:
An engaging preacher and teacher who can translate biblical teaching into practical daily life and toward fostering the spiritual growth and development of the membership, both individually and collectively.
A pastor who can provide safe and comfortable (and comforting) care when needs arise.
A leader who can inspire and equip the laity for work within and outside of the church; she or he is committed to developing a vision and purpose for St. Paul’s in collaboration with the vestry and membership; she or he is both creative and resourceful.
In keeping with Diocesan standards.
HISTORY OF ST. PAUL’S
The history of St. Paul’s parish dates from just after the establishment of Georgetown as the Sussex County seat, in 1791. Three years later a small group of people met and elected six trustees to organize a church, though a decade would pass before construction of a building would begin. Between 1794 and 1806 services were held intermittently at the courthouse. Finally, on St. Paul’s Day, January 25, 1806 the church was dedicated by Hamilton Bell, St. Paul’s third rector. It would be another 10 years, however, before enough funds could be collected to complete the building and enclose the burial grounds.
In 1843 the original building was razed and a brick structure was built on the same site, the corner of Academy and Pine Streets. This is the nucleus of the present structure.
Reorganization of worship space occurred in the late 1800’s in response to the growing influence of Catholicism on the Episcopal Church at that time; soon thereafter stained-glassed windows were added, including the important “Te Deum,” a five lancet window, surmounted by a rosette, located behind the high altar (see www.stpaulsgeorgetown.church/stained-glass-windows). St. Paul’s is also the proud guardian of “The Transfiguration,” a painting of the Raphaelite School, gifted by the diocese in May 2018 (see www.stpaulsgeorgetown.church/raphaels-transfiguration).
St. Paul’s Church and attached graveyard are situated in downtown Georgetown on approximately 1.37 acres. The church, which is a National Landmark, is Victorian Gothic in design and seats 175 comfortably. In February 1987 a fire of unknown origin destroyed the parish hall, kitchen, classrooms, office, and sacristy. As a result, a more modern parish complex was constructed, which still serves the parish well. The Garden Guild has been working on updating the landscaping around the property. The Butterfly Garden is a certified Monarch Way Station.
In 2019 St. Paul’s celebrated its 225th anniversary. We, the inheritors of the founders’ dream of an Anglican church in Georgetown, give thanks for our long and blessed presence in this town.
Click here for a more detailed discussion of the history of St. Paul’s parish.
WORSHIP AND MUSIC
First-time attendees at St. Paul’s can expect a heartfelt and hearty welcome when entering our doors for Sunday worship. As is stated on the home page of our website, “Everyone is Welcome, No Exceptions,” and this sentiment finds its expression in incremental growth, both in membership and diversity, over the last 18 months. In fact, in February of this year our Bishop confirmed or received 10 new members, which we understand was a diocesan record!
Prior to COVID-19, attendance at the 8:00 a.m. 10:30 services together averaged 37. Both services utilize Rite II, Book of Common Prayer; the 8:00 a.m. service is without musical accompaniment, while the 10:30 service features sung responses and hymns from the 1983 Hymnal and occasionally Lift Every Voice and Sing.
During the pandemic we are meeting once on Sundays, via Zoom, with an average attendance of 25. A recent parish-wide survey shows that 86% of respondents would be willing to continue with a once a Sunday service schedule when we return to live worship. In addition, parishioners overall feel that Sunday services nurture their spiritual growth and development, with 94% of survey respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing to the statement, “Worship at St. Paul’s inspires and feeds me.”
Our 10:30 service features music presented on our Haskell organ. Built around the turn of the century, the Haskell is a 10 rank, two manual and pedal pipe organ containing 579 pipes. It boasts the reputation of being the only pipe organ in use anywhere in Georgetown (click here for further information). St. Paul’s is likewise blessed with the talents of our organist and choir director, Mary Ann Torkelson. From time to time, she is joined by other musicians to enhance the worship experience. St. Paul’s choir performs twice a month, and a hand bell choir is currently in formation. In addition to its service music, St. Paul’s has hosted public musical events featuring our own and guest musicians. Two such events were held in 2019, including a concert to rededicate the organ.
All of these musical offerings will continue and, indeed, expand once pandemic restrictions are lifted.
At St. Paul’s, we love the gospel of Jesus Christ and offer many ways for people to live our identity as the Body of Christ, live out the imperatives of the gospel, and build lasting friendships that help to form a community of faith. You can read more about these here, but a quick summary includes our annual School Supply Drive; Meals for Homebound Parishioners; Transportation Services; Meals on Wheels participation; Little Red Cupboard; Greeting Card Ministry, which sends birthday, get well, thinking of you messages, etc. to all parishioners; English as a Second Language classes in conjunction with Sussex Technical High School Adult Education Department; St. Paul’s Licensed Lay Ministry team, providing home and hospital Eucharist; and, through Invite, Welcome and Connect, we give welcome bags to visitors and escort them to coffee hour.
We often have designated coffee hours; for example, corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day and Souper Bowl Sunday when parishioners are invited to bring cans of soup for the Little Red Cupboard. The first Sunday of the month is Birthday Sunday featuring ice cream and cake to celebrate those who have birthdays that month. During the summer, our hospitality team may provide homemade ice cream or host an old-fashioned cookout. Finally, St. Paul’s is home to several Alcoholics Anonymous groups, including one meeting for Spanish speakers and another meeting for women only. Also, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups use our classrooms.
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN DELAWARE
The Episcopal Church in Delaware was founded in 1785 as one of the nine original dioceses in the Episcopal Church in the United States. Our diocese includes the entire state of Delaware, consisting of three counties: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. Sussex County, where St. Paul’s is located, in Georgetown, the County Seat, is the largest geographically of the three counties and the fastest growing in the state.
We were fortunate to call the Rt. Rev. Kevin S. Brown as the eleventh bishop of Delaware in July, 2017. Thanks to Bishop Brown’s leadership in Invite Welcome Connect, we have strengthened our outreach to newcomers, providing them with a welcome gift and information about St. Paul’s worship and ministries. Newcomers are gratified to be recognized in this way.
When he last visited St. Paul’s, Bishop Brown received eight, confirmed one young man and reaffirmed the baptismal vows of one individual. All, except the newly confirmed young man, were new members of St. Paul’s.
For more information regarding the diocese and Bishop Brown click here.
ABOUT SUSSEX COUNTY
Sussex County employment settings include agriculture in the west and the tourist/resort industry at the beach. The beach community in the eastern part of Sussex County is home to a thriving hospitality industry, with many fine restaurants and cafes, hotels/motels, boutiques, and five outlet malls. In 2017 Rehoboth Beach was ranked 9th best beach in the US, and in 2015 Rehoboth Beach was ranked #4 in USA Today’s best coastal small town. In addition, Sussex County boasts four very fine community theater groups: Possum Playhouse in Georgetown, Milton Theater in Milton, Second Street Players in Milford, and Clearspace Theatre in Rehoboth Beach.
Sussex County is host to a burgeoning health care industry. There are eighteen assisted living facilities/nursing homes and three state of the art hospitals: Beebe, Lewes; Nanticoke, Seaford; and Bayhealth, Milford. Sussex County is also home to chicken processing plants that employ 1200 people. There are three public school districts in Sussex County: Indian River, headquartered in Selbyville and which includes Georgetown; Cape Henlopen in Lewes; and Woodbridge in Bridgeville, as well as excellent parochial and non-parochial private schools.
Housing is quite reasonable compared to other parts of the country. Beautiful older homes on large lots, townhomes, a number of adult communities, beach communities and plenty of newly built developments abound in our area. Sussex County and Georgetown have a diverse racial identity.
If the Spirit has moved you to learn more about working in this part of the Body of Christ and with us in this ministry to which God has called us, we invite you to contact the Rev. Canon Martha Kirkpatrick, Canon to the Ordinary. Please submit your resume, a pdf of your full OTM profile, and a cover letter to her email. Thank you, and may God bless you.