Called to be…The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
St Paul’s Episcopal Church is located in Bakersfield, California. It is the largest congregation in the Southern Deanery of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, which spans the Central Valley of California. The diocese includes 19 worshiping communities, the Cathedral, and the Episcopal Conference Center at Oakhurst (ECCO). We are a diocese of resurrection having spent the last decade involved in litigation, and celebrated our renewal with the Presiding Bishop’s Revival in November 2017, when our Bishop, David Rice, was also installed as our Diocesan Bishop. We are a diocese that finds itself exploring the spaces between the ellipses in our visioning statement “Called to be…”
St Paul’s: Who God is calling us to be…
Through our Listening Sessions, we identified our strengths and weaknesses. We believe that God is calling us to be a welcoming, supportive and safe presence in our downtown community. As the only Episcopal presence in Bakersfield, we welcome everyone: our neighbors both wealthy and poor, our LGBTQ friends, the Hispanic community and the homeless. The areas we feel God is calling us to pay attention to are:
- We are hopeful our Priest-in-Charge will support and guide us in our Social Justice Ministry which is varied and vital. We have a food pantry serving 25-40 people every Sunday. Keeping the pantry filled and staffed is an ongoing effort. Our Social Justice committee recently held a Martin Luther King Peace rally in a park. There were excellent speakers, entertainment and food vendors. We have supported local Pride events for ten years with parishioners taking leadership of the events. Our Taste of Grace fundraiser supporting the Bakersfield Homeless Center is their only dedicated event.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us identify our gifts and skills with families and youth formation. Last year we held a successful faith formation training for children preparing them for the Eucharist. We have a Sunday School pull out program during the service and Youth Group, both of which have recently suffered attendance losses. We feel strongly that families are the future of the church and we want to support this ministry in creative ways in addition to the well-attended Christmas and Easter festivals.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us further our prayer life through a variety of opportunities: adult groups, youth groups, family groups, speakers, etc. We have a prayer group that meets at a coffee shop to read and discuss the lectionary and another that meets at a parishioner’s home. The Daughters of the King read spiritual growth books and enjoy the challenging ideas and discussions. We feel these opportunities are a way for us to deepen our faith and welcome others to community prayer life.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will assist us in determining ways to best utilize our beautiful, historic church and buildings. We have improved our sound system and increased wattage in the light fixtures. We have a powerful organ that has been used for Lenten brown bag concerts in the past and we would like to host those events again, however we do not have a parishioner who can play it. We rent to a variety of organizations-AA, OA, Zen Fellowship and others. Rentals for wedding and funerals also support our church budget.
- We are hopeful our new Priest-in-Charge will help us grow into a leader of the southern deanery. Two members attended a Congregational Development workshop and we hope to form a group to begin this process. As our community grows in cohesion and leadership, we can expand our media presence and support neighboring parishes.
St Paul’s…An Experiment
Bishop Rice and the Diocesan Council believe in the potential of St Paul’s mission and ministry in both Bakersfield and the Southern Deanery. Since St Paul’s is a “Mission Congregation,” the Council has
agreed to offer financial support to the congregation for a three-year period, in order to fund a full-time Priest-in-Charge. St Paul’s will contribute a portion of the stipend for a cleric, while the diocese will support the other portion, as well as medical/dental insurance for one, and pension.
It is the hope of the Bishop and Diocesan Council that under the guidance of the new Priest-in-Charge, the parish will become self-sustaining in the next three years.
We seek a Priest-in-charge:
- Who will work collaboratively with our lay leaders and identify areas of growth and formation
- Who respects the liturgy of the Episcopal tradition but is willing to stretch its boundaries
- Who respects diversity at all levels be it race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, age, and socio-economic status
- Who is inspiring, creative, energetic, enthusiastic and mission focused
- Who deeply loves the people of God
- Who respects the spiritual uniqueness that is St Paul’s
Inquires for the position of Priest-in-Charge should be directed to:
The Rev. Canon Anna Carmichael
A cover letter, OTM profile and resume are required.
We will continue receiving names until June 22, 2018.
For more about the history of St. Paul’s, Bakersfield, and San Joaquin, and information about St. Paul’s worship, preaching, staff, and demographic, read this PDF.