||Associate Priest for Pastoral Care
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, is a growing and energetic parish of around 800 active members and a larger group of people associated through the webcast ministry, the Choir School, and music programs in the Diocese of New York.
Our mission is to worship, love and serve Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Anglican tradition and our unique choral heritage.
Just before the Pandemic, the parish had completed a rigorous period of self-study with Wellspring Consulting and had produced its first 5-10-year strategic plan. Although the pandemic brought great challenges, far from delaying the implementation of that plan, it provided opportunity for growth and new ways of working. This included the implementation of a number of action plans with renewed vigor; namely, the search for a new Head of School, the setting up of a new Office of Institutional Advancement with a new staff, the appointment of a Director of Communications, and the expansion of the ‘global parish’ through the installation of a state-of-the-art camera system in the Church, and utilizing social media platforms. The adult education program moved on line and expanded significantly; Sunday School and youth events ran all through the year and more families have joined the parish, albeit remotely.
The church has been open for a limited number of hours each day since the summer of 2020, and the daily mass has not ceased. Choral worship resumed last fall, and after several weeks in isolation at Incarnation Camp in Connecticut, the choristers returned to school using a cohort method after Christmas.
As we move towards the end of the pandemic and prepare for a full re-opening, we are able to reflect on how the strategic plan has evolved due to the pandemic and the kind of ministry that we wish to emphasize going forward. Three new initiatives include:
- A phone ministry using trained lay people as pastors
- An outreach project with the music department for local children and the creation of a children’s choir for the 9am Sunday mass.
- A Korean-American Asian project to grow a Korean congregation, projects for children and seniors, and to build on our work with EAST (Episcopal Asian Supper Table) in the Diocese to grow Asian leaders in the Church. A Korean priest has already been identified to join our team.
We are searching for a priest to assist the Rector in leading worship, in preaching, in teaching, in pastoral care, and the overall ministry of the parish. The Associate priest will be a loving pastor, an effective preacher and a strong teacher who is spiritually centered, self-motivated, creative, and able to empower to exercise their Christian ministry. As a member of a very collegial staff, the Associate will have specific responsibilities for Pastoral Care, work closely with the Social-Care Coordinator, our ecumenical social worker (a partnership with St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church) who works with the homeless in the streets around our buildings, and engage with the Strategic Plan.
The expectation is that the priest appointed will serve for at least five years.
Report to the Associate Rector and work collaboratively with staff including the Social-Care Coordinator and the 5th Avenue Ecumenical Social Worker, the other associated clergy, the Head of School, the Chief Advancement Officer, the Head Verger, and the Director of Music, together with the lay leaders of the parish.
- With the Rector, to provide pastoral leadership for a dynamic parish as part of a team of clergy and lay leaders.
- Develop and support opportunities for pastoral care, support networks, and opportunities for the laity to be involved in pastoral outreach.
- To be the ‘point-person’ for the administration of all pastoral liturgy and to ensure that appropriate provision is made.
- Work with and encourage our large numbers of volunteers.
- Encourage pastoral visiting to parishioners’ homes, care facilities, and hospitals.
- Responsible for administering the ‘on-call’ system for emergencies (currently, people can phone the parish office and leave a message on a mobile phone that the duty priest has in their possession).
Common clergy responsibilities
- Participate in the spiritual and pastoral care of the community, including taking a share in visiting the sick and the housebound when necessary.
- Participate in weekday and Sunday liturgical and preaching responsibilities.
- Participate in the ministry of spiritual direction, the ministry of reconciliation (hearing confessions), healing, and other spiritual disciplines such as Eucharistic Exposition and Shrine Prayers (intercessions).
- Participate in social gatherings of the parish, including Sunday coffee hour, regular fellowship events, and the various social or interest groups in the parish.
- Organize and support pastoral care opportunities:
- Work with the Social-Care Coordinator in providing a response to the needs of parishioners as they arise.
- Liaise with the 5th Avenue Ecumenical Social Worker in his or her work with the homeless near the church and those with mental health issues.
- Keep the files for all baptism, weddings, and funerals.
- Participate in and advise the clergy and lay staff on appropriate preparation for baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
- Develop a scheme for the identification and training of lay Eucharistic Visitors (according to Diocesan guidelines) and managing the roster of clergy and Eucharistic Visitors for taking Holy Communion to the sick and the housebound.
- With the Social-Care Coordinator, develop a scheme for identifying and training pastoral care visitors and monitor their work.
- Attend regular meetings with the representatives of the constituent churches that collaborate on the ecumenical outreach project.
- Working with the Usher Corps and the Welcome Committee in the ministry of hospitality.
- Oversight of the lay team of Prayer ministers.
- Attending the hospitality committee and planning fellowship events.
- Supporting the Leadership of the 18-30 (Young Adults) group and participating in and encouraging that group.
- To participate when needed in the formation and education program of the parish such as teaching a class or bible study, and leading groups for children, young people, or adults as appropriate; working with the Theologian in Residence as necessary.
- Coordinate with the Associate Rector, Director of Communications, and the Website Manager in the timely release of information, including social media.
- Oversee the production of the monthly liturgical rota, liaising with the Vergers’ Department and the Rector’s office.
- Checking the email account ‘email@example.com’ and responding to enquiries, passing them to the appropriate person to follow up.
- Act as chaplain to the Guild of Acolytes.
Note: During the pandemic, there have been a number of on-line initiatives that the previous Associate for Pastoral Care initiated or collaborated with, namely, Weekly Young Adult Fellowship and Compline, weekly evening prayer and meditation with Sr. Promise, and monthly rosary with the head lector.
Skills and Abilities
- Gifted in preaching and teaching, especially in making connections between the Gospel and the real world.
- Committed to formal liturgy in an Anglo-Catholic style.
- Open to a variety of forms of worship and spirituality.
- Calling to parish ministry and to care for the small and large events in parishioners’ lives.
- Ability to work well with a diverse group of people.
- Pro-active and highly-organized.
- Skilled organizer of both people and logistics.
- Team-player who does not work in isolation and can comfortably assist others or take on responsibility for other areas of parish life as necessary and for the good of the team.
- Ordained within the Episcopal Church with post graduate degree.
- Experience of providing pastoral care to a diverse group of people.
- Experience of working with lay volunteers.
- Committed to his or her own professional development.
- A confident liturgical singer.