Beloved in Christ,
This past Sunday, June 23, in the spirit of transparency, the Vestry and I shared with those who were present upcoming plans in the future life for Church of the Apostles.
Flowing from our scriptures for the day, (Acts 13:13-26, Luke 8:22-25) and our message, we rejoice in how God provides for the leadership for His people in every generation and place because he is the one who is sovereign over all. We can and should depend upon him and him only. I shared how in the past several months, the Lord has put on my heart and Beth’s heart, that He is raising up a new pastoral leader for Apostles, and I would need to prepare the way, and in God’s good time step down, to provide for a gentle and life-giving transition for the church, and this younger leader.
The Lord has impressed upon me that what we’ve been doing together over the past seven years is what was needed (refocusing the mission and vision of the church to intentionally spread the Gospel in the community He’s given us, (Fairfax and GMU) and as part of that, build a new building from which that would happen.) But, a new leader with different gifting from the next generation is what will be needed in the next chapter of the life of Church of the Apostles, and we should have that leader in place close to the time we transition into our new space. Accordingly, we have advertised for a Rector Coadjutor, a new leader to come on board who I will work closely with over the coming months who will then take over as rector as I step aside.
The Lord has impressed upon my heart that He is already raising up our next rector, from the next generation, a younger person poised to reach the next generation in a more effective way than I can. I believe God called me for a purpose at Apostles, and that purpose and season for me is coming to a close. I have been a transitional kind of long-term interim rector to transition this church from who we were to where we are going. I believe we’ve made a good start on that with a renewed mission and vision and new ways to be anchored in this community. This is happening relationally in many good ways, (Campus Church, Willow Springs Community) and of course with a sense of place in our new home. I am excited about Apostles’ future. I believe my leaving in this way, transitionally, will be a gift to this church to serve it well for years to come.
The search committee is formed and beginning their work of vetting candidates. The goal of which is to select the rector coadjutor who will be chosen by the vestry to come on staff, hopefully before the end of 2019. It is the bishop’s recommendation that this person will serve for 3 to 6 months alongside me in all aspects of leadership in the church. At the end of that time this person will take over as rector and I will resign.
I hope to use the next year to help transition the congregation and our new rector to live into the vision God has given us to be a community based church, a missionary outpost and healing community sharing God’s love in the part of FAIRFAX, our Lord has given us. As part of that, of course, I’ll be intrinsically involved with the completion of our building project and transition into that new space, with all that involves.
For clarity’s sake, we’ve outlined the plan of the timeline, with the caveat of course that the Lord may see fit to change our plans. We have and will continue to proceed prayerfully under His guidance on all things.
Faith hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor. 13:13)
- Joseph Acanfora
Note: These time frames are approximate.
June – October, 2019: Search Committee of the Vestry will vet, interview, and by God’s grace select a candidate presenting that person to the full vestry for approval.
September – December, 2019: The Vestry will issue the call to the Rector Coadjutor, and upon acceptance, will set a start date.
November 2019 – February, 2020: Rector Coadjutor to begin and work for roughly 3-6 months with current Rector Acanfora in all aspects of Pastoral leadership for Church of the Apostles and Apostles Campus Church.
April – July 2020: Rector coadjutor to be installed as rector and Acanfora to step down.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is Joe leaving? What is God’s purpose in this?
A: As Joe explained in his announcement, there is a time and season for all things. Throughout the Bible, we have many examples of God raising up leaders for His time and His purpose. As Christians, we are told that the Church is one body, the Body of Christ, and God has given us different gifts for His time and purpose--Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything there is a time and a season” and 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 tells us that “…some plant, some water, and God gives the growth.” While we will miss Joe, the Vestry has prayed over this change and accepts Joe’s decision as God’s purpose and timing.
Q: Is this the right time for such a change with the imminent move to our new building? It’s a lot of change.
A: The Vestry prayerfully recognizes and accepts that Joe’s role and time with Church of the Apostles is coming to an end. Joe is filling God’s will in establishing and unifying us in our mission and vision, teaching us how to be a “Church in Community”—meeting the needs of the community around us, operating in the gifts of the Spirit, and discipling others. In addition, Joe’s business acumen has been critical and instrumental in bringing us to the place God has for us as our “Missionary Outpost” for spreading the Gospel.
Now, God is raising up a new Rector to lead us in the implementation of our mission and vision. We need to pray for unity in how and where God will continue to lead us in our mission work and ask him to reveal our role in supporting His Devine Purpose in this change. The Vestry, along with Joe, believes it is important to have the new Rector Coadjutor onboard, if possible, as we move into our new building. Joe will be with us during this time, and there will be a transition period wherein Joe will continue to support us and work with the new Rector Coadjutor (Co-assister). This will present less change for all of us in moving forward.
Q: What is the length of the transition period?
A: Our Diocese is supporting us and has advised us that long transition periods do not serve churches well. In accordance with their advice, we are planning for a transition period of roughly 3- 6 months, once the Coadjutor comes on board. So, Joe will be with us for close to another year.
Q: What is the timeline for bringing the Rector Coadjutor on board?
A: We have a number of good applicants, and it is our hope that the Search Committee will present the vestry with its recommendation in early fall. We also hope that God will open the door for the new Rector Coadjutor to join us close to the time we have the first service in our new building on Lee Highway.
Q: Who is on the Search Committee and what is the Status?
A: Bill Bremmer chairs the Search Committee. Committee Members include: Tyler Aberle, Andrew Burgess, Philip Chakram, Jack Colligan, Bill Collins, Emily Rusch, and Tawnia Wheeler.
We started out with more than 30 applicants and the Search Committee is in the process of narrowing the field. The Committee is looking especially for attributes of openness and leading in three streams commitment in the Anglican Church tradition in full support of the mission and vision that Church of the Apostles is living into. The Search Committee will provide the Vestry with Progress Reports. We have highly qualified applicants within the Anglican community among the applications we have received.
Q: Will there be a change in our current mission and vision?
A: As the job announcement notes, we are looking for someone who fully embraces the culture of Church of the Apostles and who would be Pastor to our congregation and wider community, extending God’s love, grace, mercy, and truth.
The Rector Coadjutor would collaborate with church leadership and work with the leaders of various ministries at Apostles, with the purpose of fulfilling our Mission and Vision. The Rector Coadjutor would be responsible for ensuring that all programs adhere to all Church of the Apostles and Diocesan Policies and that our programs work in accordance with our mission and vision.
Q: What type of person/background are we seeking? Will the new Rector Coadjutor support our Three Streams theology?
A: Our Rector Coadjutor job description states as a qualification and requirement that the candidate must have a commitment to the Three Streams, One Riverexpression of worship, fully embracing these three streams--Sacramental/Catholic, Holy Spirit/ Charismatic, and Biblical/Evangelical—in balance as we worship one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Here are some of the qualifications we are seeking (see job description for complete information):
Strong faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Open to the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit, anticipating the miraculous works of God.
Great passion for bringing the lost to faith and helping believers to grow in Christ, including an understanding of, or acquaintance with, other faith traditions, particularly of those whom we seek to reach in our diverse surrounding community.
Enthusiastic teacher and leader, able to motivate others.
Ordained to Holy Orders in the office of Priest in the Anglican Church in North America, or be eligible for transfer into the ACNA.
Visionary leader who can shepherd the congregation toward effective, long-term ministry in our new location.
Comfort in engaging people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.
Ability to work well with Vestry and lead a cohesive team.
Also desired are:
Minimum of 5 years serving in a leadership capacity in a congregational/parish setting.
Strong organizational skills with an ability to delegate responsibilities. appropriately.
Some high school/college ministry experience is desirable.
Foreign language competence beneficial but not required.
Willingness to receive continuing training and coaching.
Q: What does this mean for the Associate/Youth/Campus Pastor position we were planning to fill? And, the funding for this position?
A: The Rector Coadjutor will serve as the overall leader of our campus church and youth ministries as well as worship, discipleship, and other ministries and activities of the wider congregation and local community. (See Job Description)
Funds are available in the 2019 and 2020 budgets to cover Youth and Campus Pastor responsibilities during the 6-month transition period when we will have both Joe and the new Rector Coadjutor on board. We expect our congregation and associated giving to grow in 2020, and commensurate with this growth, we will revisit our budget and funding for a new Youth/Campus Pastor position.
Q: How can we support the leadership of Church of the Apostles during this transition period? It’s a bitter-sweet time for us all.
A: We can be praying over the selection and calling of our next Rector, and we can pray for God to put into this person a deep desire to be our next leader.
Listen to Sunday’s Announcement
If you’d like to hear a recording of the announcement made on Sunday, you can listen to it below.