Our Parish Profile document is available online here.
Rector Search Committee:
Eleanor Dixon (Chair), Mike Croteau, Carol Haight-Liebler, Barbara King, Becky Locuson, Fred Malik, and George Watson (Senior Warden)
Thanks Be To Our Great God
November 10, 2019
The Vestry of Christ Church Vero Beach is pleased to announce that The Rev. Canon B. Keith Allen has accepted the call to serve as our fourth rector and will begin serving in mid-January, 2020.
“We are grateful to God for leading our Rector Search Committee to Fr. Keith as He was simultaneously leading Fr. Keith to Christ Church," said Eleanor Dixon, Search Committee Chairman. "He brings a set of skills and gifts that God knows are suited for our parish, with experiences that are varied, compelling, and fully directed by God."
Since 2010, Fr. Keith Allen has served as Rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Madison, Miss. His Anglican ministry began in 2004 as the Church Planter and Vicar for Church of the Holy Spirit – The River in Blacksburg, Va. He later served as Executive and Teaching Pastor for Church of the Holy Spirit, Roanoke, Va. Brought up as a Southern Baptist, Fr. Keith began his Christian ministry in 1990, working in various staff positions in Southern Baptist churches throughout the Carolinas.
Currently, Fr. Keith Allen is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree in Organizational Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary. He holds a Master’s degree in Global Studies from Liberty University School of Divinity and a B.A. in Biblical Studies with Language from Southeastern Baptist Theological College.
Since 2017, Fr. Keith Allen has served as the Anglican Church in North America’s (ACNA) Provincial Canon for Myanmar. In addition, he was Dean for the Mid-South Anglican Convocation (ADOTS) 2012 to 2016, Chairman of the Board for Rwanda Ministry Partners in 2016, and a Board Member for Anglicans for Life, 2011 to 2014.
Fr. Keith and his wife, Kim, are originally from Jacksonville, Fla., and will be moving to Vero Beach with their adult son, John Calvin, after the holidays.
Please continue to cover them specifically in your prayers for the many tasks and decisions involved in relocating and beginning a new season of ministry in our parish and community. Pray also for the people of Holy Trinity Church who are now in a leadership transition, and for our congregation to welcome Fr. Keith and Kim Allen with support and openness to his Godly leadership and teaching.
October 17, 2019
by Eleanor Dixon
This time last year we were preparing to begin our Rector search, and earlier this year we began screening applications and interviewing promising candidates. Some might wonder why the process seems to move so slowly and last so long. Are we searching for a needle in a haystack? Yes and no. Yes, we seek one particular shepherd whom God has appointed for this place at this time, but our pool of applicants is relatively small to begin with – certainly no haystack.
There are just over 1000 congregations in 30 dioceses in the ACNA. It sounds like a lot – a vast sea of possibilities – until you realize that average attendance is about 80 people, and the typical Anglican church in this country has about 40 or 50 congregants. A parish with our size and resources is not the norm, and the number of qualified clergy seeking such a position is limited.
We are certainly not lacking suitable candidates – in fact, quite the opposite. But the scope of the search strictly from a numbers standpoint may be surprising to some. Rather than the haystack metaphor, consider the search as more along the lines of beachcombing for sea glass.
Imagine that God's people are like grains of sand on the seashore, and that Christian clergy are represented by the shells and trinkets scattered along the beach. Anglican clergy is a small subset of that array, perhaps the small pieces of ocean-tumbled glass in various colors, and the one we seek to be our Rector is rarer still. As a sea glass collector, I'll sometimes stop to examine a beautiful shell or pick up a hard-to-find shark's tooth, but my focus is quite particular. I'm looking for the uncommon along a vast stretch of beach. While I am happy to collect the typical brown sea glass, and I rejoice when I find the less common green or clear, what I really seek is the rare sliver of blue, and I search with joy and hope and expectation.
We continue to exercise our faith that God is directing our attention to the one He has prepared to serve as our next shepherd. Please continue to pray for Christ Church as the search committee and Vestry interview and meet with a candidate over the next couple weeks.
October 3, 2019
by Eleanor Dixon
While I don’t yet know the identity of our next Rector, I can tell you this: he will be an excellent preacher! Our congregation places a high value on “passionate and inspiring Biblically-based teaching and preaching,” and modern technology allows the Search Committee access to an unlimited number of sermons delivered by Rector candidates. One of the many blessings realized as the committee perseveres in its responsibility is the personal edification and strengthening by the Holy Spirit inherent in the task of screening preachers and discerning candidates’ qualifications. While sound preaching is certainly not the only characteristic we seek, I eagerly anticipate that our next Rector, whomever he may be, will capably continue the level of excellence Christ Church has been blessed to enjoy and expect from the pulpit. As we resume the interview process with a new round of candidates, I am encouraged and hopeful that one of the voices becoming familiar in my headphones will before too long become familiar in our congregation and community.
September 11, 2019
by Eleanor Dixon
We’re happy to report that Dorian caused no interruption or delay in the work of the Search Committee. Our focus at present is on two promising candidates among a resurgence of applications recently received through multiple channels. It is a blessing to read a wide variety of resumés, with individual testimonies and accounts of the body of Christ at work the world over, reminding us of God’s simultaneous global sovereignty and localized presence. Almost all of the respondents, regardless of their suitability to be our Rector, assure us of and encourage us with their prayers for God’s will to be done here in Vero Beach. Even as we all pray for the revealing of our intended shepherd, we pray also for the ministries of those we encounter, however briefly, through this search process.
August 2019 - Next Steps
by Eleanor Dixon and George Watson
As a congregation we are thankful to God that Fr. Bob Stull is serving as Interim Rector as the RSC continues the search for a long term shepherd for our flock. We are also grateful for Fr. Woody Volland, who preached God's Word to us the past couple weeks, reminding us that God has something "utterly amazing" in store for us, and exhorting us to "worship while we wait."
Together with Bishop Lebhar and Vestry, the committee has reviewed our progress to date, evaluated the process of attracting and vetting applicants, and is anticipating a new pool of candidates in the coming weeks.
Parishioners are welcome to direct potential candidates to our website for information on the application process. If you know a priest whom you believe would be a good fit for Christ Church, by all means encourage him to review our Parish Profile and contact us if he is interested in exploring the opportunity to serve here.
July 2019 - Following Where God Leads Us
by Eleanor Dixon
Thank you, Christ Church, for your faithful prayers in our search process for the next Rector. We believe God is on the move and directing our steps. Our committee has reviewed the credentials and materials of 17 applicants, which we narrowed down to three strong candidates. After a prayerful and in-depth interview process, we were unanimous in recommending to Vestry the one who best understood the mission and ministry of our parish, expressed strategies for our future growth, and who exemplified the key characteristics we seek in a leader, based upon your input during our parish survey last fall. Vestry, likewise unanimous, extended a formal call, but after several weeks of prayer and discernment by the candidate, he decided to decline the opportunity.
While this is not the response we expected, we know that God has answered our prayers to intervene if our chosen candidate is not His chosen servant for Christ Church. We see this as the Lord's gracious will, and we trust in His continued guidance for the RSC and Christ Church as we continue to seek the Rector God has planned for us. This week, Senior Warden George Watson and I will confer with Bishop Neil Lebhar about the selection of an Interim Rector to serve 6-12 months while the RSC reconvenes to identify new candidates in our search for the one God is preparing to serve as our next Rector. We thank God that He is leading us from strength to strength, and that we have a capable staff, dedicated members, and the Lord as our faithful pastor. We know God is working on our behalf and that it is His timetable to which we will adjust, and His will to which we submit. More immediately, as of July 13 and until an Interim Rector is hired, the Senior Warden will assume the role and responsibilities involving temporal, administrative decisions related to our church, and Fr. Bob Stull will be Priest-in-Charge and responsible for spiritual matters. Please continue to pray for the leadership and staff of Christ Church, that God will grant them wisdom and stamina and good health as they continue serving Him and you and our community by His grace and love. On Sunday, July 14, we will host a Q&A session following the Classic Blend service to provide you with more details, and members of the Vestry will also be available following the 9.23 Modern service for those who may have questions or concerns.
Blessings and peace in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
June 2019 Update - Waiting On God's Timing
by Eleanor Dixon, Search Committee Chair
Since my report a few weeks ago, the Search Committee made a unanimous recommendation to Vestry, which the Vestry in turn unanimously affirmed. Sr. Warden George Watson has extended the call, and we are in frequent contact with our Rector candidate, answering questions and offering support as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide his decision.
May was a month of miracles as God kept us busy and deftly orchestrated a seemingly impossible-to-coordinate schedule of interviews, travel, and meetings. Now the dizzying pace has slowed, and we wait patiently on His timing. While we're eager for a "yes," we are grateful that our candidate continues to pray, ask, discuss, and discern, rather than offering a hasty or premature response. In the end there will be no doubt about God's will for the candidate and for Christ Church.
As I was reflecting how this phase of the search process feels like a slow, steady ascent – one deliberate step at a time – I was reminded of the prayer that George Jones wrote and shared with the Intercessory Prayer Team and the Search Committee last fall. I invite you to join us in this prayer, based on the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), and meditate on these Psalms, as we anticipate God's blessing and revelation.
Unless the Lord builds Christ Church, the congregation labors in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over this congregation, the Search Committee and Vestry stand guard in vain.
Christ Church will be blessed if all fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord;
Oh, Lord, hear our voice. Let your ears be attentive to our cry for mercy. Let us clearly recognize Your next anointed pastor for Christ Church and open our arms wide to receive him and his family.
We wait for the Lord, and in His words we put our hope.
We look forward to Your bringing this congregation into unity, for how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity.
In Jesus' precious name we pray. Amen.
April 2019 Update - Now Reviewing Church Rector Applications
by Eleanor Dixon and George Watson
Since January 1, we have received more than a dozen applications. We have prayed over and reviewed each one, searching for that man whom God is preparing for us.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, we have narrowed the focus to three candidates, all eminently qualified, Godly ministers, and each of whom would be a capable pastor for Christ Church. First-round interviews and reference checks are complete, and two of the three have made an informal visit to Vero Beach.
The Committee was blessed to meet with Bishop Lebhar during his recent visit, and we continue to work closely with him as we get to know the candidates and develop a clearer understanding of their gifts.
We ask for your continued support and committed prayer as we move forward in this discernment process.
March 2019 Update
by Eleanor Dixon
The Rector Search Committee is actively seeking and receiving candidate applications. The task of developing the Parish Profile is behind us; the document is posted on our website, and printed copies are available in the Welcome Center.
Now we turn to reviewing, interviewing, deliberating, and discerning, all of which will culminate in a recommendation to the Vestry later this year. At the Annual Meeting in January, I offered “Three 3’s” as information and encouragement to the congregation:
What we’re not looking for in a Rector
someone ready to coast toward retirement in a coastal community
someone who might see our building as an idol rather than a God-given gift to facilitate ministry and mission
someone blind to our kingdom momentum, who might prefer to build a ministry from a blank slate
What we are looking for in a Rector
first and foremost, the reflection of Jesus; someone who preaches, teaches, and walks in the Word of God
someone who understands the reality of our present-day culture; one who’s creative, adaptive, and bold without forsaking our traditions and values
someone who is excited by our multi-faceted ministry, who can help us preserve our classical/contemporary balance while leading us forward
Why we shouldn’t fret
God is in control. We firmly believe that God has already appointed our next Rector, and we refuse to be motivated by anything other than the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our search is not the result of a crisis or unexpected vacancy. On the contrary, we have the blessing and benefit of vital, vibrant, familiar, and beloved pastoral leadership and care to guide us.
The entire process is grounded in and covered by faithful prayer, in which we hope you’ll be a continuing partner. We ask you to keep the committee, the search, the future Rector, and Christ Church in your prayers.
Please feel free to contact me or any other member of this committee with your questions or concerns.
December 2018 Update - On Being Prayerful and Patient
by Eleanor Dixon
The Vestry and Rector Search Committee of Christ Church continue to follow the Rector Succession Plan established in 2016 that has provided us with a road map for a transition in leadership. We are blessed to be undergoing this process in the favorable scenario of having a healthy rector who continues to serve and lead our parish up through his planned retirement in 2019.
Our work began in June with discerning prayer and study, which has and will continue through this lengthy process. The task of compiling an accurate and comprehensive yet concise “parish profile" is nearly complete. Valuable input from the recent survey has helped guide this undertaking, and the finishing touches are being added so that we can clearly communicate to potential rector candidates who we are and what we’re looking for. We are purposely waiting until after the first of the year to recruit and consider candidate applications. This phase of the process will begin in January 2019, and we anticipate that the selection process will be underway soon after, with the goal of calling our new rector this summer. However, we also yield to God's timing.
We ask you, members of Christ Church, to please remember that rector selection takes at least one year in most churches. The Rector Search Committee is on task, and the process is on schedule, if not ahead. Please be patient and prayerful, as finding a rector is no regular hiring decision. Also, we encourage you to remain active and engaged in ministry, trusting in God's guidance and faithfulness to provide all that we need according to His sovereign will. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please feel free to contact me, Eleanor Dixon, by e-mail , or in person on Sunday mornings.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. - Galatians 6:9
Canoeing the Mountains
by Becky Locuson, Committee Member
Imagine what it must have been like for explorers Lewis and Clark trekking the wilderness with canoes, expecting to find a waterway linking the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean, only to summit a hill and find instead a seemingly endless stretch of mountains ahead ofthem! Equipped for water exploration and not mountain backpacking, they could have turned back. Instead, they “left behind their canoes and found new navigational tools,” forging ahead to complete one of the most amazing mapping adventures and voyages of discovery known to man. The search committee would like to share the wonderful book we’re reading as we begin the process of discovering the person God will call to be our next rector. In Canoeing the Mountains, author Tod Bolsinger offers insightful observations and tools for church leaders who wish to imagine new ways of leading their congregations into a rapidly changing world while holding firmly to the gospel message of Christ Jesus. We invite you to join us by getting and reading your own copy of the book and uniting with us in prayer for the discovery of who God will send as our next Rector.
Please Pray Daily for Our Future Rector
Gracious Father, as Christ Church searches for its fourth Rector, we find peace and hope in knowing that You are now preparing a man after your own heart to serve as our future pastor. Grant wisdom and patience to the members of our Vestry and Search Committee, guiding them through the discernment process by your Holy Spirit. As they trust in your goodness and grace, assist them in discovering that faithful shepherd You have anointed to lead Christ Church into its next season of mission and ministry. This we ask for your glory, in the mighty name of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.
Search Committee Appointed
Thank you to those who responded to the call for Search Committee members. The Vestry has approved the following panel, which has begun the process of identifying and calling the 4th Rector of Christ Church Vero Beach:
Mike Croteau, Eleanor Dixon (Chair), Barbara King, Carol Haight-Liebler, Becky Locuson, Fred Malik, George Watson.
Please continue to pray daily for these individuals, that by God’s grace this committee may be empowered by the Holy Spirit for the task set before them.