To aid the parish in transitioning from a long pastorate to what we pray will be another, Fr. David Smith, Priest-in-Charge of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, was hired by the Parish Council as Interim Priest last month. Father David begins a six-month assignment on March 11, the start of Great Lent.
According to Church best practice, an Interim Priest is a clergyman with parish experience who provides pastoral guidance and support to parishes that are between rectors. He creates an atmosphere for the parish to rediscover its mission, vision, and identity while ensuring the community continues its ministry and outreach, as opposed to “coasting” until the new rector arrives. The Interim Priest is not a candidate for the permanent position; instead his charge is to help the new rector assume his role smoothly and effectively.
Father David will be available for pastoral appointments in his Trinity House office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. He will hear the confessions of all the members of the parish—Wednesdays at Holy Trinity and Saturdays at the Chapel. Moreover, his position allows Holy Trinity to conduct weekday services such as Annunciation and other Feasts according to its regular practice, including Clean Week, Holy Week, and Bright Week. On the condition of both our local clergy and the Archdiocese, neither Fr. David’s care of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, nor its current Saturday-Sunday liturgical schedule, will be disrupted. God has planted His vineyard in Snyder County and now is not the time to uproot it, a mere few years before it too can support a full-time priest.
The plan to hire a transitional priest originated as one of three proposals presented by His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek to the Transition Team during their meetings late last year. As Lent 2019 drew near, this course of action grew in favor as it allows the new rector (who remains known only to God) to move between school years instead of during a time of intense preparation for the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ. Last month, Fr. David sought and received the blessing of His Eminence to serve as Interim. A proposal was then drafted by our local clergy and presented to the Parish Council at its regular February meeting. To aid the Council in making its decision, more than 50 members of the parish offered their feedback at a “Town Hall” meeting that was simulcast live via video and telephone. Hearing unanimous support, Council convened immediately thereafter to hire Fr. David.
The parish asks for your fervent prayers, especially for His Eminence as he vets and assigns the new rector (who will begin September 1); and for Fr. David, who will lead the parish in preparing for his pastorate.