In a letter to the parish dated July 12, 2018, Father John Reeves announced his retirement as Holy Trinity Orthodox Church’s rector effective on or before the end of the civil year (December 31, 2018). He is the parish’s first rector and has been such for more than 20 years, having arrived in State College in 1996.
According to canon and best practices, neither the outgoing rector nor the Parish Council selects his replacement. However, the parish should and will have input on the characteristics and qualities needed in Fr. John’s successor. To accomplish this goal, a team consisting of Justin Houser, Samar Al Maalouf, Katya Fedkin, Evan Kerstetter, Ravi Patel, Kyra Quinn, Mark Radomsky, David Swisher, Melody Thompson, and Holly Torbic was formed.
The first meeting of the Transition Team took place on Wednesday, August 22 at 7 p.m. in Trinity House. At the meeting, our Dean Fr. Mark Meholick led the group in a review of the parish’s mission and vision. The team then discussed which characteristics the next rector should have in order to ensure the continuation and advancement of Holy Trinity’s core values—the six “-ships” of Apostleship, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Stewardship, and Partnership.
As a result of the meeting, the Transition Team determined the following timetable:
- August 22: Create a draft list of characteristics that a priest assuming the role of Holy Trinity’s rector should have.
- August 31: Mail a letter to the parish’s membership sharing the draft clergy profile and solicit feedback from the parish.
- September 14: The due date for parishioner responses.
- September 19, 7 p.m.: The transition team will gather in a final open meeting at Trinity House Ministry Center to review the member feedback and make any necessary adjustments to the clergy profile.
- September 20: The finished product will be given to His Eminence by Fr. Mark immediately following this forum.
Draft Clergy Profile
- Unites people from various backgrounds through Faith in Christ.
- Has faith and confidence in Christ.
- Emphasizes Christian Orthodoxy through the life of the Church and his personal life.
- Pastoral Leader
- Loves and cares for his flock.
- Takes time to get to know his parishioners.
- Capable of pastoral counseling and refer to specialists when needed.
- Good with Liturgics.
- Continues to grow our Parish.
- Able to advise people of different ages and backgrounds.
- Not a “careerist,” i.e., one who would make our parish his home.
- “Cosmopolitan,” i.e., can relate to people from many different cultures and countries.
- Projects strength but is willing to share glory with other clergy.
- Good human relations skills.
- Approachable, sociable.
- Good listener.
- Has a sense of humor.
- Not intimidated by parishioners with higher academic credentials.
- Respects and loves all people equally.
- Respects people of various backgrounds.
- Not thin-skinned.
- Accepts the vision of our Parish.
- Facilitates growth.
- Evangelically motivated.
- Supports Holy Trinity’s mission to Penn State University.
- Good Preacher
- Captures the attention of people from different backgrounds of life and faith.
- Good Administrator
- Has the ability to lead and grow the different ministries at Holy Trinity.
- Supports the growth of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
- Supports the Orthodox Christian Fellowship.
- Has an understanding of financial matters.
- Not a micromanager yet actively engaged.
- Can delegate tasks to others.
- Familiar with and open to technology.
- Ability to adapt to managing a relatively large parish.
Note: The characteristics above describe a “perfect priest.” However, we understand that no one is perfect and there may be no “perfect” fit; but a priest whose life, preaching, teaching, mission, and worship is centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ will always be a “good” fit. We have a responsibility to also welcome the new priest, get to know him, love him, and work with him to continue Building our Church Beyond Our Parish.