Saint John’s Search Committee Report

In early June 2016, the search committee launched the process for the selection of a new rector for St. John’s. The committee has been meeting weekly, working on the self-study phase to identify and describe St. John’s, its ministries and the Ithaca community. The committee will conclude this first phase by producing a parish profile in September. The profile will be based on a “spiritual genealogy” (the story of St. John’s corporate journey of faith) conducted in mid-August, and in larger part, on input received in focus group sessions, primarily with parishioners, but also with community groups that have a relationship with St. John’s (e.g., Loaves & Fishes, ACT, Kitchen Cupboard, Episcopal Church at Cornell, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, etc.). Focus groups were chosen over surveys, since in addition to gathering data, they also help build relationships and community by encouraging people to talk to each other. The committee expects to complete the profile in September and will then present the profile to the St. John’s Vestry and the diocesan Office of Transition Ministry. When approved, the profile will be published on the church website and available to potential rectors for St. John’s.

Self-introductions from the eight members of St. John’s Search Committee

Marcia J. Baum (Committee Chair): It makes me proud, and it feels good, to say that St. John’s is my home church! The church my family began attending in 1965, when I was 7 years old. The church where my siblings and I were members of the Sunday school and Youth group, were acolytes and were confirmed. The church where I raised my two daughters and introduced three grandboys-of-my-heart to the Episcopal church. St. John’s feeds my soul with the teachings and Word of God and the fellowship with my church family.

Peg Coleman: I transferred my membership to St. John’s from St. Matthew’s Liverpool in 2011 after I married a man from nearby Groton, NY. I had served on one rector search committee in the Diocese of Washington many years ago, and I look forward to working with this search committee. Here at St. John’s, I serve as a lay liturgical Eucharistic minister (LLEM) and participate regularly in adult formation and fellowship activities. In 2012, I began serving as co-mentor of Education for Ministry (EfM) with Jim Johnson, and in 2015, I began serving as EfM Coordinator for the Diocese of Central NY. I am pleased to be working on broader issues of parish life this year as the committee begins the work of self-study, developing a profile, and discerning who from a pool of candidates is called to lead St. John’s into the next phase of our journey.

Amber Crowley: I came to St. John’s in the summer of 2002, after my first year as an undergraduate at Cornell University. Since then, I have served as an acolyte, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, clerk of the vestry, and director of and ringer in the bell choir. I have also been part of several adult formation classes and have studied the first two years of EfM. St. John’s has been my spiritual home for 15 years, and I look forward to serving as part of the search committee.

Hugh Hurlbut: I first came to St. John’s with my parents in the early 1930s; when my parents left Ithaca, obviously I left with them. I came back to Ithaca in the early 1950s to attend Ithaca College and I started coming back to St. John’s. Shortly after that, I was married in the Episcopal Church in Addison NY, but then my wife and I lived here in Ithaca, and I have continued since the mid 1950s to attend St. John’s. I go to church to pray because I think I need it.

John Jackson: From childhood, I grew up as part of a couple of parishes of the Philippine Episcopal Church community for four decades. When I came to Ithaca, participating in the Episcopal Church at Cornell and St. John’s faith communities came pretty naturally to me. My spouse belongs to another faith tradition, and for some years our family worshiped at Christ Chapel, a church that welcomed, loved, and embraced us as family and neighbors. But I missed my deep Episcopal roots, and I eventually settled at St. John’s.

Jim Johnson: I have been attending St John’s since 1988. I came here because my ex-wife inherited the Friends Meeting and I was in search of a worship home. I came to St John’s because I knew that it was the home of Loaves and Fishes. At that first service I felt welcomed and immediately felt at home. Since that time I have volunteered at L&F, taught the special adult Sunday school, sung in the choir, been on vestry, been a warden, for many years I chaired the property committee and I currently am the recording mentor of the ongoing EfM group.

Michael Roman: I was baptized in my father’s Roman Catholic church, but since my mother was an Episcopalian and the one who went to church, I grew up going to the Episcopal church. After some time away from the church (and some prompting from God), I decided to shop around for a church. I tried St. John’s first, because I grew up Episcopal, and I thought I should try to get some not-Cornell into my life. I never left. I met my wife Margaret at St. John’s, we got married here, our children were baptized here and have grown up here. Some years ago, someone asked me why I went to St. John’s, and my reaction, before I could think, was “I belong here.” I will do my best to understand what St. John’s wants and needs in its next rector, and to represent the parish as fairly and completely as I can.

Cora Yao: In 2009, I was a registered nurse living in Owings Mills, Md. When I retired that August, I decided to move to Ithaca, NY, because my daughter’s family lived here. She had two boys in elementary school, and I wanted to get to know them better. I joined the Episcopal Church in 1985, after I met my future husband, who was reared in Shanghai, China, as an Episcopalian. I especially found the liturgy to my liking, although I had been reared as a southern Baptist I found St. John’s shortly after arriving in Ithaca, and have been involved ever since. I want to strengthen the worship experience at Saint John’s and support growth of each person in Christ.