From the Vestry and Search Committee – July 10, 2016
With great enthusiasm for our future, the Vestry and the Search Committee are happy to announce that our search for the next Rector of St. Andrew's has concluded with the call of the Rev. Tommy Thompson. Tommy is currently a Deacon at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Whitemarsh. Tommy, his wife Leslie, son Daniel and daughter Hannah Grace will be joining the St. Andrew's family for worship beginning on August 28th.
The Search Committee’s nomination of Tommy Thompson as the next Rector of St. Andrew’s was both unanimous and enthusiastic. Discerning God’s will for St. Andrew’s and discovering His path forward for us brought us to this exciting milestone in the life of the St. Andrew’s family.
Over the past year, the Search Committee and the congregation of St. Andrew’s worked to develop an understanding of our parish identity, our aspirations for the future, the challenges we face, the opportunities in front of us and the qualities we deemed most important in our next Rector. We also affirmed our mission as a joyful community of God’s faithful people transforming lives by growing in Christ’s love and shining His light into the world through prayer, worship and service.
As we came to know Tommy through the search process, we were all struck by how well his background, abilities, experience, temperament and focus on relationships resonated with our identity and aspirations. Tommy will be able to build on our strengths and meet our challenges head-on. Throughout the search process, in our direct interactions and through the voices of others, it became clear that Tommy possesses both passion and experience in areas that are important to St. Andrew’s - Christian Education, particularly children, youth and families, and Outreach. His approach to worship is consistent with our traditions. He enjoys music and plays guitar.
With 15 years of pastoral experience, Tommy comes to us through a bit of a non- traditional path. He spent the first nine years of his ministry in the Methodist tradition, including three pastoral appointments as an ordained elder. For the past four years, Tommy has been Minister of Christian Formation at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Whitemarsh while pursuing and in June achieving, ordination as a Deacon in the Episcopal Church. His full ordination as an Episcopal priest will, per canonical protocol, take place six months later, likely in December of this year. What a wonderful event that will be here at St. Andrew's as we celebrate Tommy's ordination as an Episcopal priest and an important milestone on the journey of the St. Andrew's family!
Tommy has met with our bishop-elect, Daniel Gutierrez, and is excited about joining us at St. Andrew’s. When asked why St. Andrew’s was a good fit for him, Fr. Tommy responded, “The people. With every new member I meet, I cannot help but to sense the joy that characterizes this parish community. I get the sense that the people of St. Andrew’s are committed to Christ and ready to serve him joyfully. This is the kind of community I want to serve and lead.”
During the period between Tommy’s arrival and ordination as an Episcopal Priest, we will need to make some liturgical accommodations. Specifically, Tommy will not be able to consecrate the bread and wine during the Eucharist and his form of blessing will be a bit different. A number of potential approaches to the services are possible including using a Supply Priest for the consecration. While various approaches are being explored, decisions around how the accommodations will play out for this short interim period likely won’t be finalized until Tommy arrives.
St. Andrew’s is about to embark on an exciting new chapter. We look forward to having Tommy and his family join us to begin writing this next chapter of bringing St. Andrew’s mission to life!
We would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Margie Gebert, Rector’s Warden and member of the Search Committee until her vestry term expired in January 2016. On behalf of St. Andrew’s, the Search Committee is also grateful for the advice, support and guidance of the Rev. Bob Tate, our search consultant and Jill Mathis, the Canon for Transition Ministry of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Finally, the vestry and search committee want to acknowledge and thank Fr. Bob Smith for his time and ministry at St. Andrew’s as Interim Rector.
Vestry Search Committee
Dotti Atwater Dotti Atwater
Chris Bastian, Accounting Warden Bob Bardwell
Jennifer Cordivari, Rector’s Warden Chris Bastian
Jennifer Funaro Jennifer Cordivari
Anne Gayl Frank Dilenschneider, Co-Chair
Jeff Herrera Judy Elliott
Annie Hurtt Geoff McConnell
Heather Kellogg John Rieder
CiCi Lebling Lisa Sordilla, Co-Chair
Elizabeth Mell Allen Spencer
Vic Sordilla Christine Whaley