Transition and Search

  • Installation of 2023 Vestry Members

Dear Beloved Congregants of Grace Church Bath,

After a six month search process, today, the Vestry JOYFULLY announces that Reverend Misty Kiwak Jacobs will be the next Rector of Grace Episcopal Church effective Shrove Tuesday, February 13, 2024. (We will have a celebratory dinner that evening at 5:30 PM in Tubbs Hall!!)  After reviewing Misty’s application and interviewing her on Zoom, the Discernment Committee voted unanimously to forward her name to the Vestry. The Vestry checked references, and interviewed Misty on Zoom and in person during a visit to Bath. The Vestry voted unanimously to call Misty as the next rector and forwarded her name to the Bishop, who wholeheartedly supported the Vestry’s choice! The Letter of Agreement was signed by Misty, the wardens, and the Bishop on Friday!!! 

At its retreat last spring, the parish decided the key characteristics we wanted in our next rector are: “compassion, active listener, flexible, and enthusiastic”.  Misty exhibits each of these! The Discernment Committee’s letter to the Vestry (excerpted below) forwarding Misty’s name to the Vestry gives a wonderful summary:

“The Discernment Committee is pleased to recommend to the Vestry the Reverend Misty Kiwak Jacobs, newly ordained in October 2023. She attended Yale Divinity School for her Master of Sacred Theology in Homiletics and her Master of Divinity. She is currently at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown, MA, where she has served since March 2022 as a Postulant Intern and now Curate. She stood in for the Rector during his sabbatical, doing all the parish work, preaching, pastoral care, and parish administration. She is also an accomplished writer who has garnered awards for fiction, non-fiction, essays, and poetry. She has two grown children and she and her partner, a retired Theology Professor, (to be married soon) are wanting to move to Maine to be closer to his family. “            

“We interviewed her and found her relaxed, thoughtful, and approachable. She was humble yet confident and had an easy way about sharing her personal life while maintaining great professionalism.  She demonstrated excellent communication skills in the interview and in her sermons, both delivery and content. Her experience as a Chaplain focused on children, older adults, and even a Spanish community during Covid. She is fluent in multiple languages. She has a strong social media presence which would enhance the potential of Grace’s visibility in our own community.”  

“She describes herself as organized and one who is collaborative in working or leading others. She has studied the Anglican tradition and is optimistic about its future. In terms of liturgy, she would be flexible while still honoring traditional practices. She is a very good speaker and works hard and thoughtfully on her sermons and this is well demonstrated in the sermons we have observed.”

“This would be Misty’s first church as Rector. We all agreed that this might be a good thing, with her youth, energy, and excitement of leading or “walking alongside” the Grace congregation. As a reminder, the Reverend Canon Michael Ambler served at Grace, which was his first Rector position. Misty could bring the fresh energy and engagement that could support many at Grace who are eager to grow and evolve within the Bath community and beyond.”  

As we rejoice in this wonderful news, we must say an enormous thanks to God for the members of the Preparation, Discernment, Prayer, and Hospitality Committees for all of the hard work and prayer they put into the search. Every part of their effort, along with the prayers and input on the process from the congregation, resulted in the success of this search. We also know that Pam’s steady and experienced guidance was essential. Holding all of us together in Love and with us every step of the way, was the ever-present Holy Spirit!! Thanks be to God!!!

Next Sunday, December 31, we will begin the service at 9:30 with Pam talking with Misty (on Zoom as she will be celebrating her last service at St. Paul’s in Williamstown) and the congregation. It will move us along to the next step in the transition process to a new rector and chapter in Grace’s history.

This Christmas, with all of the craziness going on in the world, it may seem incongruous to celebrate the joyful calling of a new rector. Perhaps, Howard Thurman, in a poem from his 1973 Mood of Christmas, best captures our joy and hope in Christ at this moment:

“I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.” 
Amen.

Wishing you every good and the Love and Peace of Christ today and every day,

Nancy E. Kinner

Senior Warden

 A prayer during our transition

Gracious God, we thank you for your unfailing presence among us as we prayerfully followed your guidance in our journey to finding and being found by our new Rector. We are grateful for the thoughtful input of the congregation; the dedicated work of the Preparation, Prayer, Hospitality, and Discernment committees throughout this process; and the faithful diligence of the Vestry in making the final decision. In this Christmas season, we offer our heartfelt thanksgiving and deep gratitude for the wonderful gift of Pam’s ministry: her leadership, wisdom, and creativity in helping us to experience the light of joy in one another. Our hearts are full as we bid a loving farewell to Pam and joyfully welcome Misty into our Grace family. We ask for your continued guidance that we may follow a path of love and acceptance during this time of transition and new beginning. May all we do and say be motivated by our steadfast love of Jesus Christ. Amen.