May 26, 2022

From the Rector Search Committee

Dear Friends in Christ,

Praise the Lord! God has done great things! Father Lonnie Lacy and his wonderful family are coming to St. John’s! This joyful news is the culmination of almost a year of discernment. The Rector Search Committee has been thanked profusely and we are honored that you put your trust in us as we sought God’s guidance. Now it’s our turn to give thanks.

Thank you, God, for leading us to Father Lonnie! We also thank God for leading Father Lonnie to us. Discernment is a two-way process. God can’t simply show us Father Lonnie. Father Lonnie seeks God’s will when deciding if he is called to us. So, to God be the glory!

Thank you, the people of St. John’s! You gave us encouragement and patience, you prayed for us, and you loved us. Father Lonnie will need encouragement, patience, prayers, and love as he begins his ministry at St. John’s and we know you will give him these gifts in abundance.

Thank you, St. John’s staff! Mandy Schnittker provided vital communications between our committee, the church, and the wider world. Lindsay Hardy, Claire Dodd, and Deborah Dugger gave us invaluable support. Alvin Bennett, David Wheeler, and Israel Leonard stayed late many nights waiting for us to finish our work. Fran Doxsee and Vivian Leonard cooked beautiful meals for our kickoff gathering and our applicant interview dinners. Kate Kile and Nancy Barfield reimbursed our travel and food expenses. Angela Shelley guaranteed that we provided regular parish updates at Coffee Talks. Caroline Devitt kept the church Youth active, an important element to rectors who are seeking a healthy parish. Betsy Calhoun, Elizabeth LaJeunesse, and Mike Norris gave the church exceptional music. We can’t tell you how many applicants said they were drawn to St. John’s because of our music! And of course, though not officially a staff member, we have to thank Cindy Sessions, our church treasurer. She’s our “church treasure!”

Thank you, Doug Sessions and Lynn Solomon! Doug was the Senior Warden and Lynn was the Junior Warden when this rector search began. Together they spent countless hours helping to form a search committee of diverse members last summer. After the committee was chosen, Doug selflessly remained with us, attended meetings, and counseled our group wisely.

Thank you, Parish Profile Subcommittee! This subcommittee was made up of search committee members, Corinna Strayer, Brian Arsenault, and Virginia Perkins along with congregation members David Campbell, Cheryle Dodd, Sarah Ball Miller, Pat Peters, and Jennifer Guy. They created a product that told the story of who were are and what we sought in a rector in an engaging and illustrative way. Thanks also goes to Dennis Howard for his incredible photos, Charlie Belvin and Rodrigo Diaz Garcia for the beautiful videography, and Mandy Schnittker for putting it all together. If you haven’t seen the St. John’s profile, we invite you to TAKE A LOOK. So many applicants expressed how excited they were at the possibility of serving at St. John’s after viewing our profile. It certainly impressed Father Lonnie!

Thank you, St. John’s Vestry for your support and faith in our committee. Your leadership through this process helped us feel supported and encouraged. We also thank you for your unanimous vote to call Father Lonnie!

Thank you, Diocese of Florida, especially Canon to the Ordinary, Reverend Allison DeFoor, his assistant, Deanna Peck, Reverend Nancy Suellau, and Bishop John Howard. You trained us on how to interview, supported our process, and approved our call without reservation.

And thank you to Father Bill Trexler, Deacon Joe Bakker, and especially to Mother Abi Moon! You held our congregation together and gifted our committee the space to do our important work in God’s time. Your leadership and love bridged the “in between” time and allowed us to emerge from this search a church united in love.

So, we’ll end this message of thanksgiving with the words of an old hymn,

“Praise the Lord, praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

Come to the Father

Through Jesus the Son

Give Him the glory

Great things He has done”

God has done great things at St. John’s! Praise the Lord!

And the entire Rector Search Committee says, “Amen!”

Martin Proctor, Chair
Laurye Messer, Vice Chair
Gene Adams
Sarah Michael Anderson
Brian Arsenault
Alan Asker
David Grimes
Lina Knox
Cricket Mannheimer
Virginia Perkins
Neil Rambana
Corinna Strayer

Rector Search Committee (L to R): Alan Asker, Neil Rambana, Brian Arsenault, Cricket Mannheimer, Virginia Perkins, Laurye Messer, Lina Knox, Corinna Strayer, and Gene Adams. Not pictured: Martin Proctor, chair, David Grimes, and Sarah Michael Anderson.

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