Transition Team

St Benedict is in transition as we say farewell to our former Rector, Rev Heidi Haverkampf, welcome our Interim Rector, Rev Donna Ialongo, and look forward to discerning whom the Holy Spirit will call to be our rector in the future. Because this process is likely to take twelve months, we are fortunate to have an Interim Rector who has had special training and experience in serving a congregation in transition.

This process makes St Benedict an exciting place to be, as we take time for self-examination and plan for the future.


Our Next Rector

After careful and prayerful consideration and discernment, the Transition Team was honored to recommend The Reverend Barbara Harrison Seward to become the next rector of St Benedict.  After meeting and praying with Mother Barbara, The Wardens and Vestry of The Episcopal Church of St. Benedict agreed with our recommendation and are excited to announce the calling of the Reverend Barbara Harrison Seward to be our next rector.

An insightful, inclusive leader, and currently a priest at St. Bride’s Episcopal Church in Oregon, Illinois, Rev. Barbara Seward will join us on August 14, 2017.

The Transition Team praised her thoughtful and prayerful approach to her ministry; her communication skills and style; her intelligence and insight; and her sensitive understanding of what makes St. Benedict special and distinctive.   The vestry met with Rev. Seward and whole-heartedly supported the recommendation of the Transition Team.

Rev. Seward comes to us from St. Bride’s Episcopal Church in Oregon, Illinois, where she has been serving as their priest-in-charge for two years.  Mother Barbara has also served in Episcopal churches in Minnesota and Virginia and she is currently serving on the Diocese of Chicago’s College of Congregational Development.  Having graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and the Virginia Theological Seminary, she was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 2013.  Rev. Seward also holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing education and economics from Fayetteville State University, as well as a master of science degree in marketing and communications from Johns Hopkins University.

Now, in anticipation of joining St. Benedict as rector, Mother Barbara is expressing her thought directly to the parish in a letter.  She writes, “I am honored to join your family, and I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you. Although my arrival is not until August 14th, I am already praying for our time together as companions and as ministers in the world around us.”



Click here to view the PARISH PROFILE.


Transition Team Moving Forward

Our opening for a Rector was placed on the Diocese website on March 1. The opening remained posted for about five weeks. We have some promising candidates who have applied. And the application documents indicate that these candidates have read our diocese documents and parish profile carefully. They demonstrate an understanding of who we are as a parish.
We expect interviews to begin in May. How long the interview process takes will be determined by how quickly and how often we can all gather to interview and discern. Two rounds of interviews are customary. We will keep praying and continue to move forward.

Transition Team Meets with Parishioners

On Sunday, November 13, 2016 The Transition Team hosted a meeting for the parishioners to review the themes that emerged from the small group meetings held during September. Those meetings proved very productive. A copy of the summary that was distributed at the November 13th meeting can be found here.

Transition Team Holds Meetings

The Transition Team has scheduled small group meetings during the month of September. The purpose of these meetings will be to explain our process further and solicit input from church members regarding our core values, our spiritual needs, our common goals, any obstacles that we need to overcome regarding our goals, and which skills we seek in a new priest who will guide us in achieving our goals.
We encourage each member of St Benedict to attend one of the meetings. If additional meetings are necessary, we will schedule them. The September schedule is:

9/11/2016 Sunday 10:15 to 11:45 am Couch
9/17/2016 Saturday 9:00 to 11:00 am Couch
9/18/2016 Sunday 10:15 to 11:45 am Couch
9/18/2016 Sunday 10:15 to 11:45 am Finance
9/22/2016 Thursday 6:30 – 8:00 pm Couch
9/25/2016 Sunday 10:15 to 11:45 am Couch

Sign-up sheets are available on the table in the narthex (just outside the sanctuary doors).

Transition Team Commissioned

On Sunday, July 10th, the Transition Team (aka Search Committee) was commissioned with words of prayer and commitment. The seven members pledged to open themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to work respectfully with each other and with the congregation, and to work toward discernment of a new rector for St. Benedict.

Transition Team




Pictured above, Rev Donna commissions the Transition Team: Donnie Williams (co-chair), Scott Pritchard, Frank Spoto (co-chair), Paula Howard, Esther Simonson, and Laura Keyser. Not pictured is member Mary Hinderer, who was commissioned in absentia. Tish Sanborn, St Benedict warden, presented the candidates, and looks on from the far right.

The team consists of seven members who will take on the task of discerning a new rector. While some of their work will need to remain confidential, a good portion of their work will involve direct input from the congregation, and will be shared with the congregation. St Benedict members will be involved as we schedule small-group meetings to answer some very important questions:
Who are we, what do we value, where are we in our spiritual journey, where do we want to go, and what type of leadership role will our new rector need to fill for us?

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