by Dave Warner
After an extensive search for a new priest, which began in April of 2018, Emmanuel Episcopal Church has found the Reverand Jack R. Whritenour and named him the head of their church. Whritenour is currently at a parish in Rosedale New York and headmaster of a K-8 parochial school where he teaches religion and music.
According to Jane Malin, a member of the search committee “We have been looking for a replacement since Easter of last year. In the meantime, we have had supply ministers each Sunday. We formed a search committee, which was basically the Vestry and the Wardens.”
“We had to work with the Diocese, and they gave us an outline, but then we developed our own way of doing this. It’s really like a job posting and then interviews,” she said.
The extent of the preparation and the process that they had to go through surprised many on the search committee. They had to update the website and profile of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, write a survey and administer it to the congregation, then assemble the answers and prioritize them. Then, they had to write interview questions based on the survey results.
“It literally took us four months to do this,” said Malin. “Then we put the call out for candidates.”
At that point, it fell to the committee to comprise a ‘shortlist’ of three candidates and conduct phone interviews. After that process, they held face-to-face interviews with two candidates in March and April of this year. After the completion of the interviews, they had to collect and prioritize the interview results to reflect the survey results.
Once the top candidate was identified, that person was submitted to the Diocese in Albany for background checks. When cleared, the candidate then had to agree to the compensation package.
“We selected the one that best fit the survey results from the congregation,” said Malin. “The congregation was looking for someone who was concerned about family values, very Biblically centered, and someone who taught from the Bible. We had a three or four-page questionnaire that we put together online so that everyone could answer.”
The search committee met twice each month and they were given ‘homework’ each time with action items to complete before the next meeting. They were also unable to speak about any specifics once candidates were identified for privacy reasons and they couldn’t pass on interim updates to parishioners during the 15-month process.
Malin said “He’s got a lot of experience with kids, he’s very musically oriented, and in fact, his Bachelor’s Degree is in music, and he’s an organist. It’s been a real process, a journey.”
She said that Whrienour wanted to be in a rural area, which was where he started. “They have a young daughter and wanted the kind of environment we have in Little Falls to raise her.”
“It’s been a grueling process and we’re just glad it’s over and we’re very pleased with the person we’ve selected,” stated Malin.
Whritenour said, “It is my core conviction that the most important responsibilities of the priest are faithful preaching and teaching of the Word of God, faithfully administering the Holy Sacraments, and the care of souls.”
He continued, “Over the years, I have learned patience and to implement changes more slowly and cautiously. I am greatly looking forward to ministering God’s people in Emmanuel Episcopal Church.”
Whritenour has previously served in parishes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York. He will celebrate his first mass at Emmanuel Episcopal as Rector on October 6, 2019.