Rector Search

Who we are:
St. Mary’s is an Episcopal Church in Goochland, Virginia about 20 minutes from the center of Richmond, Virginia. Founded in 1878, the Dover Parish was established as a mission church to minister to the needs of the Welsh coal mining community in Goochland County.

Since its humble beginnings, St. Mary’s has grown into a healthy program-sized parish in the Diocese of Virginia with a church community of more than 375 families. We are a community of faith that worships and learns together, welcomes all people, and serves the needs of others in gratefulness for God’s love and grace revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. St. Mary’s has a culture of simplicity that deserves to be understood and appreciated.

Where is God calling St. Mary’s?
During the winter and spring of 2016 the parish under the leadership of the vestry and volunteers implemented an extensive discernment process. The findings are based on the participation of hundreds of St. Mary’s parishioners, staff, and clergy who prayerfully met with and listened to each other to discern “Where is God calling St. Mary’s?”. The five focus areas of the process were Fellowship, Outreach, Spiritual Formation and Education, Stewardship, and Worship. The full report is attached or can be found at During our first year since the discernment report, we have implemented a number of changes, positively received by the congregation.

Our worship:
St. Mary’s uses The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982. All are welcome to participate fully in worship and to receive Communion. On Sundays, we offer two worship services:

  • At 9 a.m., we celebrate the Holy Eucharist using Rite I in The Book of Common Prayer. This is a simple service of prayer and Eucharist (without choral accompaniment). This service takes place in our original church, affectionately known as Little St. Mary’s.
  • At 11 a.m., we celebrate Holy Eucharist: Rite II on the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month and during high seasons. Morning Prayer: Rite I is held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month followed by an optional Holy Communion after the service. The St. Mary’s Choir accompanies the congregation for this service, and the St. Mary’s Children’s Choir makes an appearance about once per month. Children are welcome in all our services, but this service, which takes place in our larger sanctuary commonly known as New St. Mary’s, is especially family friendly.

Qualities We Seek in a Rector:
We seek a rector who is thoughtful, energetic, and caring. We want our new rector to be intellectually acute and curious, as well as a strong communicator and an active listener who exudes humility and humor. We are looking for a collaborative leader and capable administrator who has a demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of people, and who, with grace and humor, can attend to the challenges and opportunities presented by this set of responsibilities. We seek an outgoing and personable priest experienced in congregational development who will help us think strategically and creatively about opportunities for growing our parish community. We envision our next Rector will be:

  • A warm and caring person, a teacher who will feed and nurture the pastoral and spiritual needs of the entire St. Mary’s family.
  • An inspiring preacher who, with intellect and knowledge, delivers engaging and relevant sermons that embrace the gospel and speak to the mind and heart.
  • A person who has a deep love and knowledge of liturgy and music.
  • An active proponent of stewardship who can articulate the needs and goals of the church.
  • A capable organizational and administrative leader who can communicate and balance the spiritual and business goals of St. Mary’s.

In addition we seek:

A mentor for pastoral counseling and care.
A strong liturgical presence who can work effectively with the parish in supporting different types of services, foster lay participation, and is respectful of our traditions.
A compassionate mentor and wise counselor for outreach initiatives in both our local community and the world.
A leader who mobilizes and energizes volunteers and staff.

Assisting the rector will be a strong group of lay leadership with 12 standing vestry members led by Al Rider, Senior Warden and Tracey Ragsdale, Junior Warden. Both are long-time parishioners of St. Mary’s. Ms. Ragsdale will be assuming the role of Senior Warden at the outset of 2018.

In addition to lay leadership, the rector will also have the support of nine staff including an Associate Rector, Priest Associate, leaders for youth and children’s ministries, finance director, communications director, music directors, clerical support and three custodial positions. Complete bios of vestry and staff can be found on the website.

Members of the Rector Search Committee:

Chair Tracey Ragsdale, Brantley Holmes, Andy Howlett, Michelle Lewis, Kim O’Shea, Nancy Reed, Bruin Richardson, Al Rider, Susie Salsitz, Carrie Schaeffer, Armistead Talman, Joan Wilkins, and Russell Wyatt.

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