I am pleased to announce that our vestry called the Rev. Dr. Bill Doggett as our interim rector. Rev. Dr. Doggett will begin his time at St. Bart’s on September 13.
Rev. Dr. Doggett comes recommended by our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Susan Brown Snook. He was interviewed by our search committee and his portfolio was reviewed by the full vestry. Rev. Dr. Doggett has extensive experience as an interim rector having served in that capacity for six parishes. He has also worked as a musician, teacher and theater artist and has published children's books, hymns, and scholarly works.
Rev. Dr. Doggett earned his M.Div. from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and was ordained in 1995. His PhD. in liturgical studies is from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California and he currently lives in Rancho Mirage. Bill's spouse of 27 years, Matt Braman, died in 2018 after a long illness. The two of them have two young adult sons and three young grandchildren.
I am confident that Rev. Dr. Doggett is the right person for the job at this time at St. Bart’s. He fully embraces our “all are welcome. No exceptions,” message and our vision as a “radically welcoming, inclusive faith family--sharing and teaching the love of Jesus Christ through our worship, actions and outreach: transforming ourselves and the world.”
We know that this interim period before we call a new permanent rector is an opportunity for healing, discernment, discussion, and reflection. Rev. Dr. Doggett will be a great asset in leading the church through this period. I am sure you will join me in welcoming him to St. Bart’s and looking forward to his leadership. A letter from him follows.
Costa Dillon, Senior Warden
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I have accepted the call to serve as your interim rector with great joy. The more I learn of the St. Bartholomew's community, the more eager I am to join with you in the works you are already doing, and in the special work of transition that lies before us.
Transitions always bring a fair portion of anxiety - few of us really like uncertainty and change - but they can also bring insight, a new sense of purpose, and even a measure of joy.
One way to think of the project we are undertaking is that it will be a season of storytelling. You will retell the stories of the community's past, paying particular attention to how those stories still resonate and shape the present. We will find a new way to tell the story of who we are today, making sure that everyone has the chance to be heard and taken seriously. And we will imagine the story of St. Bartholomew's future and figure out how to tell it in such a compelling way that potential Rectors will be eager to join in making that story a reality.
And, of course, along the way we will continue to praise God in worship and community life, support one another in need and in celebration, and be the light of the Gospel in the neighborhood and in the world.
I have a lot of training and experience in shepherding parishes through the transition process, but one of my most important tasks is to make sure you feel that the church is in safe enough hands that you will let the search process take as long as it takes. Parishes that rush through a search, or don't engage in it with honesty and openness, frequently call the wrong priest, and end up with what we call an "unintentional interim."
So, I hope, as we get to know one another, that we can all relax, and take some joy in our time together. I bring a particular set of ideas and experiences with me, and I know you all are rich with experience, ideas, and stories. If we bring all of that together, we'll get to do some new things as well as the things you already do well.
And it is my hope that by the time your next Rector joins you, you will at least be able to say, "Change is still uncomfortable, but it doesn't frighten us because we know we're pretty good at it."
Until we meet in person, or on Zoom, or any of the other ways we have learned to connect in difficult times, you are in my prayers, in my hopes, and in my imagining.
The Rev. Dr. Bill Doggett