July 9, 2017

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint James,

In February, the Vestry appointed a Search Committee to conduct a search for our new rector following the retirement of Father Steve Hall. We now have some exciting news to share.

When Bishop Wright attended our Annual Meeting in January, he talked about our upcoming rector vacancy. He stated that in our search for a new rector, which would be a part-time position, we should be willing to explore "options." One he specifically mentioned was being open to the possibility of partnering (sharing a position) with Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School (RGNS) if the opportunity presented itself.  Such an opportunity did occur: our part-time rector at Saint James could be shared with the part-time chaplain (new position) at the Niles Bolton Middle School at RGNS. Position sharing time would be 30 hours per week at Saint James and ten hours per week at RGNS.

The Search Committee explored the details of this possible partnership with Dr. Sgro and later interviewed the candidate being considered. The Search Committee made a recommendation to the Vestry. 

The Vestry unanimously decided to extend the call. I notified Bishop Wright, and he gave his blessing and gave us the honor of telephoning The Very Reverend Mary R. H. Demmler to be our new rector. She has accepted our call to be our new rector.

The Very Reverend Mary Demmler currently serves as rector at Saint Matthias Episcopal Church in Toccoa, GA and is the Dean of the Northeast Georgia Convocation. Her husband, Derek, will teach Humanities in the Upper School at RGNS and their family will live on the RGNS campus. They have three children, Hannah, Bailey and William, who will attend the Evelyne Sheats Lower School at RGNS next year. (Additional information about our new rector is attached).

The Very Reverend Mary Demmler announced her departure from Saint Matthias at church services on July 9. As a courtesy to her, we delayed our announcement to give her time to let her congregation have this news. At this point we are working out the fine points of transition but will announce her first Sunday at Saint James as soon as it is determined. We anticipate it will be in early to mid-August.

I want to personally thank Dr. Anthony Sgro for recognizing the possibility of a partnership and communicating this to the Search committee and to me as Senior Warden. Dr. Sgro's support has made this entire venture possible.

Thank you to the Search Committee for its commitment in working to select our new priest. Search Committee members made themselves available for meetings, interviews and discussion. Thank you for your services and because you have fulfilled your responsibilities, the Search Committee is now decommissioned.

Thank you also to the Vestry for their prayerful discernment, for listening to God, to each other and to members of our parish. Thank you for always being available and flexible with communication and in attending meetings.

Thank you to all members of the congregation. You've been patient, you've provided advice and input, you've asked questions and all of this has been welcomed, considered and appreciated.

Finally, thank you to Pastor Doris. Her presence has kept us steady. She will continue in her duties as interim priest until our new priest is in place and the transition is complete.

The Vestry believes we are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring to Saint James an outstanding priest, pastor, spiritual leader and her young family. We are happy to be able to share this wonderful news with you. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Love and Peace, Lynda White, Senior Warden