Elizabeth Kaeton's playing trendspotter. She's thinking about who's got what title in The Episcopal Church, and what some of the critical distinctions between them might be - and, so long as we're on the subject, from where (or whom) those distinctions arise.
There seem to be a lot of clergy "in transition" these days.
What I'm hearing is that there are far fewer positions of rector available. More and more, the positions come with the title "Priest-in-charge".
I'm concerned about the seeming plethora of otherwise healthy congregations going through an interim period, through the rigorous self-study, profile writing and clergy search process, only to call not a full-time rector but a full time "Priest in charge".
The issue really has to do with a transfer of power. Rectors, canonically, have lots of power. Vicars and Priests-in-charge don't. That's because Vicars and Priests-in-charge are not the rector of the church. The bishop is.
Vicars and Priests-in-charge do not have "temporalities of the parish" - including life tenure.
As has been pointed out to me, the more Vicars and Priests-in-charge, the more power is invested in the bishop's office.
Does she have your attention yet?
This Café blogger/former priest-in-charge (now rector) knows that what's on the business card, while entirely irrelevant to some, can certainly have the capacity to tinge ministerial life in critical ways. Though ethereal sounding, the loss of "temporalities" is real enough; and the headaches that can arise in an environment of rent-to-own authority can be more than one feels is worth bargaining for.