Associate Rector Search 2016


St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church is seeking an experienced priest to be our Associate Rector. The position has been vacant since the incumbent, the Very Rev. Troy Mendez, accepted a call as Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix at the beginning of 2014 after 2½ years at St. Margaret’s. The Associate Rector will collaborate in ministry with the Rector and our lay leadership, with particular emphasis on operations leadership, planning and oversight of worship, adult Christian formation, discipleship, and communications. Women are particularly encouraged to apply.

See OTM profile at

St. Margaret’s is a resource congregation of the Diocese of San Diego in Palm Desert, a resort community of California’s Coachella Valley about two hours east of Los Angeles and two-and-a-half hours northeast of San Diego. In July 2010, Lane Hensley began his ministry as Rector after a three-and-a-half year interim period following the retirement of the Rev. Robert G. Certain.

Average Sunday attendance fluctuates with resort seasonal patterns, with an annual peak attendance in February and lowest attendance in August:

January 621 527 613 533 514
February 786 693 569 590 554
March 750 696 1,166 569 470
April 882 773 544 738 700
May 419 419 420 353 331
June 332 366 327 295 298
July 276 268 275 238
August 311 276 264 263 236
September 405 334 332 331 300
October 458 391 385 376 349
November 647 624 595 649 419
December 524 593 479 428 382
Average for Year   523 483 497 417  
Easter 1,636 1,565 1,870 1,335 1,491
St. Margaret’s Day 863 930 938 780 586
Lessons & Carols 740 673 668 670
Christmas 1,427 1,434 1,390 1,350 1,349

Regular weekly worship includes an informal Saturday evening Rite Two Eucharist at 5 p.m. without music, a traditional Rite One Eucharist at 8 a.m. Sundays with organ music and hymnody, a Rite Two / EOW Eucharist at 10 a.m. Sundays with full choir, and a Healing Eucharist at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays in St. Margaret’s Chapel, a replica of the 11th century original in Edinburgh. St. Margaret’s Day is observed on the Sunday following the second Saturday of November with bagpipes and fanfare including the addition of a Scottish festival in 2013, and our Desert Friends of Music organization hosts major musical events to a packed house throughout the year. (See

High and crazy, low and lazy, or broad and hazy? Our worship style is relatively traditional. It’s formal in the sense that it’s planned carefully and executed thoughtfully, but it’s not rigid or stuffy. We normally sing the Eucharistic prayer when the choir is present, but rarely use incense. We have an extraordinary organ and two choirs. Our music program is led by John Wright, assisted by artist-in-residence Fred Swann.

Our strengths include spiritual maturity, excellent music and worship, a highly skilled and responsive pastoral care team, a growing compassion and justice ministry, hands-on outreach programs that serve more than 1,000 people a month through the St. Margaret’s Outreach Center, food distribution in a local park, and other ministries. Challenges and opportunities include an urgent need to rebuild family and young adult ministries to make St. Margaret’s a center for formation of disciples and an opportunity to create meaningful community for young adults finding their way through a complex and challenging culture as they try to make meaning and live fruitful lives.

We are blessed with about three dozen retired and non-parochial resident clergy representing the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the United Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Lutheran Church (ELCA), the Metropolitan Community Church, the American Baptist Church, and United Church of Christ. The resident clergy assist with leading worship, teaching, and counseling. We have two vocational deacons, but currently the Rector is the only staff clergy in a large and complex congregation. The Rector seeks a colleague for a substantial and collaborative leadership role. The priest we call will be a mature and capable leader, and we recognize and acknowledge that the Associate Rector will have received other offers and opportunities. We believe the new Associate Rector will discern call to St. Margaret’s on the basis of his or her shared love for our people and sense that our congregation is blessed richly with the gifts and spirit of God. Both the harvest and the laborers are plentiful at St. Margaret’s, and our Rector needs a trusted and respected colleague.

St. Margaret’s has a talented mission-focused staff, and we work effectively together. We work hard, and we depend on each other as a team. And have fun together. The vestry, school board, wardens, and Rector share authority and leadership with energy and mutual respect.

After several years of unbalanced budgets, substantial operating deficits, and a lack of clarity about the disposition of endowments and major giving, the parish amassed a nearly $2 million debt, which inhibited ministry. But building on the healthy leadership of predecessors, the determination of our Vestry, and the generosity of our parishioners, we have lived within our means and made substantive inroads into eliminating of the debt. That’s required massive structural and operational change, and the commitment of parish leadership to steer into a very different future characterized by a new commitment to discernment of God’s will, a congregation-led compassion and justice ministry, and a commitment to spiritual growth and development.

We’ve leased our school property to a charter school, and hope to sell that property at the end of 2015, eliminating more than half our debt. We’ve made more than a quarter million dollars of improvements to our building to reduce transmission of heat from the desert sun through large plain glass windows by 2/3, responded to California’s historic drought by xeriscaping 10,000 square feet of lawn, renovated our original worship space to adapt to a smaller summer congregation with intimate and innovative worship, and we’re evaluating options to reduce our substantial energy costs by installing a solar field.

Compensation & Benefits

  • Base salary range is $70,000, any portion of which may be allocated as housing
  • Additionally, the parish pays the associate’s share of social security taxes
  • Continuing education allowance: $1,000 annually
  • Travel allowance provided
  • Four weeks paid vacation
  • Two weeks paid continuing education time
  • Health insurance
  • Church Pension Group plan

To Apply

Send resume and OMD profile to the Rev. Lane G. Hensley, Rector, at

For More Information

Last updated: February 5, 2016 at 14:09 pm

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