Organist Search

Organist/Choirmaster

St. John’s Episcopal Church

Laurel, Mississippi

Position Announcement:  Full Time Position

Qui enim cantat laudem, non solum laudat, sed etiam hilariter laudat; qui cantat laudem, non solum cantat, sed et amat eum quem cantat. In laude confitentis est praedicatio, in cantico amantis affectio.

For he who sings praise, does not only praise, but also praises joyfully; he who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him whom he is singing for. There is a praise-filled public proclamation in the praise of someone who is acknowledging God, in the song of the lover there is love.

Sanctus Augustinus, Enarratio in Psalmum 72, 1: CCL 39, 986 (PL 36, 914).

STATEMENT ON THE ROLE AND PLACE OF MUSIC IN OUR PARISH

We strive to keep alive and vibrant the tradition of sacred choral music and sung liturgy.  We believe this tradition to have an important witness in our own day.  We understand sacred music to mirror and join in with the heavenly choirs giving glory to God and showing forth the beauty of His creation.  Among the many aims of our music program, we seek to address the cultural poverty that has arisen with the dispatching of music programs in the realms of academia and the public square.  We believe the language of heaven to be sung—in other words, we sing because God sings (Zeph. 3.17).

STATEMENT OF THE VISION & GOALS OF THE MUSIC PROGRAM

Saint John’s has long enjoyed a lively and vibrant program of sacred choral and liturgical music.  While we wish to maintain these traditions.  We also wish to strengthen and expand our music ministry to include a rich and vibrant choir culture that is welcoming and encouraging to members of our parish as well as those on scholarship.  We wish to see a more robust involvement of our parish family in the choir, the choir itself being a ministry to and for our parish family to share gifts and grow in strength in our Lord. 

We also wish to uphold and continue to strengthen the ministry of choral music with the youth of our parish and the wider community.  Presently, we have a children’s choir that is between 25-30 youth, who sing monthly in our liturgies and several times a year in the community at large.  We wish to keep developing this ministry and enriching the minds and faith of our youth. 

JOB DESCRIPTION/RESPONSIBILITIES

The following is intended to define the expectations of the position of Organist/ Choir Master for St. John’s Episcopal Church, Laurel, Mississippi. 

1.   The Parish Organist/Choir Master is the primary musician of the Parish.  The Organist will play all special services (weddings, funerals, etc.) unless other arrangements are made with the Organist’s approval.  The parish O/CM will propose to the Rector and vestry a fee schedule for weddings.  Upon approval this fee schedule will be on file in the Parish office.  It will be updated and resubmitted for approval each January.  In most instances there will be no fees for funerals.

2.   Three (3) weeks paid vacation, for which the Parish will pay a supply organist.  The Rector must approve the dates of this vacation in advance.

3.   Two (2) weeks continuing education and conferences, for which the Parish will pay for a supply organist and reimburse up to $2000.00 toward expenses associated with continuing education or conferences.  This expense will be paid from the Organist professional expense line in the operating budget.

4.   No mileage allowance will be paid for travel to and from work.

5.   Any expenses relating to outside concerts and special performances will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

6.   The Parish O/CM has control of the various keyboard instruments of the Parish.  All outside use of these instruments must be approved by the O/CM with the Rector’s consent.  The O/CM is responsible for the care and upkeep of our keyboard instruments.  Pipe Organ Specialties will be the professional group caring for the Parish organ.

7.   The Parish O/CM will be required to meet all employment rules of the Diocese of Mississippi within the time frame specified by the Diocese.  This is to include a W-4 on file in the Parish office with current address and telephone numbers.

  • No bills are to be incurred on behalf of the Parish without prior written consent of the Rector.
  • All paid singers shall have on file, prior to employment, a W-4 stating current address, telephone number and Social Security number. 
  • All bills relating to paid singers must be submitted, on a monthly basis, to the Parish office for payment on the last Friday of each month. All bills will include an accounting of the time and date services were rendered and amount of payment due.

8.   The O/CM will serve the Rector in liturgical planning.  The final authority in all liturgical matters rests with the Rector.  The O/CM will be responsible for proposing music for all services.

9.   The O/CM will be responsible for the creation of all worship service bulletins, and is expected to contribute to the creative process for all other print media. 

10.  The O/CM is expected to work with the Rector and other leaders in the creative processes for events, programming and ministries and should have a presence at the events and programs the Rector deems fitting and appropriate. 

11.  The O/CM is responsible for the development and training of the Parish Choir and other choral groups, which may evolve. 

  • This is to include weekly youth and adult choir rehearsal and preparation.
  • Choir rehearsals are to be scheduled at the convenience of the choir with one exception:  The choir shall vacate the Chancel prior to 9:45am on Sundays to allow for meditation prior to the 10:00am service.
  • Prelude music will end and services begin promptly at 10:00am unless otherwise agreed upon by the Rector.

12. The O/CM is responsible for the care and upkeep of the music library.

13. The Parish O/CM will prepare an annual budget for the music program of the parish.  This budget will be presented to the Vestry by November 30 of each year.  Whatever budget is approved by the Vestry; the O/CM will supervise the expenditure of the musical components.

14. The O/CM is encouraged to participate in the activities of the Liturgy and Music Committee of the Diocese of Mississippi.

15. The O/CM will undergo an annual review by the Rector which will be reported to the Vestry at the January meeting.

Compensation is subject to negotiation.  In addition to salary, compensation shall include health insurance and retirement benefits as specified in relevant canons of The Episcopal Church and of The Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.

ABOUT OUR CHURCH AND SETTING

 Saint John’s is a parish church established in Laurel, Mississippi in 1894 in the Anglican tradition of the Episcopal Church. Our worship is to the Glory of God and sacramentally centered in the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Jesus. Our mission is evangelical: to bring all persons to the knowledge and love of God, and to respect the dignity and freedom of every human being.

We are located at 541 North Fifth Avenue in historic downtown Laurel. Saint John’s is the only Episcopal/Anglican Church in Jones County and our parish family is comprised of faithful from Laurel, Ellisville, Bay Springs, Moselle, Soso and all over Jones County and we seek to meet the spiritual needs of a very diverse county.

We are a church family of persons married and single; young and old; rich and poor; liberal and conservative, our common goal and greatest bond is to follow Christ Jesus, worship God in His Holy Church, and to sacrificially give, work and pray for the spread of His Kingdom.

The parish adheres to “the faith once delivered to the saints,” revealed by God in the person of His incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, recorded in the Holy Scriptures, to which the teaching and practice of the undivided Church of the first millennium bears witness. In our public worship at St. John, we return our praise to God with the greatest possible reverence in thanksgiving for all that we have been given. We believe wholeheartedly that the traditional worship and devotional practice of the Christian Church speaks as clearly and powerfully today as it did a millennium ago.

A history of Laurel (pop. 18,016) may be found here:  History – The City of Laurel, MS (laurelms.com)  Laurel is growing, in part as a result of an increase in tourism attendant on the widespread popularity of the HGTV television series Home Town.  In addition to the rich traditions and quality of life enjoyed in Laurel and surrounding Jones County (pop. 67,902), Laurel is within a one half hour drive of Hattiesburg (pop. 45,859), home of The University of Southern Mississippi and its music program.  Housing costs, while rising, remain within the median range for the region in the state.

Resumes and Inquiries:

Saint John’s Episcopal Church

P.O. Box 1766

Laurel, MS 39441

Email: fr.reich@gmail.com

Fr. Jeff Reich mobile: 601-422-7388