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Craig Smalley Named Dean & Rector

This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)

Advent Family,

It has been 11 months since we began searching for a new Dean and Rector for our beloved Cathedral Church of the Advent. On June 29, 2021, a newly formed search committee met for the first time, and at the top of our agenda the following words were printed: 

As we approach our 150th anniversary as a congregation, we believe that by God’s grace and provision we continue to be called to ministry here in the heart of Birmingham. Given that belief, we also believe that, even now, God is preparing the heart, mind, and spirit of our next Dean and Rector. The Search Committee for the next Dean and Rector of the Advent is committed to discharging our duties with the following understanding and guiding principles: 

  1. We will work the search process faithfully, prayerfully, intelligently, diligently, and intentionally.
  2. We will wait on God to move faithfully, prayerfully, intelligently, diligently, and intentionally.

From that first June meeting until now, we have remained fully committed to our charge, fully committed to seeking God’s will for the good of the whole, and fully committed to responding however God was leading. What an extraordinary and blessed journey it has been for each one of us who has had the privilege of serving on this committee!

It is with great joy, excitement, and thankfulness that we are able to announce that Craig Smalley has answered the Lord’s calling to be our next Dean and Rector. The Search Committee was unanimous in its decision to recommend Craig. At a special meeting held last evening, the Vestry accepted the recommendation and voted to call Craig as our next Dean and Rector. Craig, who was invited to join the meeting after the vote, graciously accepted. He then shared a reflection from Philippians 1 about his great love for the Advent and our amazing partnership together in spreading the gospel with Jesus always the head of our church.

Craig, as most know, has served as our Interim Dean since last May, facilitating tremendous healing and renewal in the life of the Advent. He is a deeply faithful and humble man who prayerfully leads with honesty and transparency. We are confident that he will lead us well given his passion for the gospel and his deep care for the people who call the Advent home. 

For 16 years, Craig has served the Advent faithfully. During his tenure, he has served as Canon for Christian Education, Canon Missioner, Canon for Pastoral Care, and as our Interim Dean. For much of his time, he has also served as Chaplain to the Day School.  After graduating from the Citadel in 1990, he spent time doing post-graduate work in clinical counseling as he discerned his call to ordained ministry. Craig received his Master’s of Divinity from  Virginia Theological Seminary in 1995. Before moving to Birmingham in 2001, Craig and his wife Paula served churches in South Carolina and Texas. After serving as the Rector of the Church of the Ascension in Vestavia for five years, Craig came to the Advent in 2006, serving on the clergy staff under Frank Limehouse. Craig and Paula have three grown children: Jack, Maizie, and Sally. 

The Search Committee would like to thank each of you for your prayers and patience during this process of discerning whom the Lord was calling to be our next leader. We all have a deep love for the Advent that is rooted by our faith in Jesus Christ and his call to spread the gospel. 

We are truly blessed that the Lord has provided the Advent with faithful clergy for nearly 150 years. By his grace and mercy, he has brought countless people to saving faith through the teaching and preaching of his Holy Scripture. We are thankful for his abundant provision in years past and especially at this time. We know there is much Kingdom work left to be done, and it is by God’s grace and mercy that we are able to call such a gifted pastor, preacher, and teacher. We hope you will joyfully welcome Craig Smalley as our next Dean and Rector of the Cathedral Church of the Advent.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16)


The Search Committee

Don Menendez (Chair), Robin Anderson, Anne-Marie Brown, Tanya Cooper, Jay Ezelle, David Fleming, John Hargrove, Ginger Mayfield, Beeland Nielsen, Gunter Owens, Browning Thornton

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