I currently serve as the Associate Rector at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church. St. Chrysostom’s was a church in a very difficult transition after a long term Rector–declining membership, crumbling buildings and grounds, a vacuum of leadership. During the tenure of the Interim Rector, I was hired to assist her in preparing the parish to welcome its new Rector. When the new Rector arrived, he hired me, along with a grant from the Bishop’s office, to revitalize several ministries that had fallen away–altar guild, acolytes, 20s/30s, newcomers–and to help lead the staff through the first sometimes-difficult years of new leadership.
I find that my hospital chaplain experience suits me well in this kind of ministry. Change comes with grief and sometimes crisis, and I’ve had plenty of experience with both. At the end of the day, I believe that people in the church simply want to follow Jesus and live into their call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. The logistics of that are sometimes tricky, and that’s where I come in.
During my time at St. Chrysostom’s, the parish has begun to thrive–pledges and attendance that we haven’t seen in years, weddings, community partnership, and a renewed commitment to justice. Most importantly, I have seen confident leaders arising from the pews to lend their gifts to the community and the world.