Dear St. Stephen’s Family,

I am overjoyed to be called as your next Rector!  From my very first look at your website, through my many conversations with your Search Committee and Vestry, to the lovely hospitality I experienced on my visits, my excitement has continued to grow.  I know we have discerned faithfully and well this call to ministry together. A friend asked me how I know discernment is done well and faithfully. I told her it feels like “peaceful excitement.”
I know peaceful excitement is a bit of an oxymoron and, yet, it is the best way I know to describe how it feels to anticipate growing in faith and ministry with you.  It is exciting because you are a vibrant parish, with much hope and excitement about your future. The peace comes from believing that the gifts you bring and the gifts I bring are a good fit and we have made a good decision to partner in ministry. Together we will continue this journey of discovery of where and how God is calling St. Stephen’s to grow in its mission and ministry.  I, for one, can’t wait!

Another thing I can’t wait for is to meet you, each of you, and learn more about who you are and why you choose to be a part of the St. Stephen’s family.  Although I always leave room for the Holy Spirit to move, a.k.a. see my plans change a bit, I expect this will be my favorite part of our first few months together. I do hope you take the time to stop by and introduce yourself when you see me in the office. Or call me and we can plan some time to meet.

My husband, Ron, and I will be with you for worship on November 25th .  Our plan is to move the week of November 11th , with our focus for the first week or so on getting settled into the rectory and my office.  Two of our three children, the eldest and the youngest, Sean and Kathleen, will be with us for Thanksgiving. Our middle child, Kevin, will be traveling in South America after completing two years of Peace Corps service in Peru.  We’re pretty sure he’ll be around sometime in December. They are almost as excited to meet you as I am.

I’m thrilled to be joining you when I do because we will celebrate the new year – Advent 1 – together. What a blessing to be able to begin our relationship at the beginning of our shared story of faith and discipleship.

Peace,
Paula

We believe that each of us is made in God’s image – beautiful and beloved, unique and whole. We work for the day when all are treated as equals in our families, churches and communities.

For over 40 years, Christians have raised their voices for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. In the United States alone, there are over 5,000 welcoming and affirming congregations, St. Stephen’s being one of them!

We are
“A diverse Episcopal parish, a life-giving sanctuary, a place where love begets love. Seekers, doubters, and believers find a comfortable place in our midst.”

we believe
“Each person is a unique part of God’s creation. We are a community called to worship God; to engage with today’s issues; to provide Christian education to all; to give support and comfort to each other; and to minister to those in need within our community.”

we serve
“We challenge each other to live out our faith through  outreach and social justice ministries, and help each other discover opportunities to use our talents to create a better, more loving world. We have passion for compassion.”