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George Read Stevens is Next Rector of St. Mary’s

The Reverend George Read Stevens

Dear Member of St. Mary’s,

Since last May, our Search Committee has been engaged in rigorous discernment activities with the defined objective of recommending the next Rector at St. Mary’s. By outside appearances, it has been an incredibly taxing undertaking that has called for untold long hours, extensive interview sessions, meetings running into late hours, and many trips to other parishes to hear candidate sermons. That the Search Committee has been able to conduct such a level of due diligence and reach prayerful consensus in such a relatively short period of time points to the professionalism, expertise, commitment, and dedication of each of its members. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the members of the Search Committee. Together, they have helped to pave the way for an exciting new chapter in St. Mary’s history.

The many challenges facing mainline churches notwithstanding, St. Mary’s has many reasons to feel good about itself. Our solicitation for resumes elicited more than 60 responses. Part of the Search Committee’s challenge was to screen many viable candidates, evidencing what one uninvolved clergy member observed: “People should know that St. Mary’s is regarded as a plum assignment.”

Having said that, we are delighted to inform you that The Reverend George Read Stevens has accepted our call to become the next Rector of St. Mary’s. The Wardens and Vestry are very pleased that he is joining us, and we look forward to his arrival in early July.

Since 2006, George has served as Associate Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. By most measures, St. John’s is more than twice the size of St. Mary’s. Shortly after George’s arrival, the Rector went on sabbatical, and George demonstrated his abilities in ministering to people of all ages, preaching, growing the church and its programs, and managing its administration. George believes that “his vocation as a priest is linked to empowering a community through worship, service, administration, and education so that it might learn to be God’s hands in our world.”

George holds a Master of Divinity degree from The General Theological Seminary in New York City and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from the University of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia. Following his undergraduate studies, George served as Youth Minister at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he oversaw all parish programming related to 300 children in middle school and high school. While in seminary, George served as Chaplain of Rivington House, a 216-bed HIV/AIDS hospice in New York City. His wife, Margaret, has recently completed a degree in nutrition; together they have two pre-school age children, Henry and Anne.

About himself, George writes, “I am a native North Carolinian and grew up in Raleigh. My wife and I went to the same church and high school but didn’t connect until we were both in Winston-Salem, where I was working at St. Paul’s as youth minister. I am fed spiritually by service to the world, pastoral care of others, and worship. I crave the outdoors whether it be building sandcastles and throwing rocks on the beach with my children, Anne and Henry, or a walk in the woods with our dog, Angus. I collect ‘visionary art’ which is made by people who believe they have a religious vocation to create.

“Family and self-care are priorities for me. Being a father, a husband, a son, a brother, and a friend is sacred to me and maintaining my relationships with them is as important to me as my vows at ordination. I also have great affection for politics and popular culture. I laugh easily and bring a sense of humor to all that I do. My time in New York City got me hooked on coffee and the New York Times, but my sports allegiance has always been (and will always be) to the Red Sox.”

We also want to acknowledge the extraordinary role Margaret Schwarzer has played in shepherding St. Mary’s during the past year. As our Interim Priest, she has gone “above and beyond her duties” in all aspects of her service and met her stated goal of “preparing our church and our hearts to welcome the next Rector of St. Mary’s.” We look forward to a celebration of her ministry in the weeks ahead.

The Vestry is honored that George has accepted our call to serve as the 22nd Rector of St. Mary’s, and we welcome him and his family into our parish.

Yours in Christ,

Mary Green, Senior Warden Stewart Tucker, Junior Warden

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