Seven months ago our Discernment Committee initiated a nationwide search to find the 17th Rector of St. John’s. After hundreds of hours of work, discussion and prayerful consideration, the Discernment Committee made its recommendation which was unanimously approved by your Vestry. The next Rector of St. John’s will be the Rev. Dr. Duncan Johnston. His first Sunday at St. John’s will be our “kick off” Sunday; September 11, 2022.
The Rev. Dr. Johnston currently serves as the Rector of St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield, New Jersey. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1993 and spent the first ten years of his ministry in the United Kingdom. After moving to the United States, the Rev. Dr. Johnston served as Rector at parishes in Michigan and Pennsylvania before assuming his current role at St. Paul’s. In 2013 he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Theological Seminary. His thesis explored the importance of intergenerational worship as a catalyst for vibrant parish ministry. The Rev. Dr. Johnston was a core member of faculty at the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania’s Stevenson School for Ministry. There he taught eight courses, ranging across the topics of preaching, mission, biblical studies, and congregational leadership. Duncan is married to Gelind, a communications specialist at the Food and Drug Administration. He has three adult children. Listen to the Rev. Dr. Johnston’s recent sermons at https://stpaulswestfield.org/sermons/ or see his compelling preaching style by searching YouTube for “St Paul’s Westfield” and viewing a service. Duncan and Gelind will have much to do between now and September transitioning from New Jersey to Alabama; however, we will stand up a St. John’s email address for him on or about September 5, 2022, so that you can send an email message of greeting.
Please join the Vestry in thanking the members of the Discernment Committee: John Carter and Rosa Davis, co-chairs; Nancy Bradford, Bob Canter, Kat Dailey, Libby Fitzpatrick, Reggie Hamner, Arthur Mazyck, Jimmy McLemore, Chuck Moore, Nick Prillaman, and Emily Wise. They opened their hearts to seek God’s will for the future of St. John’s. They told the Vestry that they felt the Holy Spirit guided their actions and decisions throughout their work of discernment. This was a pivotal moment in the life of our church and they rose to the challenge.
We would be remiss if we did not recognize the courage and faithfulness of the Rev. Dr. Deonna Neal who stepped in as our Interim Rector to guide us through troubled waters. She did so with joy, devotion and skill. St. John’s is better as a result of her ministry. We’ll schedule an event soon so we can express our thanks to her before she resumes her previous role as associate rector. Finally, thanks to the many people – staff, laity, guest clergy – who kept St. John’s ministries going so well over the past ten months. We are prepared for this next chapter in the life of our parish only because so many were willing to give so freely of their time and talents.
Please pray for the Rev. Dr. Duncan Johnston and his wife, Gelind, and pray for St. John’s as we make this transition together.
Will Hill Tankersley and William Haynes