Dear Fellow Parishioners,
We have more wonderful news! We are now able to tell you that our next Rector will be the Rev. Jon C. Strand. For the past 16 years he has been the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Natick, Massachusetts, following three years as Priest-in-Charge there. Before coming to St. Paul’s, he served for six years as Canon Resident at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, Maine.
Jon received a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School in 1992, along with a certificate from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and a certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He also holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music Performance from Wichita State University, where he was a Gore Scholar.
During his time at St. Paul’s the congregation has grown from fewer than 100 members to about 500 today, including a flourishing youth group and extensive outreach activities. In a brief online autobiography he lists his areas of ministry focus as church growth, organizational development, preaching, music, youth ministry, hospice work, and street ministry to the homeless.
Jon favors a collaborative leadership style, acting as a kind of player -- coach whose role is to be present alongside fellow Christians on their faith journeys. His references have described him as a gifted preacher who has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, qualities that were observed first-hand by the members of our Discernment Committee who attended a service at St. Paul’s last fall.
As a trumpeter, Jon has given recitals throughout New England, often in collaboration with his father, who is a church musician and retired professor of music. Jon is also an avid runner, kayaker, and an amateur telescope builder. He and his wife Beth, a nurse practitioner specializing in oncology, have three children, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Mark. Both daughters are currently attending college, while their son is in eighth grade.
Jon will start work at Holy Comforter in mid-March, with his first Sunday being March 18, two weeks before Easter. Beth and Mark will remain in Massachusetts until June, so Mark can finish the academic year at his current school before starting high school in Vienna next fall. Initially, they will live in Rodman House, with the ultimate goal of buying a home in the community.
This Sunday, January 7, the Vestry and Discernment Committee will give an illustrated presentation about our new Rector, in the Sanctuary during the 10:00 hour. Everyone is invited to attend and learn more about him at that time.