Dear Grace Family,
The Wardens and Vestry are pleased to announce that we have called The Rev. April Berends to be our next Rector.
April comes to Grace from Christ Church in Chattanooga, where she has served as the Vicar since January, 2017. Prior to moving to Tennessee, she served as the Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee for six years, and before that, she was Priest Associate for Liturgy at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC. She began her ordained ministry at Trinity Cathedral in Miami. Before she was ordained, April worked for several years in nonprofit management at a large HIV/AIDS services organization in Miami.
April is particularly interested in building relationships within the parish and the wider community, and in helping congregations to listen to the world around us as we discern how God might be calling us to engage with our neighborhoods and communities. This semester, April is teaching a class on justice ministry and community organizing principles for congregational leaders at the School of Theology at Sewanee.
April received an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a diploma in Anglican studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Emory University.
April enjoys hiking, cooking, growing vegetables, writing, pottery, photography and exploring both cities and forests. She has been married to the Rev. Drew Bunting, a priest and songwriter, for fifteen years. Drew currently serves as the chaplain at St. Andrew’s –Sewanee School. They have two sons, aged 6 and 4.
April’s first Sunday at Grace with be December 17
th. She will be off to a running start with Christmas soon thereafter.
I would like to thank the members of Search Committee for their good work, their faithful discernment, and for communicating the character and values of Grace so well throughout this process. They have given many hours to the search process, and the vestry and I are grateful for their efforts.