CLERGY, STAFF, AND VESTRY
Our parish's life depends on the labor of many people who work together to carry out our mission. As rector, the Rev'd Benjamin Straley leads the parish and represents S. Stephen's to our neighborhood, the Diocese, and the wider community. Other clergy assist the rector in leading worship, preaching, teaching, and caring for our community, all according to the particular characteristics of their order and office. Likewise, our professional lay staff lead, direct, and manage various programmatic and administrative aspects of our parish life. The vestry is the governing board of the parish. They are elected from among their fellow parishioners, lead by example, and oversee the material fabric of our community.
The Rev'd Benjamin Straley
The Rev. Benjamin Straley began as Rector of S. Stephen’s parish on 15 August 2020, the Feast of the Assumption. Prior to his call to S. Stephen’s, Fr. Benjamin served for two years as the Assistant Rector of St. John’s in Essex, Connecticut. While there, his primary focus was pastoral care along with Christian Formation and Adult Education. He was particularly passionate about forming deeper engagement with discipleship and spirituality. He also led the parish in a diocesan initiative called Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age, which worked to equip church members with the skills necessary to attending to the stories in their neighborhood, and to see what “God is up to” in the lives of those outside the church walls. Prior to ordained ministry, Fr. Benjamin was Associate Director of Music and Organist of Washington National Cathedral, and he is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. In his free time, he enjoys cooking (being a huge Ina Garten devotee), British television, improving his sailing skills, and heaping affection on his pets: two cats named Charlie Brown and Linus, and a new puppy named Grace. Grace is quickly becoming an ambassador for S. Stephen's as she encounters Brown University students around campus!
Read more about Fr. Benjamin's appointment and vision for St. Stephen's church here.
James Busby, DMus
Organist and Choirmaster
James Busby, a familiar figure in the musical life of New England, is entering his twenty-sixth year as organist and choirmaster at S. Stephen’s Church in Providence, where he administrates and directs the professional Schola Cantorum. Upon his arrival in 1993, following a period of interim musical direction, he restored the once-splendid music program, augmenting the traditional music of the Catholic liturgy, with a particular emphasis on 16th & 17th century polyphony and plainchant. On that glorious foundation he incorporates repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the commissioning of new works. Before coming to S. Stephen’s, Busby enjoyed a distinguished tenure as organist and choirmaster of St. John’s Parish, Hingham, Massachusetts. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, James Busby began organ study with Robert Lee Hutchinson, Jr. At that time he was encouraged to pursue work in church music both by Leo Sowerby and Paul Callaway of Washington Cathedral. An alumnus of the New England Conservatory, James Busby is fortunate to count among his mentors organists George Faxon and John Cook, both of whom formerly held the post of organist and choirmaster at The Church of the Advent, Boston. As organist he has performed recitals for the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society at Convention. Other appearances include recitals in England, Switzerland, France, and Germany, as well as broadcasts for The Voice of America. In addition to his work at S. Stephen’s, he is active as vocal coach and collaborative pianist. He has also worked with many conductors including John Moriarty, Sarah Caldwell, Thomas Dunn, Erich Leinsdorf and Arthur Fiedler. In October of 2013 he was awarded the degree D.Mus., honoris causa by Nashotah House Theological Seminary, for his great contribution to the vitality of sacred music in the life of the church.
Fr. Bill Locke
Fr. Bill Locke was ordained as deacon and priest in Rhode Island by Bishop George Hunt. He served as Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd and then St. Paul's Church, both in Pawtucket. For the past eight years he has been engaged in interim ministry, including a brief time at S. Stephen's. His wife Ethel teaches physics at Woonsocket High School. They have two adult daughters and two grandsons.
Fr. Michael Pearson
Fr. Michael Pearson was ordained to the Diaconate (1977) and the Priesthood (1978) by Bishop William Weinhauer (Diocese of Western North Carolina). He has served as the Curate at S. Stephen's Church, Providence (1977 - 1981), the Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Providence, Priest Associate at St. Mark's Church, New Canaan, Ct. (1989 - 1992), Rector of St. Luke's Church, Anchorage, Ky. (1992 - 2001), and St. Mary's Church, Wayne, Pa. (2001 - 2012). Fr. Pearson retired in 2013 and returned to Rhode Island where he has supplied at various parishes throughout the Diocese. He is married to Julie and they have one grown child.
Andrew Jonathan Welch
Communications and Administrative Assistant
A native of Bristol, Connecticut, Andrew Jonathan Welch has recently returned to New England after thirteen years of studying and working in the greater Washington, DC area. A pianist, conductor, and educator by trade, Andrew brings to his ministry at St. Stephen's over fifteen years of professional church work across sundry denominations, and believes in the meteoric power of effective, open communication to guide ministry and transform lives.
In addition to his work in church ministry and music, Andrew is an avid runner and cyclist, autodidactic learner of German, and a passionate, though amateur, gourmet, who is currently cooking his way through Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More. As of mid-November, he is a resident of Oak Hill in Pawtucket, where he lives with his partner Cynthia, a surgical medicine resident at Rhode Island Hospital.
John McGlashan takes care of the income side of the bookkeeping. Before his retirement in 2002 he was a machine designer/mechanical engineer. He is an active member of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Central Falls, RI and has been so since the early 1960’s. While at St. George’s he served on the Vestry and as Junior Warden. He also served as Parish Treasurer and Bookkeeper for twelve years. John and his wife have two daughters and one grandchild.
Diamond Centofanti came to us by way of the Epiphany Soup Kitchen (ESK), where he served as Head Chef during a time of rapid expansion of the clientele – thanks in large part to the quality of his cooking! He was recently hired to serve as chef for ESK again. As sexton, Diamond is responsible for the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, as well as setting up for meetings and events.
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
Sharon Lloyd Clark
Class of 2023
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022