NEW RECTOR ANNOUNCEMENT
It is with great pleasure that we are writing to share the joyful news that the vestry has called a new rector to S. Stephen’s Church in Providence! Fr. Benjamin Straley, currently Assistant Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut, was called by a unanimous vote last week after an extensive 10 month search. From the first meeting with the search committee, Fr. Straley’s personable and pastoral qualities were apparent and he was a delight to get to know over the ensuing months. Described by his references as “astute and sensitive, with a gift for bringing people together” and able to “connect to everyone at their level.” The committee found him grounded in his faith and “Anglo-Catholic to his core” having spent several years at Christ Church in New Haven and St. Paul’s on K Street in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Straley is a graduate of the University of Indiana with a major in music. He earned a Master of Music degree from Yale School of Music and a Masters of Divinity degree from Yale and Berkeley Divinity Schools in 2012. As Organist and Associate Director of Music and Liturgy at the National Cathedral, he helped oversee a substantial music program of 3 adult and children’s choirs, daily Eucharists and Evensong 4 days per week.
Fr. Straley has written, “As everything around us becomes more instant and fleeting, one aspect of the faith that will speak strongly to people is worship that is transcendent and grounded in timeless and ancient practices.” After a unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement by the search committee, the vestry had a chance to meet with Fr. Straley recently and voted to extend a call to him to be our next rector. We look forward to getting to know him with all of you over the coming months and years and to growing in our love and knowledge of each other and in our faith as an Anglo-Catholic community!
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the search committee for all of their efforts from thoughtful and in depth interviews with the many candidates, to an unwavering commitment to representing the many facets of our parish community and for hours of prayerful deliberation. The committee members were Bobby Rose (chair), Deborah Abel (communications secretary), Rollin Bartlett, Cathy Bledsoe, Modu Johnson, Sharon Lloyd Clark, Robyn Noble, and Chuck O’Boyle.
Fr. Straley’s first day will be 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption.
Finally, we thank you all for your support and prayers throughout this process and ask that those prayers continue as we welcome Fr. Straley and begin this next chapter in the history of S. Stephen’s Church in Providence!
Tom and Alison
Tom Bledsoe, Senior Warden
Alison Huff, Junior Warden
To read a letter from Fr. Straley to S. Stephen's, please click here.
To view an introduction video from Fr. Straley to S. Stephen's, please click here.