July 13, 2017

Dear Beloved Members of St. Gregory’s,

As we give thanks for Pastor Angela’s ministry among us and send her to St. Thomas Church in College Station, Texas, with our love and prayers, it is with immense joy that I announce that the Rev. Benjamin A. Thomas, Jr. has accepted my and the Vestry’s call to serve as our new Assistant Rector. Deacon Ben graduated in May from the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee. Prior to seminary, he had a successful career in non-profit finance and international development. He is married to Anna and they have five children –  Hilina (10), Saida (9), Judah (8), Solie (6) and  Myrrh (3).

Bishop Peter Eaton recommended Ben to us. He and Anna participated in an extensive interview process involving several Skype calls along with a personal visit to St. Gregory’s. The whole process was bathed in prayer; I strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding our review and deliberations.

Ben possesses a keen mind, a faithful heart and the love of language of a published poet. The Rev. Timothy Boggs, one of a dozen references I contacted, wrote this about him:

“Ben is deeply spiritual. This may not seem readily apparent given the power of his brain and language, but there is a sacred heart at work in him. It serves him so very well in the stresses of life and its demands. I am a high-altitude climber and I have seen such strengths in great climbers…a resiliency borne of heart, a confidence in God’s love and a clarity of personal values and hope. Ben dreams dreams for himself, his family and the church rooted in Grace.”

 Anna is truly a grace-filled partner in marriage and ministry. She, too, is a published poet, Christian Educator and busy mother! Their beautiful family is deeply committed to life and service in the church. They are delighted to reside at our 298 NE 2nd St. home.

The family arrives on August 1. Ben’s first official Sunday will be Sunday, August 2o – our Parish Picnic Sunday! God willing and the people of God consenting, he will be ordained a priest at Trinity Cathedral in Miami on Saturday, November 18. Until then, Ben will serve as Deacon and “Priest in Training”. Our Lord calls us to a special vocation:  we have the sacred privilege of forming Ben in his priesthood as he and his family serve with and among us in the coming years.

Please join me in welcoming Ben, Anna, Hilina, Saida, Judah, Solie and Myrrh into our family in Christ at St. Gregory’s!

Christ’s peace and blessings,

The Rev. Andrew J. Sherman, Rector