Many of you have heard me say, “It takes a village to raise a child and a world to raise a priest.” As I approach ordination into the Sacred Order of Priests and transition into my first call, I wanted to express my gratitude for the fertile soil that St. Matthew’s continues to be in my formation. St. Matthew’s is where my family has shed tears of sorrow and tears of joy; it is the place my children and I call our church home. As I find my way in Charlotte and among the beautiful people of St. John’s, I find myself still connected to the memories and love of St. Matthew’s. As the Holy Spirit draws me into the wider church, please know I remain connected to St. Matthew’s. “God be with you till we meet again; ‘neath bright wings protecting hide you, daily manna still provide you: God be with you till we meet again,” (Wonder, Love, and Praise Hymnal, # 801).
With love and joy,
Editor’s Note: Nancee was ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests on Saturday, June 20 at the Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta. St. Matthew’s was her home parish throughout her discernment process and seminary. She was called as Curate to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Charlotte, NC upon completion of seminary in May 2015.
Father Christopher Szarke received his certificate as a Board Certified Chaplain at the Association of Professional Chaplains Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, June 6th. This is the highest professional certification for healthcare chaplains. He was also elected to a three-year term as secretary for the Assembly of Episcopal Healthcare Chaplains (AEHC), a 300+ member national organization.
He was St. Matthew’s seminarian through Candler School of Theology from August 2010 through May 2013 under the mentorship of Father Doug Coil and his faculty advisor, Bishop Keith Whitmore. Father Christopher was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 22, 2013 and presented by Althea and Mallard Benton of St. Matthew’s, his confessor Mother Ceci Duke, and his spiritual director Barbara D. Meinert. Ordination to priesthood was on the Feast of St. Thomas, December 21, 2013, when he was presented by Father Doug, Ivy and Colin Monteith, and his father, Jim Szarke, at the Cathedral of St. Philip. His first Mass was at St. Matthew’s on Sunday, December 22, 2013, with Mother Debbie Metzgar Shew participating.
Father Christopher recently resigned from his positions as chaplain at Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, New York; chaplain and director of spiritual care at Cortland Regional Medical Center, Cortland; and associate priest at St. John’s, Ithaca.
He will begin his new position as rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Belfast, Maine on July 7th with first Sunday liturgies on Sunday, July 12th. St. Margaret’s has 203 active members in the bay town of less than 7,000 people. It is the only Episcopal parish in the county and significant ministries include working with men who have been recently imprisoned and with women healing from domestic violence.
He writes, “St. Matthew’s continues to shape my ministry. You welcomed, prayed, loved, provided financial support, and taught me through seminary. Your continued prayers are appreciated. You will always be in my prayers and have a special connection to St. Margaret’s. Thank you for all you share.”
New contact information:
Father Christopher Szarke
St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church
95 Court Street
Belfast, ME 04915