Hello, St. John’s! As your newly appointed Priest-In-Charge I am eager to get acquainted with each and every one of you, and for you to become acquainted with me. Relationships are the heart and soul of all ministry, and I very much look forward to being in relationship with you as we travel together this awesome and exciting and terrifying journey that is life.
The most important thing for you to know about me is that I care deeply and passionately about our relationship with God, and, that our relationship with God be sustained and mediated by our relationships with each other. My relationship with God began outdoors and in the bosom of my family. I have always felt closest to God outdoors: sailing on my family’s small boat on Lake Erie, hiking in the woods of southern Ohio, and camping in Canada. When people ask me, “Where did you grow up?” my first answer is always “outdoors.” (Our home was in Toledo, Ohio.)
Thirty years ago, while I was working in the public relations department of a bank, I realized that what I really cared about and what I wanted to devote my life to was people’s relationship with God. I had come to experience the joy and mystery and support of Christian community in rural Indiana where I taught high school English and Journalism. I entered the ordination process in the Diocese of Ohio, and in 1991 earned an M.Div. at Virginia Seminary, where I also met my husband, Daniel. His ministry continues to take place in a hospital setting; currently he works as a staff scientist at Akron Children’s Hospital. Our 23-year-old son Nate lives in northern Kentucky where he works in the aviation industry and looks after his paternal grandparents in Cincinnati.
My family of origin is extremely important to me, so I am grateful that my appointment by Bishop Gibbs brings me much closer to my siblings in Michigan. My sister Agnes and her husband Keith live in East Lansing and care for our mother, who has dementia. Jane and her husband Paul live in Troy. Their sons Todd and David and David’s wife Crystal live nearby in Troy and Rochester Hills. My first great-nephew, Theodore James, was just born July 30! I look forward to hosting all of them in St. John’s beautiful rectory, where I will take up residence around September 22.
Having just returned from a 3-month sabbatical that took me to Boston, England, and Scotland, I come to you well-rested, refreshed, and eager to dive into the mission and ministries of St. John’s. My first weekend with you coincides with your Fall Festival, and I can’t wait to witness all the activities that make this such a fun event!
Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and until we meet and for ever after, may the peace of God be upon you and those you love.
Mary Vellardita & Sharon Scott
Cindy Fowler & Julie Jones
Jory King, Neil Barbu, John Buehner, and Rod Aston
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