Thursday, September 7, 2017

Announcing our new Associate Rector, The Rev. Lorna H. Williams

Dear friends,
Tidings of great joy:  I am delighted to announce that the Rev. Lorna H. Williams has accepted my call to be St. Andrew's Associate Rector for Children and Youth, beginning on October 1.  I can't wait for you to meet her!
Lorna comes to us from the Diocese of Pennsylvania.  Ordained in 1999, she has served parishes and schools in New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Florida.  Lorna is a team player who has always worked in multi-clergy parishes, frequently combining those responsibilities with chaplaincies at Episcopal schools and a university.  Her passion is serving children and youth, and it shows. 
Lorna graduated from Seabury-Western Seminary (my alma mater!!) in Evanston, Illinois, where she won a coveted preaching award.  Her references describe her as well-respected, diplomatic, patient, and pastoral.  As we proceeded through the lengthy and sometimes tedious steps of the search process, Lorna was consistently on top of details and responsive to all communications, attributes that bode well for communicating with us here at St. Andrew's.  In person she is warm and candid and funny. 
One of Lorna's references said that Lorna is very picky about where she applies to work.  That observation echoed our experience of Lorna.  When we asked why she was interested in coming to St. Andrew's, Lorna noted that many churches say that children and youth are important to them, but in her experience few churches actually treat children and youth as if they are important.  Yet it was clear to her from our website and from meeting us that St. Andrew's really is committed to our children and youth, and that made her want to be part of us.  Lucky us!
Lorna was born and raised in Jamaica and emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 to re-join her parents, who had come here five years earlier, seeking a better life for themselves and their children.  She has a twin sister and several brothers, and an amazing life story to share with us. 
You may have noticed that my earlier articles about our search talked about finding an assistant rector and that now I am using the term associate rector.  "Assistant" is the title often given to someone who is fresh out of seminary.  Lorna has been ordained longer than I have and comes to us with a wealth of experience, and therefore I have called her to be our Associate Rector.  According to our letter of agreement, one of her responsibilities is to be "a counselor to, and a confidant of, the rector."  She is eminently qualified to be both, and I feel very blessed to be able to partner in ministry with her.
I am extremely grateful to the members of my search advisory team:  John Whitley, Doug Vaughan, and David Lilley; and also to Audre'ana Ellis, Cassie Jones, and Allie Wittkamp, who assisted us with the interview process.  They were unanimous in their approval of Lorna.  I am also grateful to each of you for your patience and prayerfulness during the search; and to Jen, Elizabeth and Travis for their ministry in our midst in the in-between time.  Above all, I am grateful to God for leading us to Lorna and Lorna to us.
I know firsthand what a warm and gracious welcome you extend to new clergy, and I look forward to joining you in offering that same blessing to Lorna.  Please continue to hold her in your prayers as she prepares to join us.  May God bless us all in this exciting new relationship!

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