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A Note from Our New Rector

Dear Saint Stephen's Community,
 
The calling committee of Saint Stephen's put forth my name and I have been called by your vestry to be your fourth rector.  I am both humbled and incredibly thankful, and I am looking forward to walking with each of you as your pastor and priest as we share in this common life together.
 
Through our conversations, I have been deeply moved by the remarkable obligation to outreach, the intentionality of creating faithful formation opportunities for people of all ages, and a commitment to cultivate space and liturgy where everyone is welcome, a table that is open and inviting, and where the gifts of all people are not only respected, but nurtured and empowered. There is so much beautiful ministry on the grounds of Saint Stephen's and the communities where the church reaches, and with God's help, I am eager for us to continue in this holy work together.
 
For the past few years, I have had the privilege of serving the Rt. Rev. Don Johnson as one of his two Canons in the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee.  Together we have dreamed and implemented many projects that have helped our congregations and our diocese become more connected to the communities where they are located. We have dreamed about what the Church is becoming in the 21st century and helped the Church live into this vision.  Prior to my diocesan work, I served churches in the Memphis, Tennessee area and Arlington, Virginia. Collaborative ministry and helping communities vision and implement new strategies for sharing the Good News of Christ is my passion. I look forward to getting to know you all and working alongside such a creative staff and vestry. 
 
My wife, Anne, has been with me at each step of this process and we both are very excited about raising our family, Jack (5) and Bailey (3), in the Saint Stephen's community.  As she is a school counselor and the children are both enrolled at Grace St. Luke's Episcopal School in Memphis, they will join us full time in the summer of 2018. 
 
I still have responsibilities in our diocese that I need to complete this year, but we are eager to join you all in January and to begin to listen and learn from you what God is up to in your lives.  Our first Sunday together will be January 21, 2018.  Prior to that day the vestry, staff, and I will be spending time together.  Until then, please know that you all are in my prayers, and Anne and I ask your prayers for our family as we transition to Birmingham.
 
Gratefully,
  

The Rev. John B. Burruss