Clergy Update: Welcome to the Rev. Katherine Harper
I am thrilled to share that after a few months of discernment, I have extended an invitation to the Rev. Katherine Harper to serve as one of the Associate Rectors at Saint Stephen’s, and she has enthusiastically accepted. Katherine currently serves as the Associate Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Huntsville, Alabama. She has masterfully helped organize the pastoral care program at St. Thomas and developed teaching opportunities in support of Christian Formation. Her deep sense of walking with people and sitting with them, not as a fixer of problems, but as a pastoral response to her understanding of God, is a profound gift that will bless Saint Stephen’s immensely.
In the Diocese, Rev. Katherine currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Liturgy and Music and is one of the clergy members of the Search Committee for the 12th Bishop of Alabama. The Search Committee and Vestry were really moved by her leadership both in the parish and the Diocese. She understands the church not just as a priest, but as a Christian having served as vestry member, youth leader, and member of the choir at All Saints Episcopal Church in Homewood. More than anything, the search committee, vestry, and I all felt an incredible sense of awareness of Katherine’s pastoral gifts, her vision for the future, and the way that she nurtures her own faith and listens to God working in her life.
Prior to seminary at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, Rev. Katherine was a manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama developing new programs around wellness, and worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the UAB Injury Control Research Center communicating safety research, including prevention and rehabilitation of spinal cord and head injuries. The work of the Church is to seek wholeness and reconciliation with God in Christ. I cannot wait to see how Rev. Katherine’s understanding of pastoral care, formation, and her prior work around wellness and healing will generate new and life-giving programs at Saint Stephen’s where we are all working towards wholeness, healing, and reconciliation to God as we live into the life and community that God has called us into.
Please join me in extending gratitude to Ashley Kuntz, Cathy Buhring, John Freeman, Lindsey Hull, Michel Marcoux, and Melinda Thompson who have shown incredible insight and wisdom throughout the search process. We continue to meet and discern as we work to build our clergy team this fall. I could not have arrived at this decision without their faithful work.
Rev. Katherine’s first Sunday will be December 1, and she will be around some towards the end of November as she begins relocating from Huntsville. Please join me in welcoming Rev. Katherine, her husband Sam, and children Josephine (8) and Robinson (3) to the Saint Stephen’s community.
The Rev. John B. Burruss