Welcoming Matt Stewart as our new Priest-in-Charge!

Your Vestry is pleased to announce that we have accepted Bishop Alan’s appointment of the Very Rev. Matthew Stewart to be our Priest-in-Charge for the next three years!  Matt is currently Rector of Church of the Holy Spirit in Fall River, where he has served since 2008.  He is also Dean of the Mt. Hope–Buzzards Bay Deanery.

Before his call in Fall River, Matt attended General Theological Seminary in New York, then served St. Stephen’s in Lynn as an urban resident for three years (similar to Edwin Johnson’s role at St. James’s).

Matt has many of the qualities we have prayed for in our next leader. Matt straightforwardly preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of his congregation. He is eager to inspire, support, and coordinate lay ministry as a central focus of his call. Matt values the diversity of identities, viewpoints, and working styles in our community. We have found that Matt is focused on listening to who we are — all of us! — so that he can ground his ministry in that understanding.

Matt also has experience coordinating large and complicated projects, which will help him lead us through redevelopment. He has been the administrator for a multi-year, million-dollar diocesan grant for a Mission Hub. Earlier, Matt arrived in Fall River as the new leader of three congregations that had merged to form the Church of the Holy Spirit, and he led them to fulfill their plans to sell two of their previous sites in order to thoroughly renovate the third church building.

A Priest-in-Charge is appointed by the bishop, and so there was no formal application process. Our bishop appointed Matt because Alan believes Matt is the best person to lead us at this time. Of course Matt is sad to be leaving the congregation that he has led for the last decade, and yet he is obviously energized by this opportunity to work with all of us at St. James’s. Matt has been inspired by our community’s distinctive work since the beginning of his ministry, and he enthusiastically consented to this appointment. We and Matt are eager for him to meet all of you.

Today (August 5th), Matt is informing his parishioners for the first time that he will be leaving them. Matt will spend the next two months wrapping up his ministry in Fall River before joining us full time on October 1st, 2018.

This week, your Vestry officers will be finalizing details for the Rev. Bill Albinger to serve us as a bridge priest, spanning the gap until Matt’s arrival. Bill will lead our worship and provide pastoral care from mid-August through September.

If you have questions, any of your officers and Vestry members would be delighted to discuss any aspect of this transition with you in more detail. We have grown more and more excited about the prospect of working with Matt as we’ve gotten to know him better, and we hope you will feel the same!

— Vestry officers Lauren Rigsby, Sarah Forrester, Lucas Sanders, and Sarah Borgatti

 

For more information about Matt and his ministry:

 

For more background on our Priest-in-Charge discernment process:

  • Read Lauren's letter about the discernment process that led to this decision, including the abbreviated parish profile that describes who we are and what we were looking for.