Vestry announces the Rev. Jay Biedenharn, Rector
The Saint John’s Vestry is pleased to announce that we have called the Rev. Jay Biedenharn to be the next Rector of Saint John’s Church. Jay is currently Associate Priest for Faith Development at Christ Episcopal Church, Greenville, South Carolina. Many may remember him as the former Associate Rector here at Saint John’s several years ago.
In the Parish Survey that many of you filled out last year, you stated the desire for a rector who might be: “A coach who will encourage us to grow; a teacher to engage both children and adults to challenge us, question us, poke us, and wake us up to what will benefit our community and our spiritual development; a pastor who will help us take better care of one another, and finally, a friendly leader who will help us make everyone feel welcome.”
The Vestry and the Search Committee believe that we have found such a person in the Rev. Jay Biedenharn. His references from his current parish in South Carolina use words like, “gifted,” and “rising star,” when describing Jay’s ministry there. His current Senior Warden says, “Jay is a star with the talent to go anywhere. An old, seasoned man in a young man’s body. Excellent preacher, Great pastoral care.” His current Rector says that Jay has “established deep and meaningful relationships here. We will certainly miss him, and I am confident he will be a blessing to Saint John’s as their next Rector.”
Speaking for the Search Committee, Chair Lain Whitaker observed that it’s unusual for a priest to be called to a parish in which he has worked as an assistant, but the decision of the committee was unanimous. “Jay’s experience, his energy, his wonderful way with people, and his deep reverence for the mystery of the sacrament convinced us that he was the very best choice for Saint John’s.”
Jay and his wife Louise, and children Lucia, 2, and Dorothy, 4, will be joining us soon, and a Transition Committee has been formed to help them all get settled into the community.
Jay’s first Sunday will be June 23. His first day of work will be Monday, June 17, the first day of Vacation Bible School. Stay tuned for more updates from the Transition Committee on ways that we will be welcoming Jay and his family.
Thank you, Search Committee, and thank you, parishioners of Saint John’s, who have prayed for this process throughout the year, and, who we know will continue to pray for this important, exciting new era in our parish!
Mike Keeney, Senior Warden,
The Vestry of Saint John’s Memphis