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News : Local Nov 7, 2007 - 7:38 AM

St. John's announces new Rector

By Press Release

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Stamford, CT – St. John’s Episcopal Church announces the calling of the Rev. Dr. James Wheeler as our new Rector. Rev. Dr. Wheeler will be only the 11th Rector in a distinguished line that began in 1748.

The Episcopal Church follows a rigorous process to match the strengths and opportunities of each parish with the right priests. The St. John’s search began two years ago when after serving 15 years at St. John’s , the Rev. Dr. Leander Harding was called to the faculty of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry. Rev. Dr. Wheeler is enthusiastic about bringing his extensive pastoral experience and leadership skills to the diversity of Stamford: “ Stamford is an exciting city on the move. I am honored and thrilled to be called to serve as St. John's next Rector, a thriving Christian community in the heart of downtown Stamford .”

Rev. Wheeler brings almost 30 years of parish experience, the past 20 at St. Paul ’s in Woodbury , CT. His prior service included parishes in Eggertsville , NY and Baltimore , MD. Wheeler’s academic credentials include a Doctor of Ministry from Virginia Theological Seminary, a Masters of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Divinity School , and a BA from The College of Wooster. Rev. Wheeler and his wife Carol will relocate to the St. John’s rectory in January 2008. They have three adult daughters.

Jane Holt, a lifelong parishioner at St. John’s speaks for the Search Committee: “We are excited and grateful for the calling of Jim Wheeler. He comes to us as a faithful pastor, a patient teacher and a wise counselor. Through Father Jim, we will continue our mission of sharing the love and teachings of Jesus Christ through inspirational worship and music, strengthening spiritual journeys, and reaching out through our talents and resources to Stamford and beyond.” Adds Search Committee member Alison Chaltas “Father Jim brings the strong spirituality and calming tolerance that will help gracefully guide us through this challenging time of turmoil across the greater Anglican community.”

Wheeler joins St. John’s as the parish is preparing our annual gift to the Stamford community – the 16th annual Christmas Show. This musical celebration of the nativity story features St. John’s choir, a cast of professional musicians and parishioners, and a live animal stable of llama, sheep and goats. Sunny Stearns, show producer, reminds all “we welcome all of Stamford to come join our new Rector in enjoying this wonderful holiday tradition for the whole family on Sunday, December 2 at 4PM and 6PM.” Admission is free with donation of canned food or toys for St. Luke’s Lifeworks. Following the show view the tree lighting and Stamford Model Railroad, visit with St. Nicholas, and join us for refreshments. 628 Main Street , Stamford . 203-348-2619 x 10.

About St. John’s:

A multicultural parish of varied ages, lifestyles and socio-economic backgrounds, we of St. John’s celebrate our diversity and strive to seek and serve Christ in all persons. As a beautiful sanctuary in downtown Stamford with corporate headquarters on one side and low-income housing on the other, St. John’s aspires to grow with the times while welcoming a family environment.

Notable points about St. John’s :

§ History – A 265-year tradition of outreach to the community including the establishment of Stamford ’s first public hospital, oldest library collection, missions that grew into three other Stamford Episcopal, and more.

§ Architecture – The Gothic-revival church building was designed in 1890 by William Potter. Several stained glass windows are original Tiffany design.

§ Music – Led by noted organist Dr. Sean Jackson, St. John’s is well recognized for its music program including the 6800 pipe organ centerpiece and Steinway piano. St. John’s choir blends talented volunteers and professional vocalists presenting spiritual choral works ranging from classical to contemporary.

§ Haitian minisitry – St. John’s is the home to L’Eglise de L’Epiphanie, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. The parish is planning a mission trip to Haiti in the Spring of 2008.

§ Christian Education – Nationally regarded, St. John’s hosts a center of excellence for training in the Godly Play program.

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