New Rector Called to St. John's
Dear St. John’s Family,
It is with tremendous joy and gratitude that we introduce The Reverend Nathaniel Anderson, his wife Carolyn, and their daughter Inga. Your patience and steadfast prayers have provided the strength and energy that the Profile and Search Teams and the Vestry needed as they worked to develop a Parish Profile and sort through the candidates recommended by our Diocese. The end result of the past few months of work is a clearer picture of who we are at St. John’s and where we would like to go. With that vision in mind the Vestry spent several weeks meeting and interviewing three finalists. Nathaniel was unanimously endorsed by the Vestry after a very thoughtful process of sharing and listening. We called him that same evening and then waited as Nathaniel and Carolyn prayed and thought about their response. So strong was our confidence that they are the perfect choice that some of us couldn’t even imagine any response other than “yes,” but we waited patiently. All our prayers and patience have been rewarded by the thoughtful and enthusiastic acceptance of our call by Nathaniel.
Nathaniel is coming to us from Wilbraham where he served in both the Lutheran and the Episcopal Church. His deep compassion and wisdom as a leader brought about a change in his two relatively small congregations that resulted in their decision to merge as one congregation blending both traditions. The careful and thoughtful manner in which this was done demonstrated to all of us the spiritual depth and leadership integrity that we are seeking. His ability to respectfully blend two styles of worship speaks to Nathaniel’s commitment to honoring all of his parishioners. Nathaniel’s background and education is from the Lutheran tradition, but he is well versed in the Episcopal liturgy to which he finds himself increasingly drawn. He is in communion with both our Bishop Fisher and the Lutheran Synod.
We will be blessed by the kindness and thoughtful care which is so strongly evident throughout Nathaniel’s ministry. He is passionate about encouraging leadership from within the congregation and supporting initiatives. He is committed to a strong collaboration with the Parish and Vestry as we form our future. The Wardens and Vestry will stand by Nathaniel and support him as he carries out his ministry. We will walk together in our joys and challenges and work with integrity and transparency, always keeping God at the center of everything we do as we live out God’s mission for St. John’s Church. We are confident that Nathaniel will take the time to meet each of us where we are, walk with us, and nurture each of our gifts.
With joyful praise to our Lord who has provided abundantly for our St. John’s parish,
Respectfully, Yours in Christ,
Claudia Ellet and Margot Sanger, Co Wardens
A Letter from the Rev. Nathaniel Anderson
Dear people of St. John’s,
What a joy it is to write you and offer a brief introduction. Having met at a small liberal arts college in a rural setting, Carolyn and I always thought we would end up in such a place. From the moment I read your delightful profile, to our visit this past December to Williamstown, Carolyn and I have been overwhelmed with excitement and have fallen in love with St. John’s.
I come to the Episcopal Church from its full-communion partner, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Over my four years in ministry with the people of Epiphany-Wilbraham, I have come to love all that the Episcopal Church has to offer. I feel the two denominations are uniquely positioned for fruitful and life-giving ministry.
In my life and ministry I am passionate about social justice, hungry for intellectual inquiry and deeply rooted in music and liturgy. I don’t take myself too seriously, but I take my call very seriously. I see ministry as a partnership embracing the idea that we all share in the “priesthood of all believers.” In my time at CTK-Epiphany we have focused on bringing two congregations together. I have also made it a point to get out of the church building. To engage with our neighbors, build community and reach the unchurched wherever they might be.
I am incredibly excited about meeting you all and beginning our work together in a few months. Until then, perhaps you will see us about town as we visit more and more for house hunting and job interviews for Carolyn.
If the vestry and search committee are any indication, I am richly blessed to have received this call to minister among you. The hospitality and welcome shown thus far is both humbling and invigorating. Thank you for this great honor to serve as your next Rector. I look forward to meeting you all very soon.
Grace and peace,
The Rev. Nathaniel S. Anderson was born in Boston and grew up in North Easton, MA. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Luther College (Decorah, IA) in 2007 and a M.Div from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC) in 2011. His fondest memories of seminary include playing flag football for the Southern Seminary “Flying Dove” – facing off against other Lutheran and Episcopal seminaries in the annual “Luther Bowl” tournament.
Attending college in the Midwest and seminary in the South, Nathaniel had no idea where he would be assigned following ordination. He was very excited to find himself placed in the New England Synod and was called to serve Christ the King Lutheran Church in Wilbraham, MA in 2011. In 2014 Pastor Nathaniel also became “Father” Nathaniel, beginning to serve the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Wilbraham as well.
Nathaniel is married to Carolyn Starz, a biology teacher currently on maternity leave from Longmeadow High School. The couple met after the first day of choir rehearsal Sophomore year. Nathaniel thought he was very clever, waiting to bring his tray to the dish room of the cafeteria until Carolyn did the same – “How do we keep running into each other?” You should know that Luther only has 2500 students – it’s not hard to run into someone.
Nathaniel and Carolyn are the proud parents of James, stillborn in 2015, and Inga, who will turn one year old in February. They are very excited about the move to Williamstown and are currently looking for a home. They undertook an extensive renovation of their current home, and have a huge garden and five chickens, which should give you some idea about what they’re looking for (every time Nathaniel talks to Tom Nicholson he mentions Hancock and its low taxes).
Nathaniel and Carolyn enjoy what can only be described as “hipster suburban farming,” running, hiking, cooking and discovering delicious new beers (IPAs are of particular interest for Nathaniel – brown ales for Carolyn).
At Christ the King-Epiphany, Nathaniel’s ministry focused on bringing two congregations together into one, all while straddling the “Lutherpalian” divide. He also started a successful “Faith on Tap” ministry in a local pub, held regular office hours at local coffee shops, and made it a priority to get out into the the community, building relationships and welcoming all to the Church. Nathaniel loves preaching, teaching and walking with God’s people in this life of discipleship.
Please click HERE to read a scriptural reflection from our Interim Rector, Libby Wade.
Thank you for your prayers, support, patience, and faith during the Rector search. Thank you to the Renewal Works Team, Profile Team, Search Team, and Vestry who entered into their work with the community of St. John’s in their hearts, seeking God’s voice and will. Endless thanks to Libby, whose unceasing prayers and guidance gave us comfort and strength. Thank you to the Diocese who knows us so well and sent us Nathaniel.
Claudia Ellet and Margot Sanger, Wardens