July 30, 2022
Dear PJ's Community,
The Vestry and Wardens of St. PJ's are excited to announce that we will be joined by a new part-time priest-in-charge in September: the Rev. Stacey Kohl! We are looking forward to growing in partnership with her and seeing what the Spirit has up Her sleeve for the next chapter for our community! She will be joining us for three Sundays a month, and doing important work during the week. Continue reading for an introductory note from Rev. Stacey:
As the now infamous line from the classic late-90s movie, Jerry Maguire, says “You had me at hello.” St. Paul and St. James had me at hello or, perhaps more accurately, at the line I discovered when I googled St. Paul and St. James: “Centered on Jesus, Jazz, and Justice. All are welcome.” Jesus, Jazz, and Justice, and all are welcome — sign me up; and you did!
I am overjoyed to be joining the community of St. Paul & St. James as your next priest-in-charge. I thought, perhaps, you all might like to learn a bit more about me as we step forward together.
I am a native of St. Louis, Missouri, and am a cradle-Christian. I’m sure you’ll notice I didn’t say “cradle Episcopalian.” I was raised in the Southern Baptist church and spent many years participating in ministry within the evangelical world, including serving on staff of a mega-church for almost ten years. I can imagine, for some of you, the words “evangelical” and “Southern Baptist” can raise some alarm bells, as they have sadly become synonymous with some very troubling beliefs and behaviors. Perhaps you are even wondering, who has our Vestry chosen for us?
Well, rest assured, while my formation as a follower of Christ may have begun in the conservative evangelical world, it did not end there! God never stops revealing God’s-self and transforming us day after day. God has continued to walk with me, encouraging me to release harmful belief systems that were damaging to myself and others and embrace the expansive, welcoming, and open “Way of Love.”
Together with my husband, Zach, I made the move to Connecticut in 2012. Here we found not only a new physical home (both of us fell in love with Connecticut!), but a new spiritual one as well in The Episcopal Church at St. John’s, West Hartford.
It was while at St. John’s, I first acknowledged the call to ordained ministry God had placed in my heart long ago. As someone who identifies as female, my call to ordained ministry was not recognized or welcomed in the evangelical world of my youth. I had spent years attempting to deny who I was, and now I found myself being encouraged to embrace the fullness of who I am, a woman, an artist, a storyteller, and a priest..
Since my ordination to the priesthood I have served as Curate at St. Mark’s, Mystic, priest-in-charge at Christ Episcopal Church, Norwich, and most recently as Communications & Media Associate at ECCT. My family, including Zach, our 4-year-old, Henry, and our English Cocker Spaniel, Kermit, now call New London home. We are all looking forward to getting to know each of you; to share more of our stories and, even more so, to learn yours as we step forward on this journey together.
Blessings to you all and see you in September!
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PJs Wardens and Vestry