In the old days absolutely nothing happened in churches in the summer. I remember once reading an article about how a parish office could be closed in summer because all the “finest residents” had gone either to the mountains or the shore. Ouch! Even the description failed to acknowledge that a lot of people have to work every week of the year and don’t have the opportunity to escape for rest and relaxation.


Arkansas once had a bishop who spent May through September in the Northeast, ostensibly raising money for church work, but more likely to escape the heat of an Arkansas summer. These days, life is different. We find ourselves busy all year round. One person who has been very busy is Canon Jason Alexander, who focuses on clergy moves. We have a lot of them lately, and I want to keep you up to date because many of you know the following people, but do not necessarily receive each congregation’s newsletter.


The Rev. Scott Walters accepted a call to become rector at Calvary Church in Memphis, and replacing him at Christ Church in Little Rock as priest-in-charge will be the Rev. Kate Alexander.


The Rev. Patricia Matthews also left Christ Church to take a position as assistant rector at St. Mark’s in Little Rock.


The Rev. Chuck Chapman retired from St. Mary’s in El Dorado in June. He will serve as part-time vicar at St. James’ in Magnolia. Meanwhile, the Rev. Michael Millard is the supply priest at St. Mary’s.


The Rev. Sara Milford has been named vicar at All Saints’ in Bentonville, after having most recently been the curate at St. Luke’s in Hot Springs. She replaces the Rev. Roger Joslin, who left All Saints’ to work in the Diocese of Long Island.


The Rev. Tom Momburg is serving through the end of this year as priest-in-charge at Trinity Church in Searcy.


The Rev. Jos Tharakan resigned as rector from All Saints’ in Russellville, after having served there for a decade.


The Rev. Teri Daily has just resigned as rector from St. Peter’s in Conway, and will be living in Clarksville, where her husband teaches. The two of them decided that it was time for his commute to work each day to be shorter. The Rev. Bob Brown has been named interim vicar of St. Peter’s.


The Rev. Jim McDonald resigned as rector from St. Andrew’s in Mountain Home when he accepted a call as rector at St. Paul’s, Batesville. His induction as the new rector, by the way, is July 27.


The Rev. Canon Dennis Campbell is retiring from St. James’ in Eureka Springs on Sept. 1 and will be moving to Montana, where his wife Joanna has accepted a new job.


As you can see, the summer of 2017 has so far not been a time when nothing happens. We in the office will keep you up to date on who becomes rector or vicar in our open congregations. As Jason would say, if you know the name of a good priest who really ought to be working in Arkansas rather than somewhere else, let Jason know. More people need to experience the vitality and health that are markers of the Episcopal Church in this diocese. We have plenty of mountains and lakes that they—and we—can enjoy all year round.

Busy Summer – Letter from Bishop Benfield

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