Vestry Calls Priest-in-Charge
The Vestry and Wardens have announced the call of The Rev. Geoffrey Michael St. John Hoare, who will join us after completing an interim rector position at the Church of the Epiphany.
In late October, as we began considering potential candidates for interim rector, Bishop Mariann suggested we consider speaking with Geoffrey as a possible priest-in-charge. We quickly recognized that (as you’ll see from the biographical sketch below) Geoffrey brings extraordinary skills and experience that are exceptionally well aligned with the particular needs of our Parish at this time. Moreover, Geoffrey is available to us because he chose to leave his last rectorate and move to Washington for his wife’s career. He would, in fact, be a highly suitable candidate for Rector . . . but St. Alban’s is not yet ready to make such a call.
“Priest-in-charge” – in contrast to “interim rector” – may be a new concept for many. If Geoffrey were to serve as interim rector, he would be precluded from being a candidate for rector. Under the priest-in-charge model, he and the Vestry have agreed to a three-year commitment. At about the halfway point – in 18 months – we will mutually discern whether he should become our rector. If so, we will extend that call to him. If not, he could continue to serve, if he chooses, in the capacity of interim rector while the parish undertakes a full rector search; he could not be considered as a candidate for that position. In either capacity, he will function as rector, accountable to the Vestry under parish bylaws and subject to oversight authority of the Bishop.
The Senior Warden and other Executive Committee members have spent time with Geoffrey. The Vestry has met with him, as have staff members. We have spoken with people who have known and worked with him over the years in personal and professional capacities. We have read his writings and listened to his sermons. We have watched him celebrate the Eucharist. He and his family have worshipped among us. And we believe that the Holy Spirit has led this path of mutual discovery. We are deeply grateful that a person of Geoffrey’s extraordinary gifts and experience, so well suited to St. Alban’s, is available to us at the very time we need new leadership. We are confident that, with Geoffrey, we will embark on a shared journey of spiritual and community reconciliation and reinvigoration.
A Welcome and Incorporation Team, to be led by Tricia and Bob Pinkard, will be planning for Geoffrey’s arrival. In the meantime, please hold him and his family in your prayers, as well as our own dedicated clergy and staff who will sustain us through a joyful Advent and the Christmas and Epiphany Seasons.
In joy and peace,
The Wardens and Vestry
Geoffrey Michael St. John Hoare served for 18 years as Rector of All Saints’ in Atlanta, Georgia. He stepped down from that post in May to come to Washington when his wife Sage accepted a position as Vice President, Public Affairs, with AT&T. He is currently serving as Interim Rector at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, until the end of February.
Geoffrey, an Englishman (now a U.S. citizen), came to the United States in 1976 as a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in Religion. He then took a degree in Theology and Religious Studies from Cambridge University, where he is a member of Magdalene College. He returned to the U.S. to attend The Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was ordained Deacon and Priest in the Diocese of North Carolina, where he served at Christ Church in Raleigh from 1982 to 1987, before being called to serve as Rector of St. Paul’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia, from 1987 to 1998, and then being called to All Saints’ in Atlanta.
As rector of two large urban congregations, Geoffrey is deeply experienced with, and adept at managing, complex faith communities such as ours. He is a skilled and generous leader of staff, as well as a gifted preacher. (You can listen to some of his All Saints’ sermons here.) And he has a strong record of “growing” churches – in vision and ministry, in worshippers, and in resources.
A passionate advocate for Christian social ministry, in Atlanta he developed core Christian social ministries serving the drug addicted, the homeless, refugees, and the working poor. He led his parish into global relationships with the Dioceses of Western Tanganyika and Rio de Janeiro. He led major capital campaigns to develop youth and young adult ministries and renovate community spaces. He was a director of Visions-Inc. – an organization devoted to combating modern racism and other relationships with inherent differentials of power – and currently serves on its Advisory Board. In Alexandria, he helped found the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, as well as Carpenter’s Shelter (for homeless) and Carpenter’s Lodgings (a transitional housing ministry), and he led the parish into relationship with the Diocese of Reng in Sudan (now South Sudan).
Geoffrey taught theology for the Vocational Deacons Training Program in North Carolina, served as adjunct faculty for at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Preaching and Parish Ministry and taught in the Contextual Education Department at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. During a sabbatical, he taught at Magdalene College and at the Bible College of the Diocese of Western Tanganyika.
He participated in graduate seminars in Bowen Family Process Systems Theory with Rabbi Edwin Friedman, has long served as a trustee of Yale’s Berkeley Divinity School and more recently also joined the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Yale Divinity School. He has also served on the Advisory Board for the Anglican Observer to the United Nations, and in many diocesan capacities.
Geoffrey and his wife Sage Smith Hoare live with their two youngest daughters in Kalorama on Connecticut Avenue; an older son has flown the nest and another daughter is a student at Boston University.
Dear People of St. Alban’s,
I am honored by the call of your vestry to serve as your Priest-in-Charge. I look forward to our getting to know each other, even as I have enjoyed meeting your vestry along with your first class clergy and staff. I have known of your ministry and enjoyed a number of connections with your clergy over the years. There might even be some among you who remember Robert Estill, your rector for a few years in the 1970s. I believe I was the first potential candidate with whom he discussed Holy Orders after his consecration as Bishop Coadjutor of North Carolina and he subsequently ordained me both deacon and priest.
I will be with you for Lent next year at the latest, but for now will remain focused on the wonderful Church of the Epiphany downtown where I am serving as Interim Rector. The calling committee there are closing in on some candidates to be their next rector for the vestry to consider. They are confident that they will have extended a call before my six month agreement has run its course.
In the meantime, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, a blessed Advent, a merry Christmas and an epiphaneous Epiphany.
The Rev’d Geoffrey M. St. J. Hoare
A LETTER FROM BISHOP MARIANN
In a letter to St. Alban's, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde describes Geoffrey as "an exemplary Christian leader, a strong preacher and teacher, with years of experience leading large congregations."