The Vestry of St. John’s is delighted to introduce our new rector, Reverend Kate E. Wesch.
Reverend Kate is currently rector of St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Seattle. She spent several days with us in October, getting to know our towns, our church, and us. We “Zoomed” with her, prayed with her, enjoyed meals with her. We are confident you will be as impressed with her as we are, and extend a warm welcome to her, husband Joel, daughter Avery (10), son Myles (7), and her mother (Carey Emig) as the newest members of St. John’s.
She is a superstar; an exemplary priest and rector, who faces the same challenges as all of us, keeping focused on St. John’s needs, while ensuring her household keeps running, becoming a community leader, and making sure her children’s homework gets done.
Kate was born and raised in Oklahoma, and knew she was called to the priesthood since her childhood years. An honors graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she received her Masters of Divinity from The Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. Ordained to the priesthood in 2007, she has served three Episcopal churches in Washington State. Professionally, among other honors, she is a Forward Movement board member-(2019-present); a General Convention Deputy, Diocese of Olympia, 2021; and a member of the House of Deputies State of the Church Committee (2018-present).
As a priest, Kate is passionate about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it transforms our daily lives, giving us strength and courage to become the people God calls us to be. As the Vestry got to know Kate, we were all taken by her spirituality, thoughtfulness and charm. She asked to spend time in the sanctuary-alone-to develop a relationship with the church. We were impressed with her responses to a daunting interview process; she cares about big things, as well as tiny acts of outreach to address food insecurity, noting these are serving God outside the church in new ways. She enjoys getting to know neighbors and engaging the community.
Kate says, “It is with tremendous excitement that I look forward to joining you in Essex in the near future. In the Kingdom of God, relationship is primary, and I am eager to begin forming new relationships with each of you.”
At her current parish, she takes pride in noting increases in attendance, as well as wider economic and age diversity. She notes she has a prayerful and intentional style of presiding that she hopes draws others more deeply into the worship experience. She believes preaching to be a spiritual practice and has developed over the years a prayerful rhythm of study, reflection, writing and rehearsing which has only stood to strengthen her skills as a preacher. In her words, “Worship is about God and the gathered community. It is not about me.” Another point we were so impressed with was her desire to get to know people, and her intellectual and spiritual curiosity about what brings them joy and about their prayer life. This helps her guide them along their spiritual journey, explaining “…it is all about listening to someone’s story, empowering lay ministry, and inviting people to go deeper.”
Reverend Kate knows that 2020 has changed the Church forever. The global pandemic and technology have radically altered the way people communicate and interact. At the same time, people crave in person and inter-generational experiences. She is just the person we were looking for and will begin her new ministry with us on February 15, 2021. Please join us in welcoming her!
Brian Fresher, Warden Karen Kaestle, Warden
Wardens, on behalf of the Vestry, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Essex.