June 13, 2024

Dear Friends in Christ:

Many of you are probably wondering what the future holds in store for St. John’s, especially in the immediate aftermath of Rev. Kate’s departure on June 30. We’re delighted to report that The Revs. Wilbert (Wilk) Miller and Carol Gadsden, familiar faces from the altar and pulpit, have selflessly offered to step out of well-deserved retirements to support St. John’s as interim co-pastors while

Wilk retired from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), which has been in full communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA since 2001. Licensed by the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to “perform divine Services, minister the Sacraments and Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, and to preach the Word of God,” he’s served inner-city, center city, and suburban congregations from coast to coast and is an engaging preacher and seasoned pastoral leader. His ministries in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, San Diego, and New York enriched the quality of life for the homeless, underserved, and marginalized. A graduate of Wittenberg University and Yale Divinity School, Wilk completed graduate studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. He enjoys writing, fishing, and volunteering as a steward with the Essex Land Trust. He lives in Essex with his wife, Dagmar.

Carol retired from full-time parish ministry in The Episcopal Church in 2021 after serving in a variety of ordained roles, including three rectorships, in the dioceses of Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, Newark, and New York. For 16 of her 39 years in ordained ministry, she held concurrent secular project management roles in the healthcare arena. An undergraduate of Keuka College, Carol earned Master’s degrees from Teachers’ College of Columbia University in Applied Human Development and Counseling, and her Master’s in Divinity from General Theological Seminary. She’s an avid golfer, walker and music aficionado, enjoys time with her adult daughters and their families, and lives in Essex with her wife, Linda March.

In a time of acute clergy shortages, we owe this duo a debt of gratitude for stepping up to provide full-time coverage to our congregation despite many requests from other churches throughout Eastern Connecticut. Wilk and Carol are committed to continuing the momentum we’ve achieved with Rev. Kate’s leadership and have made it clear that their greatest priority is to meet this community’s pastoral needs and support a seamless transition. Both place especially high value on pastoral care and have encouraged us to make their mobile numbers available when they begin in July.

Meanwhile, our current staffers will continue their work in the same functional areas:

Chelsea DiDonato – parish administration and communication
Meghan Wrinn – event planning, hospitality, and fellowship
Allison Fresher – worship life
Anthony Pandolfe – music

Although we’ll all miss Rev. Kate, we’re confident this team brings the collective commitment, skills, energy, maturity, and faithfulness to keep us moving forward with ‘business-as-usual.’ Your Vestry enthusiastically endorsed this holistic plan at its June 12 meeting.

Look for announcements soon about parish-wide meetings in July, when we’ll invite your perspectives to shape our upcoming search beginning in August!

In His service,

Scott R. Konrad        Sandy Loether
Warden                        Warden