The Rev. Canon Anna Stewart Powell, Class of 1984, rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Lumberton, New Jersey from 2001 to 2012, died of cancer, at home on June 19, her 69th birthday. She was a canon for the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey in Trenton, said her husband, the Rev. John Charles Powell, also GTS Class of '84.
Born in Neosho, Missouri, Powell earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1977. After marrying John Powell in 1974, she earned an M.Div. at General, which awarded her and her husband its Church and Society Prize for their essay "Homelessness and Hospitality."
Powell began her Lumberton career as vicar at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1986, which meant she was in charge of the congregation. "She really did create in that parish a community that grew together into something much more than just the people who gathered there," her husband said.
Powell "did a marvelous job" at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, parishioner Marsha Cavender, said. "When she went there, it was a mission with 7-12 people who attended regularly. And she took it all the way to being a parish." Cavender added that was "quite phenomenal [because] to become a parish, St. Martin had to become self-supporting." Powell's effect on Cavender was life-changing, she said. "After being away for 40 years" from organized religion, Cavender met Powell and eventually became St. Martin's senior warden, a job which she said is "top of the laity in the Episcopal Church."
In addition to organizing parish retreats at local camps in winter, Powell held monthly hoagie sales year-round which usually attracted 1,200 to 1,300 people at a time when St. Martin's congregation numbered only 80 to 100.
She was a member of Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey's Trial Court, Ecumenical Commission, Environmental Commission, Liturgical Commission, and Committee on the Diaconate.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Gordon; and a granddaughter.
A Requiem Eucharist was offered on June 25, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Lumberton, New Jersey, followed by a luncheon in the parish hall.
Condolences may be offered to the family at www.lewisfuneralhomemoorestown.com.