Beyond the Close

Wendell Phillips ’66 Announces 3rd Generation Clergy

The Rev. Wendell Phillips, Class of 1966, and his wife Linda, are proud to announce that their son the Rev. Thomas Morgan Phillips was ordained a priest this past Palm Sunday in the Diocese of Central Florida and is serving at the Church of the Incarnation in Oviedo, FL.

A resident of North Carolina, Wendell has been serving since 2014 as Volunteer Organist and rotating preacher and celebrant at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Charlotte. He is the son of the Rev. Canon Wendell W. Phillips, D.D., (deceased September 10, 1995), Rector Emeritus of Christ Church, Rye and an honorary canon of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

A New Call for Hershey Mallette-Stephens ‘15

The Rev. Hershey Mallette-Stephens, Class of 2015, is the new Associate Rector for Children, Youth, and Family Ministries at St. John’s, Norwood, Chevy Chase-Bethesda, MD. The post includes directing the Church School.

Most recently, Mallette-Stephens served in the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Evangelism, where she was Project Lead for the Beloved Community Storysharing Campaign. This work afforded her the joy and opportunity to hear stories of faith, grace, and discovery from Episcopalians of all ages and backgrounds from around the country.

She has also served as chaplain intern at New York University, and as a chaplain at several international youth events and Episcopal Church young adult conferences. A native North Carolinian, she was educated at North Carolina A&t State University and Howard University before attending General where she served as Chief Sacristan and was awarded the Bishop of Newark Preaching Prize.

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A New Book from Mary Ann Archer ‘02

Mary Ann Archer, Class of 2002, has written a new book, “Shared Imagination: A Channel to God and with Each Other” (published by Balboa Press and available at Amazon). It is a collection of true, spiritual narratives using Ignatian style imagination in meditation and the spiritual experiences that can blossom in everyday life from using that method.  The work centers on mostly first-person stories of meditations and life events, told with permission, interspersed with instructions on how to form and run a shared imagination group.

These encounters, or “shared imaginations,” arose in a variety of settings: individual and group meditation meetings, recounted dreams, shared spiritual experiences, imaginative conversations with God, letters written to holy people of the past, and some mystical traveling conversations. The stories illustrate the interlacing of an individual’s imagination with that of the Divine.

Archer will be introducing the imaginative meditation method at General on Saturday, September 22nd during an Ignatian weekend led by Dr. Anne Silver, Affiliated Prof. of Christian Spirituality, and also a member of the Class of 2002.

Archer is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and professional flutist.  She has worked with individuals and groups in spiritual direction for more than thirty years, focusing on active imagination. A member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for twenty-six years, she now performs with orchestras across the South and lives with her husband, Frank, and their cats in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For more information, please visit her website.

A New Call for Matthew Moretz ‘06

The Rev. Matthew John Moretz, Class of 2006, has been called as Associate Rector of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City beginning September 4, 2018.

Moretz has been serving as an Associate Rector at St. Bartholomew’s Church, New York for over six years. He is also a former member of General’s Board of Trustees, as well as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

In 2016 St. Bart’s celebrated Moretz’s marriage to Meghan Brandt-Meyer, and they recently became the proud parents of Samuel James.

Ordained in the Diocese of Georgia, Moretz first served in Yonkers, New York for multiple parishes: St. Paul’s and La Iglesia Memorial de San Andres. He was then called to be Curate of Christ’s Church in Rye, New York. In 2012 he returned to New York City to become Associate Rector at St. Bart’s. There he served in many capacities during a transition between Rectors.

A New Call for Tommie Watkins ‘16

The Rev. Dr. Tommie Lee Watkins Jr., Class of 2016, has been called as Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He has currently been serving as the Associate Rector and Associate Chaplain at Canterbury Chapel, Tuscaloosa Alabama. He will begin his ministry at St. Andrew's on September 24, 2018.

Watkins is also a Graduate Professor at the University of Alabama School of Social Work, a certified Spiritual Director and licensed master social worker (LMSW), and works part time as a Behavioral Health Social Worker. In collaboration with Adjunct Professor Dr. Westina Matthews, Watkins developed the course “A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality & Sexuality” through the Center for Christian Spirituality at General.

Before attending General, Watkins completed his joint Doctorate in Philosophy degree from the Universities of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Public Health in August 2013. He has several publications on religiosity, spirituality, sexuality and health as well as a workbook: God’s Gift: Sexuality and Spirituality available at his website.

            Currently, Watkins is the only African-American Priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama and the first openly gay Black clergy ever ordained in that diocese. He continues to enjoy flying privately, reading, writing, and traveling being especially enamored with South Africa. His company website www.twgllc.biz which contains his book information, Living Out Loud, news print and video of his struggle of self-acceptance as an openly gay clergy are available.  His favorite quote of Dr. King’s: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

A New Call for John Jeffrey Purchal ‘04

The Rev. John Jeffrey Purchal, Class of 2004, has been called to serve as the Interim Rector at St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Smithtown, NY in the Diocese of Long Island. He has been serving for the past four years as Vicar of both St. Andrew’s in Mastic Beach, NY and St. Andrew’s in Yaphank, NY.

Purchal was previously Assisting Priest for Mission and Outreach at St. Ann’s, Sayville, Priest in Residence at The Church of St. Mark the Evangelist in North Bellmore, and Chaplain and Director to the Church Without Walls Ministry at St. Andrew’s, Long Meadow, MA.

Purchal has also served as a Chaplain for the Hamden County Sheriff After Incarceration Support Services and Intake Specialist for Friends of the Homeless in Springfield, MA., as well as Vicar of Saint John’s, Millville, MA.