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Interim Rector Appointed at Hillsdale's St. Barnabas Church

[Posted November 5, 2021]

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church has announced that the Rev. Bonnie Stewart is the new priest in charge, following the departure of the Rev. Sean Wall. After serving at the Hillsdale parish for eight years, Wall recently left to become the Dean of the Cathedral at St. Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral in Boise, ID.

A photo of The Rev. Bonnie Stewart, interim rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Hillsdale
The Rev. Bonnie Stewart, interim rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Hillsdale

On October 15, 2021, Stewart became the interim rector of St. Barnabas Episcopal Parish, 2201 SW Vermont St, Portland, the first woman to be appointed to this position. Stewart has served as assistant rector since June 2019 and will continue in the interim position until a new rector is appointed. “I love providing leadership in support of St Barnabas’ effort to make a difference in the world,” Stewart said in a statement.

Stewart says that after a career in the insurance industry, she was "called by her faith to serve God in a more active role." Ordained to the diaconate in December of 2012 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, she received her certificate of Anglican studies from Church Divinity School of the Pacific in May of 2019 and was ordained to the priesthood in June of 2019 at the Parish of St. John the Baptist in Portland, OR. Bonnie and her wife Megan moved to Portland from Oakland, CA, in 2014. She is an avid baseball fan (S.F. Giants) and enjoys playing golf and kayaking.

A new rector is expected to be selected in the next 9 months to a year, following a process that will involve the entire congregation.

In March of 2020 St. Barnabas established a weekly food distribution program to serve community members who had lost income due to pandemic closures. The program continues, serving between 40 and 80 families per week with fresh produce, meats, bakery items and cleaning and hygiene supplies, much of it donated by area farms, stores, and restaurants, and individual donors. The free food program operates every Saturday. Donations are accepted from 10:30-11:30am; free food bags and hygiene products are available for pick-up from noon until 1:30pm at the church.

Weekly worship services continue at St. Barnabas during the Covid-19 pandemic, but with modifications to address covid protocols. For more information and links to all Zoom services, visit the parish website.

Founded as St. Barnabas Mission in 1949 by the Rev. Francis H. Ball, St. Barnabas held its first services on Christmas Eve of 1951, and was consecrated in 1953 as the first Episcopal parish west of downtown Portland. The church is a member of Believe Out Loud, a program of Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ that aims to meet the spiritual needs of the LGBTQIA community.

--Valeurie Friedman


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