March 26, 2023

Our New Associate Rector

A Message from the Rev. Lonnie Lacy:

Dear Friends,

I write with gratitude, St. John’s, for our last seven months together. Your support and love for our parish energize me daily and fuel our shared ministry. I am encouraged by what the Holy Spirit is doing here in this holy space, and I am thankful every day for the new life we share.

Today, I am pleased to share a special announcement. In God’s good time—just as we knew he would—God has provided a second priest to join us in this new season of growth and vitality at St. John’s. With great joy, I have called the Rev. Leslie E. Roraback to serve as St. John’s Associate Rector. She will oversee the areas of Pastoral Care, Outreach, and Parish Life. Mother Leslie officially begins her ministry with us on May 8, 2023. Her first Sunday preaching at St. John’s will be May 14.

I have enjoyed getting to know Mother Leslie, and I know you will, too. She is kind, grounded, loves people, and has an impressive set of gifts that will serve us well. As we began searching for an associate rector, we prayed for an individual with the unique ability to focus inwardly on parishioners and their families at challenging times, as well as outwardly to welcome, serve, and build community with our parish body and those around us. We found that and more in Mother Leslie. Her recent ministry at St. Andrew’s On-the-Sound Episcopal Church and the experience gained through her previous career have equipped her well for this role. In addition to participating in the full range of preaching and sacraments, Mother Leslie will guide our Pastoral Care and Outreach ministries and oversee the intergenerational fellowship opportunities that make St. John’s a true church home.

Please mark your calendar for Sunday, May 14. While it is Mother Leslie’s first Sunday, it is also Mother’s Day and our annual Festal Eucharist, in which we celebrate our first graders’ participation in Holy Communion. Come celebrate all these occasions with a festive reception following the morning’s 10 AM service.

I know you join our vestry, staff, and me in welcoming Mother Leslie, whose note to the parish is below. Please hold her in your prayers in the coming weeks as she makes her transition to Tallahassee.

Grace and peace,
Fr. Lonnie+

In his Sunday, March 26 sermon, Fr. Lonnie shared how Mtr. Leslie discovered St. John’s was seeking an Associate Rector.

Dear People of St. John’s,

It is my great joy and honor to write to you today as your new Associate Rector.

The story of how we have come to be together in ministry overflows with the active presence of the Holy Spirit. I could not be happier and am anxiously awaiting my first Sunday with you.

I come from Wilmington, North Carolina where I have served for the past two years at St. Andrew’s On-the-Sound Episcopal Church, Diocese of East Carolina, following my time as a student at Virginia Theological Seminary where I served for two years as the Seminarian at Washington National Cathedral.

As a brief introduction, I am a life-long Episcopalian and a native of North Carolina, though born on a military base in Okinawa, Japan. While I had my fair share of years in lay leadership, liturgy planning, and diocesan work; I finally said yes to God’s call to the priesthood after lengthy careers in Non-profit healthcare and theatre administration. I have three perfectly fabulous children—Jillian (age 31), Laurel (age 27), and Benjamin (age 20). They will not be accompanying me to Tallahassee as they remain busily adulting in Torrance, California; Fayetteville and Wilmington, North Carolina respectively. I do hope you will get to meet them as they visit their Mom from time to time.

As a priest, I believe God calls me to foster a community where all are welcomed, comforted, and inspired, and where there is plenty of good room to explore and grow our faith. I am passionate about the treasures of liturgy and scripture and the stories of the communion of Saints. For me, there is nothing better than Sunday morning worship when we gather in the steadfast love and hope of God. I am a practical preacher exploring the presence of the living Word inside each of you that is the fuel for our steps to love and serve the Lord. In my off-time, I enjoy rest and creativity in baking, reading, movies, music, and theatre. I also love to explore with my English Springer Spaniel, Bridget.

Some of you may have met me during my brief undercover visit in March [My disguise: “This is Fr. Lonnie’s friend Leslie from North Carolina” (wink, wink)]. It may have been brief, but I was with you long enough to know St. John’s is a parish overflowing with opportunity and with fantastic people who worship and love the Lord inside and outside of the walls of this beautiful, historic, and holy place. I am grateful to Father Lonnie, the staff, and the parishioners I met (while incognito) for welcoming, encouraging, and supporting me during my time of discernment.

I look forward to being with you, to our caring for one another, growing in our understanding of our place in God’s unfolding story together, and daring to do courageous acts of love in Christ’s name.

Mother Leslie+

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