by The Rev. Dr. R. Leigh Spruill
I am excited to announce news of several new ministers who will be joining the staff of St. John the Divine in the coming weeks.
First, I am pleased to tell you that I have called Kira Moolman Pettit to be the director of the SJD Teaching Center beginning August 1. A rising young scholar for the larger church, Kira is completing her Ph.D. in Pastoral Theology at Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto, where she also received her Master of Divinity (with honors) and serves as an adjunct faculty member. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Kira moved with her family to Canada as a child and received her BA from Redeemer University in Ontario. She is a published author of numerous articles, reviews, and poetry.
Kira is excited about this unique opportunity to follow her calling as a theological scholar into ministry with a local congregation, especially one with our passion for learning and educational resources. We look forward to Kira’s help in developing a clear and compelling discipleship curriculum for growing in Christ, as well as supporting our various lay teachers as we build out a parish-based teaching center that will serve as a shining example to faith communities everywhere.
While we were in the process of interviewing Kira, we got to know her husband, the Rev. Trent Pettit. It became clear to me that he would also bring great gifts to our parish, and he has accepted our call to join the staff as an associate rector starting on August 1. Trent will be involved with our GO Ministries and international mission relationships and will serve as a lead clergy presence for an exciting new Sunday evening worship service that will launch this fall. Trent will also offer support to our young adult ministry.
Trent grew up in Louisiana and Colorado. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University and his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is currently completing a Master of Theology degree from Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto. Trent was ordained to the priesthood in 2020 in the Diocese of Dallas and served as associate priest at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church while living in Toronto. Trent brings a passion for mission to this ministry, having previously served in mission work in Ethiopia and Egypt.
As I previously announced, the Rev. Libby Garfield will join St. John the Divine as a curate on July 16. I am delighted to add that Libby will be serving as Interim Director of Youth Ministry. Libby steps into this role after having served for five years as associate youth minister at St. Francis-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, KY, a thriving parish not unlike SJD in its make-up. We have formed a search committee chaired by parishioners Larry Lawer and Leslie Wade to call a permanent replacement for our former youth director, Dan Gannon. We are truly blessed to have Libby as a shepherd for our youth as we seek the next leader of our youth ministry.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that Ms. Nadege Joly will be joining our staff on July 5 as an Executive Assistant. She brings over 10 years of administrative and human resources experience to her position and will be supporting our operational ministries and Safeguarding training.
While we eagerly await the arrival of these gifted new leaders to our staff, we say a bittersweet goodbye to our beloved Tori Gilliland, who has served as Minister for Young Adult Engagement for the past three years. As you may recall, Tori was called to the priesthood during her time with us, and we send her off to seminary to begin the next chapter with immense love and joy. We will celebrate Tori’s ministry here at St. John the Divine this Sunday, June 2, 2023. I hope you will take a moment to greet her and wish her well as she takes the next step of her journey in service to Christ.
I am very grateful that God is bringing such faithful and gifted new staff leaders to St. John the Divine who are drawn to what is happening in this current season of our church life. This parish is a vibrant testament to what the Holy Spirit can do in a faithful community, and I know you will join me in welcoming Kira, Trent, Libby, and Nadege in the coming days.