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Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Separate Paths Becoming One


On September 5, 2018, I was honored to sit with my friends Molly, Librada, Carolyn, Rotha, Hugh, and PJ.  As a team, we prayerfully took our first steps on a path towards our new Rector.  This process required that we get to know ourselves as individuals, as a Search Committee, and as a congregation.  Knowing who we were, our strengths and especially our weaknesses, allowed us to recognize, acknowledge, and embrace that God was going to lead us on this journey.

We asked many questions of various candidates and all of us were impressed with their various responses.  However, one resonated with all of us, and that was John.  We had the opportunity to read his submitted portfolio and written responses to our inquiries, interview him online, sit with him face to face, and see him lead a service as an Associate Rector.  What John shared with us in each instance was very exciting and refreshing.  We saw someone who was humble, contemplative in his process, and continuously in consultation with God's Word, making him confident, honest, and quite sincere.

He made himself accessible, even vulnerable, and allowed himself to be committed to and present in the moment.  He didn't proclaim to have all the answers, but was very thankful for the mentors and support system that have guided and will continue to be part of his development.  Finally, he saw St. Barnabas' as an opportunity to grow with a congregation that wants to grow in many ways and is open to being led towards the possibilities that God and the future have to offer.  With prayerful conversation, deliberation, and discernment, the Search Committee made its recommendation to the Bishop and the Vestry on February 13th and February 18th, respectively, and the Letter of Agreement was signed on March 23, 2020.

On June 8, 2020, a little more than 21 months after the first Search Committee meeting, the Rev. John Bolin Shellito and his family begin a shared spiritual journey with us as the third Rector of St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church, Annandale, Virginia.  John, may God bless you, Haley, Amos, and Catherine.  We are so thankful He wanted our paths to meet and become one.  Amen.

Michael Dugger

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