The Vestry, along with the Search Committee, is extraordinarily pleased to present the Rev. Anne Clarke to the congregation as the next rector of St. Clare’s Episcopal Church.
For the past three years, Anne has been the assistant rector at Grace Episcopal Church, in St. Helena, California. Prior to that she served the diocese of Northern California as the Lifelong Christian Formation Coordinator, following a career as a tutor and tutoring center director. She holds a master’s degree in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, a Master of Divinity from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and an undergraduate degree in Theology and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.
The Search Committee selected Anne from a field of highly qualified candidates for the following characteristics, which they believe make her an excellent fit for St. Clare’s at this time in our history: pastoral leadership; experience with children, youth, and family ministry; outstanding collaborative and facilitative skills; multicultural and racial reconciliation work; and outreach.
Anne is consistently described by the search committee and her references, as warm, welcoming, calm, compassionate, and comforting, a stable, non-anxious and trustworthy presence. She enjoys meeting people individually and engaging in deep listening, especially in times of pain and loss. According to Anne, “In my experience, pastoral care is about making yourself available, visible, and present as an affirming and available pastoral figure, and through such presence, trying to listen deeply to the person’s experience and communicate the presence of God.”
To a congregation deeply committed to ministry with children, youth, and their families, Anne brings a wide range of experience. As the Youth & Families Ministry Coordinator at St. Paul’s, Anne developed and facilitated lay-led youth and family ministry teams. At the Diocese of N. California, Anne founded Pathways, a youth and young adult social justice pilgrimage, which is now in its sixth year, and consulted with congregations and helped them develop, enrich, and successfully grow their youth programs. In her current position, Anne directs children’s ministry and supervises the youth minister. During the pandemic, she adapted Godly Play and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to Zoom, and developed and led an outdoor intergenerational service. According to one reference, “Anne has a gift with children that is remarkable; she has the skills to work with every age; she developed relationships with every family and every child, and created ways for them to build relationships with each other.”
According to Anne, “I absolutely love the messy and exciting process of helping to facilitate such a group as they brainstorm, organize, channel, and meld those ideas into something greater than the sum of its parts.” One of her references cited Anne’s ability to identify what’s happening in a system and to help congregations recognize challenges and work through them. During her interview, the search committee noted her strengths in active listening, asking hard questions, and conveying empathy. Another reference noted that Anne develops agendas for meetings and adheres to them with positive results ensuing. At the end of a meeting, she can summarize quietly but effectively and bring the group to some common agreement and result. Anne’s work with our energetic and creative congregation will bring out the best in all of us.
As St. Clare’s develops its own ministry around racial justice, Anne’s experience with Sacred Ground curriculum—and her interest in identifying next steps for congregations after Sacred Ground—will be a great support in this area. She has created ecumenical and interfaith partnerships around racial justice, and she weaves social justice and racial reconciliation into her work with children and youth through her Lift Every Voice pilgrimage to South Africa. She serves on the diocesan Commission for Intercultural Ministries, including work on Racial Healing workshops. She is also trained to lead Spanish-language worship to serve the Latinx population in her community. One reference praised her strong intercultural sensitivity and noted that she is very comfortable moving between different faiths and cultures, which will be an asset in our relationship with Temple Beth Emeth.
Anne is also an excellent fit for our congregation in the area of outreach ministries. She takes a holistic approach to outreach, including learning, action, and reflection. She has been responsible for outreach at Grace and developed creative outreach ministries during the wildfires and the pandemic. Anne has useful training in Industrial Areas Foundation Community Organizing, Kaleidoscope Institute Multicultural Ministry and Holy Currencies, and Asset-Based Community Development: Called to Transformation. Anne writes, “There are big, systemic issues before us; racial justice is one, as are demographic and social shifts that will further change religious life in this country. I strive to help build communities where we can tell the truth to one another about these issues, where we can also seek truth beyond the borders of our communities, and where we are motivated by the desire to take action while also continuing to learn.
In addition to all the experiences that make Anne a good fit for St. Clare’s, she is also a delightful human being: warm, engaging, funny, with a contagious joie de vivre. Although she has been a priest for just over four years, she has personal and spiritual maturity and her references unanimously agreed that she has had wonderful career mentorship and is ready for the role of rector. Anne will need our support, and the support of the diocese in this transition, but we believe we will be blessed in our partnership with Anne and look forward to her leadership as the first female rector of St. Clare’s.
Anne sent us a video: click here.