Introducing Our Interim Priest

Our worship services schedule from Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve is as follows:

A Message from Jim Marvel, Interim Search Team

When Father Bill announced his retirement, your Vestry began organizing around our task to find our next spiritual leader. This process begins with identifying an interim priest which is part of the path towards ultimately finding our new rector. 

We were blessed with a team that brought unique skills and experience to this work. Ben Sheets, Rich O'Brien and I engaged as an interim priest search team. Together, we learned a lot about the overall process used by the Episcopal Church to effectively manage through this transition. 

We found tremendous support from the Diocese of Easton through John Dragone, the Lay Canon to the Ordinary (essentially the Chief of Staff for the Bishop) and Megan Timms, the Finance Administrator. They helped us through the administrative steps such as developing the job description, completing interviews, and coordinating with our Bishop.

What seemed at the beginning to be an arduous task, quickly became a story of a mutual quest and an opportunity to cross paths with someone who has a history with the Diocese of Easton. He appeared at the right time and place for Christ Church. 

After serving as a supply priest for a Saturday night Alive @ Five worship service, Reverend Patrick Collins felt an unexpected calling. Although not part of his plans, Patrick felt compelled to apply for our interim priest role the very next day. After we reviewed his application, Ben, Rich and I thought his background was perfectly suited for our situation. 

Patrick served as the Transition Ministry Officer in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania prior to becoming the Canon to the Ordinary with the Diocese of Easton and supporting many congregations in their interim priest and rector search process. Patrick not only brings experience in knowing what is needed from an interim priest, he also brings strengths as a teacher, a servant leader and his strong knowledge of liturgy. Those of you who have attended one of the services know that he has a unique and engaging style of helping to teach our congregation the lessons of the Bible.

We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Patrick and look forward to welcoming him and his wife, Loretta Collins, to our congregation. We should note that Loretta previously served as Archdeacon for the Diocese of Easton. 

Patrick will play a critical role in the next step of our quest to identify our new rector and help guide us through the process which can take one to two years. We encourage you to get to know Patrick and ensure that he and his wife feel truly welcomed to Christ Church.

A Letter of Introduction from Rev. Patrick Collins

Dear Christ Church Easton Community,

I’m honored and excited to have been called to be your Interim Priest. I’m writing this note to you in an effort for you to get to know me a little better as we begin our time together. While this is about me, it is my sincere hope that I will get to know you as we minister together in God’s name.

Prior to being ordained, I was a special education teacher. I specialized with high school students who had significant physical disabilities. My students were all in wheelchairs during the school day and many of them needed assistance with daily activities. The skills and training that I developed in the classroom have stayed with me as a priest and you will often find me giving a teaching sermon. Occasionally, I will even conduct an instructed Eucharist in an effort to teach more about our rich Anglican tradition of worship.

I was blessed to spend three years of seminary in New York City. After seminary, I was assigned as the curate at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg, PA. Following my curacy, I accepted a call to St. John’s in Huntingdon, PA. I served there for three years when I was called to serve on the bishop’s staff in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania as the Missioner for Children and Youth. Over time, I picked up additional duties and became the Assistant Transition Ministry Officer before taking on the duties of the Transition Ministry Officer for the entire diocese. After serving in Central Pennsylvania for about three years, I accepted the call from Bishop Parsley to serve as the Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of Easton.

In my experiences as a teacher and as a priest, I have learned that ‘the wisdom is already in the room.' I’ve also learned that a priest needs a congregation just as much as a congregation needs a priest. It is my sincere hope that as we minister together, I will be learning from you as much as I will be teaching you.

The center of my ministry remains rooted in our Baptismal Covenant. In living out the vows that we take as a community, we wrestle to see God’s presence in everyone. We are challenged to stretch towards our ideals and to accept ourselves and others when we fall short. We are encouraged to strive to be more God-like in our lives.

It is my hope that you will call me Patrick but, I will completely understand if you prefer to call me Father Patrick. I’m looking forward to our ministering and learning together.

God’s Peace now and always,