Father Walker comes to us from Christ Church in Belleville, NJ, where he served as spiritual leader and head of the parish. Father Walker developed a shared ministry at Christ Church, in which the members share the responsibility of the church and make a difference in the community. He encouraged the parish to renew their involvement in the Interfaith Hospitality Network, a program that uses churches to house homeless families for a week at a time. Additionally, the church has become involved with the Belleville Police Department through the Investing-N-Kids program, hosting a multitude of programs designed to bring children from the neighborhood in off the streets and create a safe and fun atmosphere. They have hosted a Halloween haunted house, a Christmas workshop, and an Easter Egg Hunt. By working with the local school system they were able to link with local teenagers who joined in the efforts and worked with the younger children to make these events a success. Christ Church also responded to a request from the local police department for a site where those in need could receive a hot meal on Saturdays. The Mary and Martha Soup Kitchen at Christ Church has evolved to being open 3 days a week. By partnering with other churches in the community, hot lunches are served, with special care taken to ensure the dignity of participants by treating them as honored guests, with the belief that the hunger for warmth and companionship is just as real as the need for food. The Care Closet is another endeavor established during Father Paulís time at Christ Church. Similar to our collections for the Food Bank and the Womenís Resource Center, the Care Closet helps those in need stretch their limited dollars by providing household cleaning supplies and personal hygiene essentials.
During Father Paulís time at Christ Church, the parish emerged as a center for support and enrichment in the community. In 2000 their services to the disadvantaged and cultural events to enrich the lives of those in the community, led to Christ Church being designated a "Jubilee Center" by the National Church. On September 11th, 2001, Christ Church remained open 24-7 and worked with the Red Cross, the school system and the police and fire departments to help the area cope with the overwhelming tragedy that engulfed the New York area. The church served as a collection point for relief supplies, and participated in various memorial events in the area. All of these accomplishments become even more remarkable when you consider that when Father Paul was sent to Christ Church eleven years ago it was a dying parish that was expected to close within 2 years.
Prior to his time at Christ Church, Father Paul served as priest for the yoked parishes of Grace Church in Scottsville, NY, and St. Andrews Church, Caledonia, NY. He was also a member of the clergy association for both communities and served as the dean of the district for Monroe County for four and a half years. He also was involved with the Rochester Institute of Technology. For three years he served as the school chaplain and was part of its Interfaith Center, where he helped develop the Student Advisory Board. While in New York, he served as vice moderator for the Diocesan Council, chaired the Department of Social Ministries, chaired the task force on AIDS, served as chaplain to the fire department, chaired the Wheatland Police Task Force to determine whether a local police force should be maintained or reliance should be put on the county sheriff's office, and was also trained as a substance abuse counselor for the Wheatland-Chili school district.
It is apparent Father Walker shares our commitment to caring for the needs of the community. He is a strong spiritual leader who draws you into living your baptismal covenants. Father Paul is extremely enthusiastic about our mission and the outreach efforts already established at St. Paulís and looks forward to the start of this new ministry on November 1st, All Saints Day. Join us for this special service and to welcome Father Paul and his family at the reception immediately following the service.