My Fellow Parishioners:
It is my honor and privilege to announce that, following the search committee’s recommendation, our vestry voted unanimously to call the Rev. Henry Drinker Elek (who goes by “Hentzi”) to be the 14th rector of Emmanuel Church, which he has accepted.
Hentzi currently serves as the long-term supply priest for St. George St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. Previously, he has led several parishes around the Mid-Atlantic, including serving as rector at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, from 2001 until 2015. He has overseen and expanded innovative outreach on local, national, and international levels, such as “Christmas in July” for resource-challenged kids in New Jersey and leading 150 college-age volunteers on a 2010 earthquake relief mission in Haiti. Hentzi views interfaith engagement as a central part of his ministry, and he has built relationships with neighboring communities wherever he has served—he was even elected as president of the local Interfaith Clergy Association for 3 years.
Hentzi is an avid traveler; fan of classical music, classic rock, and jazz; perennial volunteer; enthusiastic hiker and kayaker; lover of cheeseburgers, chocolate chip cookies, and all food except eggs; and a firm believer in the power of prayer, including his daily Morning Prayer routine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University and a Master of Divinity from Yale University. He is married to Sara Barton, who is a middle school English teacher at The Haverford School. Their son, Lucas, is currently an Americorps teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and their daughter, Sophia, will return for her junior year at the University of Denver after a semester abroad in Costa Rica.
The vestry is grateful to all who prayed and otherwise helped during this time of transition: Nicole Greenidge-Hoskins and the search committee, who worked with such extraordinary diligence and faithfulness to discern who might best lead our parish; the Revs. James Hamilton, James Holmes, Mary Sulerud, and Joseph Wood, who aided us in continued spiritual growth and recognition of the real treasures of Emmanuel; the staff and lay leaders of the parish, who kept hold of those treasures and their vision of what Emmanuel can be in even the most trying of circumstances; and the Right Rev. Eugene Sutton and the Rev. Canon Stuart Wright, who insured we remained on track during this journey.
I cannot improve on Hentzi’s own words when asked to describe himself: “I truly believe in the Jewish theology of Tikkun Olam—the fixing, healing, and reconciling of the world. Ultimately, that is what parish ministry is at its best, and I hope to share that ministry in joyful celebration, praise, thanksgiving through worship, prayer, fun, and service within the parish and to the wider Baltimore community.”
Hentzi’s first Sunday at Emmanuel will be October 1, 2017. Thanks be to God, and welcome, Hentzi!