My name is Gretchen Sanders Grimshaw. And I have served as an Episcopal priest since my ordination in 2007.
I currently serve as the Priest-in-Charge (my actual job title) at Trinity Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, CT, the oldest active Episcopal church in the state. And I am looking forward to building and reimagining church in this new age that is both post pandemic and post Christian.
I served as the rector of The Parish of St. Paul in Newton Highlands, MA for almost 12 years. Among other powerful ministries, our parish offered physical sanctuary to an undocumented family for 18 months in 2017/18 as the home base of a committed collaborative that included 7 local synagogues and hundreds of faithful volunteers. It was the most authentic and holy work I have ever been blessed to be a part of.
As I approach the next leg of my ministruy at Trinity Church, I am taking some time to redefine who I am as a priest in a small parish. Like most of my colleagues, I am a little bit of many things that fall under the umbrella moniker of “parish priest.” A preacher. A teacher. A pastor. A liturgist. A missionary. An evangelist. A manager. A communications director. A marketing manager. A fundraiser. A spiritual director. A volunteer coordinator. And all too frequently a facilities plumber/electrician/landscaper/supply manager. Among many, many other unwritten responsibilities. Parish priest is the original position for a renaissance-person.
But whatever my role at any given moment, I am axiomatically grounded in my commitment to the diginity of all o0f God’s creation. And I am fiercely devoted to a Creative Living God who en-courages, empowers, and entrusts us to spread tender loving kindness with our every breath by respecting that inherent dignity.
As a servant of God’s love, I think my one overarching gift is creative vision. I can see how things fit together, or might fit together, or could fit together if only we had a bit of….courage. Which might be the other gift that I bring to the table in abundance. Vision. Courage. And I hope and pray, Integrity.
In 2018 I earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. I have an Mdiv from the Episcopal Divinity School (2004), a Master of Liberal Arts from the Harvard Extension School (2004), a BA from Smith College (1983), and a treasure trove of wisdom and memories from John Burroughs School in St. Louis, MO (1978).
Among my most prized accomplishments is the creation of the labyrinth that is shown at the top of my site. It covers almost half an acre. And it was six years in the making. I try to walk it almost every day. And along with moving large rocks and communing with nature, I spend my personal time with horses, golden retrievers, books of all sorts, cooking, and playing the piano.
This blog is a chronicle of some of my reflections and sermons and other writings that I feel called to share with a wider audience than my four legged friends. My intention and my hope is that each entry engages the reader in a way that sparks some connection and conversation about the things that matter most in this short and wondrous life, whatever those things might be for you.
Thanks for checking in.