St Paul’s welcomes our new Rector

The Vestry is pleased to announce the nomination to the Bishop of Chicago, and Bishop Lee’s appointment of the Rev. Luke Andrew Wetzel as the ninth Rector of St Paul’s Parish, Riverside, Illinois.

Father Wetzel comes to us from Trinity Parish, Columbus, Georgia, where he served as Curate. At Trinity, he taught adult formation and catechesis, organized and taught youth confirmation, and initiated and led Episcopal college student fellowship, in addition to the full complement of priestly Sacramental ministry. He received his B.A. from Emory University in 2009, majoring in Sociology, and his M.Div., magna cum laude, from the Divinity School of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 2012.

Father Wetzel is devoted to the Divine Office, a very Benedictine practice of prayer, and strongly believes in a ministry of prayer and visible presence in the local community.

Prior to his tenure at Trinity Parish, Father Wetzel served as Missioner to the community around Good Shepherd Church and the Oak Street Episcopal Mission as pastoral assistant to the Rector of All Saints Parish, Thomasville, Georgia.

In Durham, North Carolina, he spent three years with the Catholic Worker Community of the Franciscan Way, where he was engaged in personal ministry to the poor and regularly served as Daily Office Officiant, Altar Server, Lector, lay homilist, and Eucharistic Minister at St Joseph’s Parish. In seminary at Duke Divinity School, Father Wetzel assisted in the leadership of thrice-weekly prayer services for shelter and soup kitchen clients.

We have a priest with a family for the first time in 42 years. Father Wetzel and his wife, Natalie, met at Emory University and have been married seven years. Natalie has a degree in Chemistry and is active in La Leche League International. They are the parents of a four-year-old daughter, Frances, and a two-year-old son, Andrew. Another child is expected in mid-July. The Wetzels enjoy spending time with family and friends, hiking and camping. Father Wetzel is an avid cyclist and especially enjoys long cross-country rides. In addition, he is an adventurous cook, has delved into wine- and beer-making, gardening, and has even kept chickens. A dog named Amos completes the family. Father Wetzel’s first Sunday at St Paul’s will be May 20, the Feast of Pentecost.