St. Paul's Episcopal Church
65 North Main Street
Wallingford, CT 06492

(203) 269-5050

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

Even though I'm still looking forward to meeting most of you, I'm delighted to count you as brothers and sisters -- sight unseen. I do this because it's God in Christ who makes us so. It's God who has called us together. Now it's for us to get to know and serve Christ in one another and our neighbors. I can hardly wait to get started. 

Each of you can be proud of the faithful service of every member of the Search Committee and Vestry who made such a positive impression during each of my visits. I also commend each of you -- as well as those who've come before you -- whose labors and contributions have created such a beautiful space in which to worship God. You are blessed, and I feel blessed to be joining you. 

I'm coming to you after serving several years at Zion Episcopal Church just down the road in North Branford. Before that I was an Assistant Rector at St. Mary's in Manchester, Connecticut, where I was fortunate enough to work with a rector named Andrew D. Smith (now, of course, the Bishop of our Diocese). I was sponsored for ordination by St. John's Church in Stamford. I got my M. Div. (Master of Divinity) at Union Theological Seminary and went on to get an S.T. M. (Master of Sacred Theology) from The General Theological Seminary, both in New York. In each case my thesis was about exploring the relationship between celebrating the Eucharist and feeding the hungry during different periods of church history. I remain passionate about this topic and am currently pursuing a D. Min. (Doctor of Ministry) at Hartford Seminary. Maybe someday you at St. Paul's will figure prominently in my final D. Min. project. I've already noticed that there's a lot of good food in this parish! 

From all of the above it may sound like I'm a lifelong New Englander, but in fact I'm a native West Virginian -- and proud of it. Most of my extended family is there or in Virginia. My family here in Connecticut consists of my husband, Brad Schide, and our two children Megan and Cory. Brad got his master's in architecture and urban planning at Columbia University while I was in seminary and now has his own business in housing and community development, with an emphasis on historic preservation. Meg, age 17, is a high school junior who loves figure skating so much that she's already a skating pro. Cory, age 12, is in sixth grade and loves basketball. We have a calicocat named Dia (short for "Diamante", Spanish for "Diamond", and if you saw her you'd see why.) 

In the next few months I plan to concentrate on getting to know and love each of you. I look forward to the Wednesday evening home communions during Lent, the various meals and social gatherings together and most of all our Sunday celebrations. Even now before I officially start I'm making some preparations for my first few weeks with you, and working with leaders of the parish to make the office as warm and inviting as possible. When I'm not so busy I enjoy reading, visiting friends, knitting prayer shawls, making chocolate -- and taking long walks to try to work it off. 

As I anticipate the beginning of our life together, I call to mind the words of our patron St. Paul, "I thank God whenever l think of you; and when I pray for you all, my prayers are always joyful . . ." (Philippians 1:3, The New English Bible) 

Your Sister in Christ, 

The Reverend Dee Anne Dodd, Rector


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