The Reverend R Christopher Heying
Announcing the Call of our New Rector!
The Reverend R Christopher Heying
To our dear St. James family,
It is with a very full and grateful heart that, on behalf of Vestry and the Search Committee, I announce to you the call to the Reverend Chris Heying (prounounced "HI-ing") to serve as our new Rector. He will start his journey with us on August 1st, but in the meantime has provided the following message:
5 July 2022
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I am both humbled and excited at the recommendation of the search committee and the call of your vestry to serve as the next rector of St. James Church in La Grange. From my initial reading of your parish profile through the conversations with search chair Ursula Stephens and the members of the committee and with your senior warden Julie Stroup, I have felt strongly the confirmation of the Spirit that this is indeed God’s call for what I pray will be years to come.
I would like to share with you about my family and me and about my hope for worship and ministry together with you.
Born and adopted in New Mexico, I grew up in North Texas in The Episcopal Church. I can’t remember a time when I was not drawn to service at the altar and to ministry as a priest. When I was fifteen I decided I wanted to be a priest and haven’t seriously contemplated anything else. Since I didn’t think I could afford to go directly to seminary following college at the University of North Texas, I worked as dorm counselor at boarding schools. I met Cindy Perkins in 1987 when we were both first-year dorm counselors at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Vicksburg, and we would marry in 1990 at the Episcopal camp in Western Louisiana where she had once served as head counselor. We worked together at the Texas Department of Human Services in the DFW area for about three years and then when she became a special education teacher, we worked for a year at the same high school, where I was as aide in a behavioral classroom before we went in 1995 to Nashotah House in Wisconsin for seminary.
Following seminary and ordination as deacon and priest in Fort Worth in 1998, I served as an assistant in parishes in Texas, Tennessee, and New York. In 2004, we moved to Virginia where I was rector for eight years at a parish about the size of St. James before then serving as rector and vicar of smaller family-sized congregations in Virginia and Louisiana. The last nine months I have been a student chaplain in the VA medical center in Dallas. It has been a time of continuing education and personal growth, as I have ministered to veterans in the homeless domiciliary and hospice. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve those who served, but I am also thankful for the clarity it brought in regard to my true calling as a parish priest.
In addition to pastoral engagement, I have a passion for worship and preaching and seek to facilitate a milieu where together as a community we connect with the living God. Wherever I have served lay participation in worship has been expanded, and I have often been able to include retired clergy from Episcopal and other traditions in the worship. A very attractive aspect of St. James is your proven willingness to work alongside Christians of various traditions to serve the needs of all God’s people in La Grange, Fayette County, and beyond. I have been deeply moved by hearing about your outreach and look forward to working together with you “to seek and serve Christ in all persons.”
My wife Cindy also grew up in The Episcopal Church. Together we have three children: Mary Grace, 23, who is at LSU in Baton Rouge, John Luke, 20, at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and Patrick, 14, who will soon be a freshman at La Grange High School. Cindy is in conversation with the La Grange school district, hopefully to be a teacher there.
We look forward to getting to know you, and I pray that you will let me know how I can serve and support you. I encourage you to be direct with me, as reading minds is not one of my gifts! My deep prayer is that the God who has brought us to this point will over time knit us together in common mission so we can worship God faithfully and go forth joyfully to share the reconciling love of God.
Faithfully in Christ,
Father R Christopher Heying
Have a blessed day,
St. James Episcopal Church, La Grange, Texas
VISION, MISSION AND VALUES
To be a welcoming faith-based community where God’s presence is felt and from which we are sent to proclaim Christ’s love and to serve others.
To be the face of Christ to all we encounter, to share God’s love with all people, and to honor our traditions and heritage as we are united by the common ground of our faith into a beloved community together.
Unceasing desire to know God
relying on prayerful reflection, study, and theological balance, being ever mindful of our needs and of those in different circumstances.
Unceasing commitment to make a difference in the lives of God’s people
with ministries and programs that feed our community spiritually, emotionally, and physically and strengthen our relationship with God and each other.
Unceasing commitment to bring us into God’s presence
we are engaged, encouraged, and inspired by a worship service steeped in Episcopal tradition.
Welcoming Church Family
Unceasing commitment to reflect God’s love in hospitality
we are part of God’s family, servants with each other and to all of God’s people with a spirit of love, generosity, inclusiveness, and compassion.
Vestry Approved: 11/16/21