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St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Perrysburg has a new rector, after going almost two years without one.
He’s the Rev. Jeffry L. Bunke, who arrived at “St. Tim’s” — as members call the parish — Oct. 1 but was installed last week. The celebrant, the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, Bishop of Ohio, chose the Dec. 5 installation date because it was the Eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, the historic fourth-century saint commemorated and revered by many Christian churches.
The assembled, numbering 60, sang “The Song of Saint Nicholas,” to the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas:” “Thankful Bishop Nicholas, friendly, good, and wise, when he could he helped the poor, always by surprise. ...”
Rev. Bunke, 59, is no newcomer to northwest Ohio, having grown up in Henry County.
He and his wife, Kay, have three adult children. He came to St. Timothy’s from St. Anne Episcopal Church in West Chester, Ohio, where he had been rector since 2007. Before that he was rector at Grace Episcopal Church, Port Orange, Fla., and St. John's Episcopal Church, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He was assistant rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Maumee.
His predecessor, the Rev. Ken Pepin, finished his almost five-year tenure at St. Timothy’s at the end of 2011.
After the installation, Rev. Bunke described the ceremony as “a good celebration of a new chapter of life.” The installation, he joked, was “like a formal marriage ceremony” between himself and the the congregation. “We’ve been living together for two months.”
Oboist Doug Mead began the installation with “The People Gather.” Choirmaster Lyle Hecklinger provided the organ music.
Bishop Hollingsworth, who oversees 86 parishes in the northern half of Ohio, urged the assembled “to love, support, and nourish your rector, his family, and members of the staff who serve you here.”
He asked the new rector: “Do you commit yourself to this trust and responsibility?” When Rev. Bunke replied, “I do, by the grace of God,” the bishop responded, “May the Lord, who has given you the will to do these things, give you the grace and power perform them.”
The guest preacher was the Rev. Dr. Henry Laurie Thompson III, dean of advancement and doctoral studies and associate professor of liturgy at Trinity School for Ministry in the Pittsburgh area. He grew up in Perrysburg but worshiped at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Maumee, he said.
His sermon, “The Prophetic Voice of the Little One,” said that “The child represents for Jesus the helpless person, but especially a humble fellow disciple, who is to be received by other disciples.”
The Rev. Dr. Thompson urged Rev. Bunke to give worshipers “the prophetic voice of the little child. Amen.”