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Jan 09, 2018 | EDOT Staff

St. Michael’s, Austin Calls John Newton as Next Rector

The Rev. Canon John Newton, Chief of Staff for the Diocese of Texas has accepted a call to become rector of St. Michael’s, Austin, beginning March 1, the Diocese announced today. During his seven-year tenure, Newton served as Canon for Lifelong Christian Formation, then as Chief of Staff, working with Bishop Andy Doyle to help shape the diocesan mission and culture.

The former University of Texas college missioner said he felt well prepared to step back into parish ministry, citing his experience as an assistant at All Saints, Austin, and at UT as well as the unique skill set he gained from his diocesan experience.

“I’ve learned so much about myself and about leadership over these last seven years. I’ve been involved in organizational development, setting goals, helping to cast a vision …  I think what I’ve gained is the ability to see the big picture. It’s like being in the press box as opposed to being on the field and I think that breadth of perspective will prove valuable and that I’ll be a better parish priest because of it,” he explained, adding, “Emily and I are very excited about this new chapter of our lives and we are looking forward to being part of this amazing congregation." 

Although Newton has preached and taught in the majority of the diocese’s 155+ congregations while serving on the Bishop’s staff, he said he never lost his desire to be a parish priest. “I’m excited about taking the things I would not have learned elsewhere and connecting those with the greater passion of being a preacher and teacher to a particular group of people. And this couldn’t be a more wonderful and welcoming congregation,” he said.

“We are thrilled,” said St. Michael’s Sr. Warden, Margo Russell, noting Newton’s “vision, strong administrative skills and his way of articulating the Word of God,” which, she said, impressed the congregation’s search committee.

“I am excited about John’s new call,” said Bishop Doyle. “This is good for the Diocese to raise up leaders and see them take a fantastic position in a great congregation. We are fortunate that John has served with distinction in our office and now goes forward to take one of our parishes with its own legacy of mission thanks to years of faithful service by the former rector, the Rev. Robbie Vickery,” he said, adding, “We wish John the very best as he and St. Michael’s begin a new ministry together,” said Bishop Andy Doyle. “John has a deep and abiding spirituality and a unique set of skills that will continue to be a gift to this diocese."

“I’m going to miss the Bishop,” Newton said. “His big thinking, his vision and energy are contagious. I’m so grateful that he saw fit to hire a 29 year-old-priest and trust me with his confidence and for the opportunities that he afforded me. I cannot imagine my priesthood unfolding in any other way.”