St. Philip's Calls The Rev. Elizabeth Roles As New Rector
Last updated 1/27/2021 at 4:27pm
The Rev. Elizabeth Roles has been called to serve as the rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church at 256 E. Main St. in Brevard. As rector, she is the full-time clergy leader for some 600 members who have continued to worship together and serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 12-month search process that led to her call.
For Roles’ first Sunday service at St. Philip’s on Jan. 17, the welcoming faces she normally would have seen in the pews were not there. Because of COVID-19, all services at St. Philip’s currently are on Facebook Live, so members had to offer their greetings and good wishes in the “comments” section of Facebook, instead of at the church door.
“It is strange to have our introduction be over a livestream,” Roles said as she spoke from the pulpit. “But know that I am picturing you right here before me, and that I feel your presence, because so many of you have welcomed me so generously.”
“I want to make a commitment to you that in the coming months, even if it takes me my whole first year, I pledge that I will meet you all face-to-face, whether on Zoom, or by taking a walk in your neighborhood, or sitting on your front porch,” she said.
Born and raised in Charleston, W.Va., Roles holds a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Tufts University, and a diploma in Anglican Studies from General Theological Seminary. She and her 12-year-old son Thomas Mauldin-Roles are now living in Brevard along with their dog, Jet, and their cat, Kitty.
“As a daughter of the rivers and hills of the Appalachians, I feel right at home in the mountains of Western North Carolina and am thrilled to make my home in the cozy and dynamic community of Brevard,” Roles said. “Around every wind in the road there is a beautiful vision of God’s creation. And around every corner there is a welcoming face, even if I cannot see the smile behind the mask.”
Roles comes to Brevard from St. Barnabas-on-the-Desert in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she served as associate priest and helped build a dynamic ministry of pastoral care led by lay (non-clergy) church members. Previously, she was co-leader of Emmaus House and Emmaus House Chapel, an inner-city mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta; she also served as an assistant at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Dalton, Ga.
“This is an interesting time to begin a new ministry, amid pandemic and transitions in our national life,” Roles said. “In this moment and as we approach the season of Lent, we are called to recommit ourselves to one another – in the church and also to one another in the broader community. Can we find Christ in one another? Can we see our differences as a source of awe and wonder rather than a source of disunity? I can’t wait to journey this walk of faith with you.”
For now, St. Philip’s offers live online worship every Sunday at 10 a.m. on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/StPhilipsEpiscopalChurchBrevard. The public is welcome to participate; those who are not on Facebook can still watch live using a link found on the church’s website, stphilipsbrevardnc.org.