Vestry Letter: John Bankhurst, Senior Warden Wende Fox Lawson, Junior Warden
Dear Parishioners of St. Chrysostom’s Church and Day School,
It is with great excitement that we write to share the wonderful news that our Vestry has unanimously called a new Rector to St. Chrysostom’s! We are blessed that The Rev. Ian Burch has accepted our call and will join us following an 18-month search process. He currently serves as Rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Milwaukee’s East Side. In unanimously recommending Rev. Burch, our Search Committee stated that they “feel that Reverend Burch’s energy, warmth, enthusiasm and vision will best serve our church and school as we embark upon goals to rebuild inter-congregational ties, grow by weaving in new members, restore financial capacity, and re-enliven the parish to proclaim our faith.” Rev. Burch is very excited to join us and continue to build upon our numerous outreach ministries, while putting additional focus on stewardship, children’s education and family engagement, as well as ensuring our service schedule is aligned with the needs of our community.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Search committee for their immeasurable dedication. With a deliberate and thorough process that addressed St. Chrysostom’s needs, the committee assessed each candidate to determine how they would help shepherd us into the next chapter of our long history. As representatives of the many perspectives of our parish community, each member devoted many hours to meetings, interviews and prayerful deliberation. Thank you to co-chairs Geoff Euston and Judith Stockdale and to committee members Mark Fisher, Kim Hudson, Patty Lane, Liz Crampton, Brian Quinlan and Angie Yorath!
Ian was raised in Chugiak, Alaska, where his family helped to found a small mission congregation. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, focusing his studies on Religion, Russian Language and Music. Directly after graduating, he began Master of Divinity studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Following graduation, Ian served for eight years as Lead, Staff and Resident Chaplain at RUSH Oak Park Hospital & VITAS, Chicago until 2013 when he joined St. Chrysostom’s as Associate Rector. Some of our longtime parishioners may remember Ian for his worship leadership and his work with our youth and young professionals groups, as well as our Sunday School and Day School programs. During his two-year tenure at St. Chrys, he was ordained to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey Lee and was later called as Rector by St. Mark’s where he has served for eight years.
At St. Mark’s, Ian has increased attendance by nearly 100%, overseen a major capital campaign and construction of a new parish hall and increased lay leadership in their key ministries. He is a candidate to receive his Doctor of Ministry from The General Theological Seminary later this year. The focus for his doctorate is researching what makes people stick to churches – research that will be a helpful to our church community!
Ian and his husband Travis Trott, a social worker and therapist, will move into the rectory apartment in April, with Sunday, April 28th as Ian’s first Sunday at St. Chrysostom’s. We are forming a Transition Committee to ensure that Ian and Travis are warmly welcomed to our St. Chrysostom’s community, and to provide plenty of opportunities for all to get to know them.
Finally, we are blessed to have the leadership and pastoral care provided by The Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland over the last two years. Whayne will remain with us until Rev. Burch’s start date, and they will together work to ensure a successful transition. Our Transition Committee will also plan a farewell celebration to thank Whayne for his time with us.
John Bankhurst, Senior Warden
Wende Fox Lawson, Junior Warden
Welcome Letter: The Rev. Ian Burch
February 2, 2024
To the good people of St. Chrysostom’s, greetings!
Your vestry extended the call to be your next Rector, and I enthusiastically accepted. I look forward to being with you on Sunday, April 28th. Over the last two years, St. C’s has worked incredibly hard to look soberly at its strengths and to identify its places for growth. The careful work you did–led ably by the wardens and vestry, interim rector, and search committee–was evident in every interaction I had with the parish over the last several months. I was so impressed by the ways you are seeking to honor the history of your parish while also looking to a vibrant future. I know that through worship, early childhood education, music, service, and fellowship, you will continue to create a thriving culture of care for one another, welcome of the stranger, and
Christian service to the city and the world. My husband Travis and I (and our dog, Captain Fantastic!), are looking forward to moving to Chicago in the coming months. We have deep roots in that city, and, while our time in Milwaukee has been remarkable and fortunate, we are eager to return to the Windy City and the diocese of Chicago. I’ll have more time to get to know you and to introduce myself when we come together in April. Until then, I will say that I am a great lover of churches, an amateur musician, a researcher of church growth, and an avid reader. I also like to laugh, so if you have a funny story to share, I’m your man.
My thanks go to Judith Stockdale and Geoff Euston, as well as your entire search committee. And many thanks to all the Vestry members who took the time to meet with me and Travis-especially John Bankhurst, Wende Fox Lawson, and Robert Valente who were so good to answer all my questions. I want to thank both The Rt. Rev. Whayne Hougland and Ms. Judy Caraher for giving me the gift of their time and wisdom when I visited last month. And, of course, it was lovely to see Richard Hoskins’ smile again and hear about his hopes for the future of the music program. I see a parish that has enormous strength. I know you’ll join me in that sacred task as we welcome all who are seeking a deeper knowledge of God as well as a space of beauty and refuge. You, beloved people of God, are the leaven in the bread, the salt of the earth, and the hope in a sometimes weary world. I know that this chapter will be magnificent, and I look forward to starting it with you.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rev. Ian Burch
Rector, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church | Milwaukee, WI