The Rockwell Center
The Hays Rockwell Center for Clergy Development at St. James’ is an initiative of the parish for the training and development of newly-ordained clergy. It provides a program of intentional mentoring and peer learning for clergy in their first two years of ordained ministry. The Rev. Craig Townsend, formerly Vicar at St. James’, is the Director of the Center.
Canon III.9.2 of the Episcopal Church calls for each new clergyperson to be mentored for “at least a year...to provide guidance, information, and a sustained dialogue about priestly ministry.” The Center’s primary client is the Diocese of New York: all clergy in the diocese in their first or second year of ordination must participate in the Center’s program to satisfy the canonical requirement. (Clergy from other dioceses may participate voluntarily.) There are currently seventeen participants: five in their first year as priests, nine in their second year, and three new permanent deacons. These different cohorts meet as groups, facilitated by Craig, either monthly or on another regular basis. Craig also meets individually with each participant, on a schedule determined by each one’s needs.
The Rockwell Center grew out of the “Lilly Program” here that began with a grant from the Transition-into-Ministry program of the Lilly Endowment, Inc., in 2003. Fifteen Episcopal clergy -- and one Lutheran and one Presbyterian -- participated in the various versions of the Lilly Program over the past twelve years.
The Rev. Craig D. Townsend,
Director of the Rockwell Center
Craig arrived at St. James' Church as Associate Rector for Education in the fall of 1997 and was named Vicar (senior associate) in 2007. Craig also served as Coordinator of the Lilly Program from its inception in 2003. His leadership enabled the creation in 2015 of the Hays Rockwell Center for Clergy Development at St. James' Church, a program for which he now serves as Director, mentoring and overseeing newly ordained clergy throughout the diocese.
Craig was ordained in 1982. He served as associate at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, MI, and at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights, then was Chaplain at Trinity School on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Craig grew up in Syracuse, New York, and received an A.B. from Brown University, an M.Div. from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., and a Ph.D. in the History of Christianity and American Religious History from Harvard University in 1998. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.
The Rt. Rev. Hays Rockwell
The Center is named for the fourteenth Rector of St. James’ (1976-1990) and retired Bishop of Missouri. Bishop Rockwell came to St. James’ after serving as chaplain at St. George’s School, chaplain at the University of Rochester, and dean of Bexley Hall (an Episcopal seminary). In 1991 he was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor (designated to succeed the diocesan bishop upon his/her retirement) of Missouri, and he served as diocesan from 1993 to 2002.
The Center is named for Bishop Rockwell because of a legacy, both here and as bishop, of developing new clergy for the church. St. James' Rector, the Rev. Brenda Husson, described his impact on her:
"Hays was a mentor to me when I first came here as an Associate Rector, encouraging me in days when I questioned my call to parish ministry and encouraging me to take on and take up ministries that were, at first, daunting. For that alone, I am immensely grateful. But I am always grateful as well for his legacy to St. James’, a legacy that continues in our commitment to share the love of Christ with each other, our city, and our world."
- See the Rector’s full communication to the parish here.