The Rev. Bernard W. Poppe

(973) 762-1319
(973) 763-3676
The Rev. Bernard W. Poppe

Like so many in Maplewood, I'm a New York City transplant. I came to St. George's as Rector in the fall of 2002, drawn by the blend of neighborhood and families living with a commitment to progressive Christian faith and a practical grasp of the connections between urban and suburban issues, culture and spirit.

I grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, as a "cradle Episcopalian," the last of four children. Life revolved around school, sports and church. I went to public schools until college brought me to Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Even during high school I felt called to the Episcopal priesthood, but let it stay on the back burner during college and for a couple years afterward, during which I taught school in the Alaskan panhandle and Eskimo villages.

The call to ordination was even greater than my love for classroom teaching and the rural life, so in 1981 I moved to New York City and the General Theological Seminary. After graduation and ordination in 1984, I spent the next 18 years in urban settings, serving as curate of Grace Church, Newark; Associate Rector of St. Anne and Holy Trinity, Brooklyn Heights; and for a decade as Rector of St. Mark's in Jackson Heights, Queens, before coming to Maplewood.

My ministry has taken many shapes over the years but the constant has been a love of the liturgy and experiencing God in the sacred and mystical. In the context of the neighborhoods of my churches, I organized or was part of housing programs, community organizations for local improvement, food banks, ESL programs, pre-schools, ecumenical movements and youth work.

The Rev. Bernie Poppe with the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding BishopAfter returning to the Diocese of Newark I joined the Commission on Ministry and am currently the Chairperson. In January 2007 I had the privilege of chairing the Consecration Committee for the Consecration of the Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith as the 10th Bishop of Newark. I've served on the boards of the House of the Good Shepherd and of Turning Point Community Services, and remain a volunteer minister to Daytop, an alcohol and drug rehab center for adolescents. In Maplewood, I have served on the Municipal Alliance for Drug and Alcohol Prevention, and am working with the Deputy Mayor's project "Maplewood Loves Wellness."

As a pastor, I have done much counseling, preparation for the sacraments of Baptism and Marriage, and grief work as well as burial of the dead. On a lighter note I like to cook and take a great deal of pleasure in hosting small and large church gatherings – or in being a very grateful guest! Jesus said wherever two or three are gathered, he will be there also. In work and fellowship I love meeting Jesus among other people.

Having personally experienced God's spiritual healing, I believe firmly that we are all healers, called to deepen our relationship to God through the healing we extend to others and turn to for ourselves. Our regular Wednesday healing service and the prayers we offer each week at the main Sunday worship demonstrate the inward desire to participate in this call, to reach out and claim the healing promised by God for our souls.

I welcome you to St. George's and hope that you will find a spiritual home here. We take our relationships to God and each other seriously and continually work to build a strong community of faith and fellowship. Come join us.

In faith,