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Interim Rector Announced

As we prepare for Mother Betsy’s departure after her final service on January 29, your vestry is pleased to announce that we have called The Very Rev. Dr. Neal Michell to serve as Interim Rector starting on February 1. We are excited to have such a respected and qualified candidate to fill this position.

Canon Neal is a faithful member of Epiphany, and many of you already know him and his wife Varita. His biography and welcome message follow below.

Canon Neal has recently served as interim rector at St. Luke’s, Denison; St. Luke’s, Dallas; and Good Shepherd, Terrell; and that experience combined with his many other parish and diocesan ministries will certainly be invaluable as we navigate our search for a full-time Rector. As Interim Rector, he will assume all the typical Rector responsibilities, supported by the vestry, clergy, and administrative staff.

We are blessed to be welcoming Canon Neal soon in his new capacity, and we look forward to his leadership during this time of discernment as we search for a new Rector. We ask for your prayers during that process, and as we celebrate our final weeks with Mother Betsy. Please stay tuned for more information about plans to send off Mother Betsy with our blessings to her new ministry in Oklahoma.

In Christ,

Kerry Nason

Senior Warden

Mike Morrison

Junior Warden

Canon Neal Michell Biography and Welcome

Born in Dallas, Texas, I am a child of the suburbs (Garland), roaming the fields behind our house and camping in the woods surrounding Duck Creek, and swimming at the dam near my house. We built a pretty substantial tree house in those fields and Christmas Tree forts in the neighborhood.

In terms of education, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA, cum laude in history. Following college, I graduated from law school at the University of Houston Law Center and practiced criminal defense law in Houston and civil law in Del Rio, Texas. My wife, Varita, and I met at church in Houston when she was finishing her Physical Therapy degree and I was in law school. I received my MDiv from the University of the South and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.

I have served the Church in a number of capacities: as rector of three churches in the Diocese of West Texas; planted a church in Germantown, TN; and in the Diocese of Dallas, I have served as Canon for Strategic Development (“Strategery”), Canon to the Ordinary, Dean of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and Prebendary. Feel free to ask me what a Prebendary is.

Varita and I have four children, five grandchildren, and a stuffed dog.

I have had two books published on church leadership: How to Hit the Ground Running and Beyond Business as Usual, and I currently write for the blog “Covenant,” a weblog of The Living Church, and also serve on the board of The Anglican Digest. I have led workshops and spoken in over thirty dioceses of The Episcopal Church and in four countries, consulted with numerous churches and clergy on congregational development, and have gone on short-term mission trips to six different countries. In retirement, I have served as Visiting Professor in Pastoral Theology at Nashotah House Seminary. Yes, Fr. Ignacio was a (very fine) student of mine.

I am excited about serving you as your Interim Rector. I have led several vestry retreats for Epiphany’s vestry over the years. Interestingly, I recommended both Fr. Bill Cavanaugh to the vestry when he was called as Rector and Mtr. Betsy to Fr. Bill as a Curate. Epiphany is our church home and has been our church home for over four years.


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