St. Barnabas celebrates 10 years of inclusive ministry
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village had a lot to celebrate at a special service on Nov. 21. The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Ohio, visited St. Barnabas to celebrate 10 years of renewed ministry, confirm and receive 21 new members into the Episcopal Church, bless the new pipe organ, dedicate the renovated Parkside Hall, and install the fifth rector of St. Barnabas, the Rev. Alexander D. Martin.
Beginning with beautiful solos from violinist Mary Beth Ions, followed by hymns on the new organ, played expertly by Timothy Robson and accompanied by the St. Barnabas Choir, the entire service was a moving tribute to how far St. Barnabas has come in the last 10 years.
In 1947, Bay Village was selected as a new mission area for the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio. St. Barnabas was granted full parish status in 1951, and continued to grow. In 2003, the Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr. was elected bishop of Ohio amid broad disagreements throughout the church around scriptural authority and LGBTQ inclusion.
On Nov. 6, 2005, St. Barnabas voted to leave the Episcopal Church and place themselves under the authority of the Bishop of Bolivia. A long legal battle over the congregation’s property and assets ensued. On Nov. 20, 2011, the Diocese of Ohio reopened St. Barnabas to begin the process of rebuilding the congregation, with 26 people in attendance.
On Nov. 21, 2021, more than 200 people were in attendance to pray, sing, and give thanks for all that has happened in the last 10 years and looking forward to a bright future. The service began with the installation of Fr. Alex as rector, followed by a standing ovation, as the entire congregation was so moved. As part of the installation, he received gifts, including a sapling from the children of St. Barnabas to symbolize future growth.
Wardens Maryann Kuzila and Scott Williams announced that Parkside Hall would be commemorated as the Bishop Mark Hollingsworth Jr. Parkside Hall, in recognition of the dedication and support he provided to St. Barnabas over the last 15+ years. “St. Barnabas would not be here today if Bishop Mark and his staff had not worked so diligently and tirelessly to reopen our church,” said Maryann Kuzila, senior warden.
Following the service, a reception was held in the newly renovated Parkside Hall, where clergy from across the Diocese of Ohio, including Rev. Sarah J. Shofstall, the rector who re-opened St. Barnabas, joined the parishioners in thanksgiving and celebration.