St. James of Jerusalem Welcomes
the Reverend Susan K. Bock
July 1, 2019 -- St. James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church of Long Beach, N.Y., is pleased to announce the arrival of our new pastor, the Reverend Susan K. Bock. Here’s what she says about herself, and her hopes for our church.
“I have been an Episcopal priest for almost 34 years. I tried to retire last year but couldn’t quite let go of the work I love, so I am delighted to be with the people of St. James Church, a lively, loving group of folks with enormous courage and faith.
“About a decade ago, at a professional conference, I realized that, with my remaining priestly ministry, I wanted to help the Church, in the face of widespread decline, to be able to live again, so that’s what I do. I help whatever congregation I am serving to grow deeper in God, community, courage, and joy. From 2010 to 2018, I served at Grace Church, in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, and, together, we grew in every direction - in faith, spirituality, and service to those in need.
Almost daily we provided meals, shelter, clothing, and love to the many homeless and poor in our city, and established a housing corporation, Hearts for Homes, which helped homeless children and moms get into safe and affordable housing. “I think God’s primary ministry to us is bringing us home - not to some far-off heaven, nor even to the Church, synagogue, or mosque, but to God’s extravagant, unqualified love which is for right now, and for absolutely everyone, no exceptions. When we finally understand our own belovedness to God, we’ll want others to know theirs, too, which is a far more sacred work than getting more members and will take us out beyond our stained-glass windows and red doors to help heal the world of its brokenness. I hope that St. James will become famous for its radical hospitality and extreme inclusiveness! “I have a great love for the Church’s worship and hymnody, and published a book, "Liturgy for the Whole Church: Multi-generational Resources for Worship," to help congregations worship with creativity and joy. I also have great respect for the spirituality of children, which I am convinced is innate. If Jesus was right about our need to “turn and become like the child again,” then children should be with us grownups at worship so we can learn from them how to open our hearts toward God and each other. I will be leading worship at St. James every Sunday except the last Sunday of the month (sometimes the fourth, sometimes the fifth) and at home in the rectory most weekdays. Please feel free to call me with any pastoral need. On the Sundays I’m away I will be visiting my husband who is still in Detroit, or my daughter, Joanna, and her daughter, Elliot, in Brooklyn. Father Kurt Von Roeschlaub, St. James’ interim priest for the past two years, will continue to conduct services on the last weekend of each month. Worship at St. James is at 8 and 10 a.m. on Sundays. The 10 a.m. service is followed by a lively, friendly coffee hour - with way more than coffee! I hope all our parishioners, and any interested neighbors, will come to a service soon, so I can meet you, and you can learn more about our brave and beautiful parish.”