ABOUT ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
The mission statement of St. John’s describes who we are and what we do. This being and doing is summed up succinctly in the first sentence: We are a welcoming summer chapel, living out Christ’s love. But, of course, there is a little more detail and our mission helps to explain what this means and how it is lived in the St. John’s community.
We are a welcoming summer chapel, living out Christ's love. A beacon to all, the foundation and traditions of St. John's inform our spiritual journey. We seek to provide an inclusive, open, and dynamic ministry to impact the Fishers Island community across seasons, dedicated to nurturing spiritual growth through reflection, hospitality, and engagement.
WHO WE ARE
We are a welcoming summer chapel, living out Christ’s love. A beacon to all, the foundation and traditions of St. John’s inform our spiritual journey. We practice gospel hospitality and seek to live out Christ’s love. For many, St. John’s Church is a place of refreshment and inspiration; a place to stop and to be. First and foremost, this is a place of welcome and worship to fellow pilgrims. Whoever you are, wherever you are in life’s journey, whether your family has attended this church for generations or you are visiting this island for the first time, please know that you are always welcome at St. John’s.
Founded in 1881, St. John's has stood on Fishers Island for almost 140 years. Its parishioners come from cities and states along the Eastern seaboard, across this country, and from around the world. With a small year-round population, Fishers Island is also the seasonal home for generations of people and St. John’s is an important part of that experience and tradition for many. St. John's opens its doors every summer, but continues to serve the island population through all seasons.
WHAT WE DO
We seek to provide an inclusive, open and dynamic ministry to impact the Fishers Island community across seasons, dedicated to nurturing spiritual growth through worship, reflection, hospitality, and engagement. Through open and inclusive worship grounded in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition, St. John’s Church extends a ministry of hospitality and outreach not just to the community gathered under the roof of the church during the summer season, but to the community of the island who live here through all the seasons. Outreach is the principle expression of our faith in action. St. John’s is the single largest charitable organization on the island, managing multiple vehicles of outreach to support the community. These include the Sanger Fund, our support of visiting speakers and artists, the maintenance of the Island Cemeteries, partnership with Union Chapel to support the Islanders for Islanders initiative, support through the Rector’s Discretionary Fund, and most significantly, through our incredible scholarship program that supports students residing on the island and graduates of Fishers Island High School through up to six years of education. Through all of these ministries of outreach, we seek to live out the love of Christ in this world and on this island. For more information on outreach at St. John's, click here.
Reverend Michael Spencer
The Reverend Michael Spencer became Rector in 2009. He earned his A.B. in philosophy/classics, magna cum laude, from the College of the Holy Cross. After completing coursework in Yale’s Teacher Education Program, he received his master of divinity, summa cum laude, graduating from Yale Divinity School as the ranking scholar. He subsequently earned a certificate in Anglican studies from Berkley Divinity School at Yale completing coursework for the master of sacred theology degree. He also received a certificate in school management and leadership from Harvard Business School and Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program in Educational Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary.
Ordained in the Diocese of Connecticut, Rev. Spencer served as assistant priest at St. John’s Church in Waterbury while working as school chaplain and director of the philosophy, religion, and ethics curriculum at The Taft School. In 2007, he joined the faculty of St. Paul’s School as dean of chapel and member of the Humanities Department. As dean of chapel he developed the cathedral model of chaplaincy through a dynamic ministry: expanding chaplaincy initiatives, establishing distinctive interfaith and Episcopal programs, developing new local and global outreach partnerships, and deepening the integration of social justice, diversity, environmental stewardship, and arts into school ministry.
From 2015 until 2023, Rev. Spencer served as Vice Rector for Faculty, revising the hiring process to incorporate data driven assessment, strengthening the diversity of the faculty and equity and inclusion initiatives, reviewing school policies and procedures to strengthen healthy culture and deepen faculty training, developing a comprehensive instrument to assess workload and track professional learning, engaging in strategic planning for the School, and serving as co-chair of the community conduct board, school accreditation, and on many other committees.
In the summer of 2023, Rev. Spencer begin his work as Head of School at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland. Founded in 1869, Oregon Episcopal School is the largest Episcopal School west of the Rockies, committed to inquiry based education to help students “realize their power for good.”
Nationally recognized for his work, Michael served as treasurer and secretary of the governing board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) and currently serves as vice president and chair of advancement. His sermons, articles, and poetry including a curriculum in Applied Ethics, have been published in Theology Today, The Anglican Theological Review, The Living Church, The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education Magazine, and Independent School Magazine. He has presented at many national conferences. A former delegate to the International Parliament of World Religions, he served on the Graduate Council of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and on the board of directors for Forward Movement Publications.
During his time as rector of St. John’s, Rev. Spencer has helped to develop the mission for St. John’s, strengthen the outreach initiatives of the church, develop additional services and programming for the church and the island community, and deepen partnerships with other church and community leaders. Michael is married to Amy, a middle and elementary school educator, and together they have two children: Aidan, age 23, and Katherine, age 18. His personal interests include gardening, cooking, reading, hiking, and rowing.
This Summer's Visiting Ministers
Please welcome our visiting ministers this summer with open arms. We are thrilled to have them!
The Reverend Mary McCarthy
Ordained in the Diocese of New York, the Reverend Mary McCarthy has been serving as curate at Christ's Church in Rye, New York.
Rev. McCarthy received her master of divinity, graduating from General Theological Seminary; a master of arts in church history from Union Theological Seminary and a master of music in voice performance from George Washington University.
This coming fall, she and her husband, Christopher York, will move to Somers, NY where Rev. McCarthy will serve as Priest-in-Charge.
The Reverend Mark Robinson
The Rev Mark K J Robinson, retired, Rector of St. Ann’s Parish, Old Lyme, Connecticut;
Canon For Mission, Episcopal Diocese of Ohio;
Rector, Calvary Church, Stonington, Connecticut;
Chaplain, Diocesan College, Cape Town, South Africa;
Chaplain, Saint Andrew's Episcopal School, Bethesda, Maryland;
St. John's Lafayette Square, Washington DC;
Assistant to the chaplain, Brooks School, North Andover, Massachusetts;
Catechist, diocese of western Newfoundland/Labrador Canada.
The Reverend Peter Thompson
The Reverend Peter Thompson is the Vicar of St. Bart's in midtown Manhattan, where he has served for four and a half years. There he assists the Rector in the administration of the parish and oversees worship, adult education, and parish life. Peter, who grew up as a chorister and acolyte at Washington National Cathedral, previously served at St. Paul's on the Green in Norwalk, Connecticut. He holds degrees from Columbia and Yale.
The Reverend Posey Krakowski
Rev. Posey Krakowsky serves as priest associate at the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village in NYC. An artist and a teacher, she is passionate about exploring the intersections of art and faith. Posey has summered on Fishers Island since she was a very young child. She lives in NYC with her husband and two Siberian cats.
The Rev. Dr. Daniel Heischman
A noted speaker, workshop leader, and author, the Rev. Daniel R. Heischman, D.D., is a senior instructor in the Doctoral Programs at Virginia Theological Seminary. He preaches and leads faculty and parent workshops and retreats at Episcopal and independent schools, and serves as a facilitator for faculty development programs related to ethics and the moral development of students.
Rev. Michael Spencer, Rector
Dan Moriarty, Organist
Ace Ahrens, Sexton
Donna Abbott, Bookkeeper
Dianne Crary, Altar Guild
Suzanne McCance, Flower Guild
Thomas B. Parker, Senior Warden
Molly O'Neil Frank, Junior Warden
John Trevor, Treasurer
Phyllis Hansell, Clerk
Molly duPont Shaffer