Announcement from Bishop Johnson and Canon Burruss

The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

A Letter from Canon Burruss

December 5, 2017

Dear Friends in West Tennessee,

Over the past few years, I have loved walking with you and your congregations as we have lived into the vision of our Bishop to create new ministries and find new ways to connect to the communities where our churches are located.  You have invited me into your pulpits and your homes, into your congregations to teach workshops and lead retreats.  More to the point you have invited me to be a part of your faith communities and your lives, and for this I am grateful.

I hope that your ministries have been enriched and you have learned something meaningful from our work together and with the Diocese in partnership with the Kaleidoscope Institute.  Know that I have learned more than I could have ever imagined from each of you, especially through your willingness to risk and be bold in the proclamation of the Gospel and in how we seek truth in our communities and engage the world.  You have helped me grow in my vocation as a priest and I am grateful for what I have learned from you. Our time together will shape my ministry in the years to come.

As our work together has deepened, I have discovered an eagerness to return to parish ministry.  Recently, the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama called me to be their fourth rector, and I am grateful and excited to accept this call.  It is a place that is deeply committed to outreach, spiritual formation for people of every age, and a liturgy that recognizes the diversity of the Church while making sure everyone is welcome.  Our work together has prepared me well for my new challenges at St. Stephen’s.

In January, we will celebrate the work in developing sustainable ministries using the Kaleidoscope Institute processes over the last three years. We have done beautiful work together, including most recently, visioning a resurrected college ministry underwritten with a $1 million investment from Church Home.  Bishop Johnson and others are already working to make sure this project has the right people in place to effectively move this vision forward.

My last day in the diocesan office will be January 5, 2018. My first Sunday at Stephen’s will be January 21, 2018.  The plan is for Anne, Jack, and Bailey to move fulltime to Birmingham at the end of the school year.  I ask your prayers during this time of transition in my life and the life of my family. Know that I will also keep you in my prayers


The Rev. Cn. John B. Burruss
Canon for Sustainable Ministries

The Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee

A Letter from Bishop Johnson

December 5, 2017

Dear Friends,

Today’s announcement of Canon John Burruss’ call to St. Stephen’s Church, Birmingham, as their new Rector brings mixed feelings for all of us on the Diocesan Staff and for his and Anne’s many friends across West Tennessee.  It is at this personal level that I want to begin by expressing my excitement for John and his family.  At the same time, they will definitely be missed.  John’s quick smile and gentle wit combines readily with a desire to serve God and God’s people in creative ways.  He has become a respected colleague, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to be with him from his days as Youth Minister, Seminarian and through his ordination as Deacon and Priest, his work as Vicar of Church of the Annunciation, Cordova, and most recently as the Diocesan Canon for Sustainable Ministries. Canon Chip Davis has also had as close a working relationship with John as anyone else in the Diocese.  In Chip’s own words, “John has been a gift to this old priest as he has given us all a glimpse of the impact that a creative dedication to the Gospel, by this new generation, will have on the future mission and ministry of the Church.  I am grateful and excited to have had this opportunity.  Godspeed.”

In John’s capacity as Canon, he has touched many lives by assisting us to discover for ourselves the emerging ministries to which God is calling us today.  His work with Kaleidoscope Institute has brought to bear this approach to our local settings.  He has helped many of us become more creative in our own ways of thinking about and doing together ministries that matter in the communities where our people gather to worship and serve.  John has stretched and enriched our lives, and the Episcopal Diocese of West Tennessee is strengthened as a result of this experience.

So, I invite you to join Chip and me in wishing Godspeed to John, Anne, Jack and Bailey as they move into God’s next phase of their common life and witness.  “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.”   Thanks be to God.

Bishop Johnson

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