photo of Bob BessBob Bess is stepping down from his lay leadership position as senior warden of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church. In this season of thanksgiving, we give thanks for the visionary and steady leadership Bob has given our congregation in our time of transition.
Bob has served 33 months as our senior warden, beginning in January, 2013, when the Rev. Jim Reynolds announced his retirement. At that point, Bob knew he was expected to serve until our rector search was completed and our new rector began ministry among us. Our new rector, the Rev. Scot McComas, asked Bob to serve longer through this transition; Bob graciously served an additional eight months since Father Scot’s ministry began this February.
Bob encouraged us to move steadily and purposefully through the process of transformation in our rector search process and during our transition with a new rector. We saw Bob at almost every weekend worship service; he has prayed for us, kept us informed, and was available to chat and answer questions. He was a rock through this time; his consistent presence and unflappable nature gave our congregation reassurance through change. With his mission-focused leadership, both our school and church are on energetic, new paths. We are deeply grateful.
Bob shares this about his time as our warden:

Being senior warden during the time of transition over the last three years has been like shooting the rapids in the Taos Box in northern New Mexico. It is always exciting, and thrilling to see so much change so quickly. Just like when we finished our journey I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Fortunately I have only experienced the shock of the icy cold water a couple of times, when the raft flipped. I survived this amazing journey through level four rapids. The transition is over and now the river is fast, but smoother. We at St. Martin’s move on to continue our Journey of faith with a fresh new senior warden.

Father Scot McComas shares his gratitude:

I am eternally grateful for Bob Bess’s friendship, wisdom and leadership, especially during the transition as I was coming on board as rector. Bob has been there to help me manage change efficiently and effectively during my tenure. His solid and steady presence has helped steer the ship of St. Martin’s during the final months of Fr. Jim’s tenure, during the interim period with Fr. Mike (2013-2014) and now as we are at a place of looking to the future of 2016 and beyond. I am extremely fortunate to have worked closely with Bob during these last 8 months. My transition would not have been as smooth without Bob Bess’s assistance and direction. I wish Bob well as he retires from active leadership at St. Martin’s, but he has assured me he is only a phone call away, and will serve in an advisory capacity whenever needed. No doubt, I will be calling Bob now and then to have, what has become, ‘our monthly dinners.’

New senior warden

Kleinwechter-Gil-400x400Father Scot has chosen Vestry member Gil Kleinwechter to serve as senior warden: “Gil’s recent role as chair of the Stewardship Committee has been remarkable. He has been a solid leader on the vestry and has been able ‘to cast a vision’ for the future. Further, I recall Gil’s creative energy and adaptive leadership while on the search committee. I also have worked with him on some pastoral matters of the parish. Gil’s wisdom in such matters, his love of St. Martin’s and commitment to the future are truly laudable. I look forward to working further with Gil as we continue to minister in Christ’s name at St. Martin’s.
Gil is grateful for Bob’s leadership and for the opportunity to serve.

I want to thank Bob Bess for all that he has done to lead St. Martin’s through a time of significant change. His calm, pastoral leadership has been a true blessing as St. Martin’s. During our transition time, we took a long look at who we were, and more importantly, who we want to be. Bob’s leadership has revitalized the school and resulted in a tripling in enrollment. Personally, Bob has been a long-time friend and a role model. He has inspired me to become more involved in serving at St. Martin’s.

I am looking forward to serving as senior warden at St. Martin’s. I want to continue to foster the renewed sense of mission and purpose we have at our church. Working together we accomplish so much. I look forward to working together to live the Gospel.

Gil serves on the Communications Development Committee. Gil is a software development team facilitator and former IT director. In his diminishing spare time, he enjoys being a photographer at Lasting Memory Photography and making stained glass. He’s a father of two young adults in college, both of whom were raised at St. Martin’s, and is married to Communications & Publications Coordinator Susan Kleinwechter. You can reach Gil by email at <email address removed.>