Rector of Trinity Church, Boston to retire

01/11/11:  The Rev. Anne B. Bonnyman, Rector of Trinity Church in Boston, will retire September 1, 2011, she and the parish announced today.

"I will be retiring full of gratitude for the blessings we have shared since my arrival in 2006," Bonnyman said in a prepared release.  "While change is challenging, it can also open our hearts and minds to new ways of hearing God's call toward the future.  I look forward to witnessing God's work among us in the coming months."

Robert E. Cowden III, Trinity's senior warden, said in the release:  "Anne has embraced our church community with love, wisdom, deep faith in the Good News of the Holy Trinity and a bright spirit.  She has served and led us with an open ear, a ready smile and a quick sense of humor."

In consultation with Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Trinity's vestry will announce plans later this winter for naming interim leadership and calling a new rector.

Known for its national landmark 1877 church building, Trinity Church receives more than 100,000 people every year as worshipers, tourists, meeting attendees and participants in church-run counseling and youth-mentoring programs.  With a congregation of more than 2,000 members and supporters, including a children’s ministry with more than 200 students, a large gay and lesbian fellowship and a Nigerian Anglican fellowship, Trinity offers four worship services every Sunday and weekday Eucharists and numerous special musical and cultural programs each year.

During Bonnyman's tenure as rector, according to the release, the church has deepened its involvement with the city of Boston, including a close ministerial partnership with Roxbury Presbyterian Church; parishioner and clergy support for the Dearborn School in Roxbury as it works to become a state-of-the-art science and technology secondary school; and the opening of Yearwood House, a Trinity-supported transitional home in Boston for more than a dozen formerly homeless people moving from shelters to community life.  Through church subsidiary Trinity Boston Foundation, more than 100 high school and middle school students from inner-city Boston neighborhoods now participate each year in the Trinity Education for Excellence Program (TEEP), a program that includes five weeks of intensive summer counseling and year-round mentoring to gain TEEP participants admission to college. 

Celebrating both tradition and innovation in Episcopal worship and leading the creation of an antiracism study and prayer group, Bonnyman has led Trinity's acclaimed Easter and Christmas services which typically each draw as many as 5,000 worshippers, and has overseen growth of the Trinity Choristers, a now-25-member children's chorus that toured great churches and cathedrals of England last summer with members of the parish's adult choirs.  She has overseen a church annual budget of over $5 million and more than 30 full and part-time staff.

"A clear voice for social justice, Anne has been a leader beyond Trinity's walls," Trinity's junior warden, Alexandra A. Burke, said in the release.  "At home, Anne has gathered an inspired group of associate clergy and lay staff who touch our lives faithfully and enthusiastically."

The Rev. Tom Kennedy, priest associate at Trinity and one of five priests serving with Bonnyman, said in the release:  "She has been the most open and supportive church rector I can recall, and it is a pleasure to see that.  One of the strengths of her management is she really lets her staff fulfill their responsibilities and grow in their positions." 

Bonnyman will serve as full-time rector through Easter and a Sunday, May 8 celebration of her ministry at Trinity, then take a planned sabbatical before retiring Sept. 1.  "The church will move forward with an active agenda of programs and services" during its search for a new rector, Cowden, senior warden, said.

Bonnyman served as rector of Trinity Parish in Wilmington, Del., and in churches in Tennessee before coming to Trinity Church in Boston in October 2006 as its 19th rector and its first female rector.  A native of Knoxville, Tenn., she holds a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Villanova University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee.  Bonnyman was ordained in the Diocese of Tennessee in 1982.  She is the mother of three adult sons.