On November 16, 2023, the Reverend Joanne Epply-Schmidt began a one-year term as Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of St. Laurence, Coquitlam. The former rector of the parish, the Reverend Eric Mason completed seven years of ministry at the Coquitlam parish August, 2023. Here is a brief bio, supplied to diocesan communications by the Rev. Epply-Schmidt.
A native of New England, Joanne grew up in a vibrant college town, which inspired her lifelong interest in learning, her faith, the arts, and outdoor sports. As an undergraduate at Princeton University, she began the journey into the Episcopal Church and ultimately to ordination, graduating from Yale Divinity School in 1988. Integral to her studies was her engagement with the power of the arts and storytelling in ministry and preaching.
In the first ten years of her ordained ministry she served as curate at St. Matthew’s in Pennington, New Jersey. In her last year there, Joanne began to apprentice with Storytelling Arts, Inc.--a secular nonprofit organization of storytellers teaching in underserved and urban communities. Joanne worked with maximum-security adolescents for ten years in the Juvenile Justice System.
Returning to diocesan ministry as a supply and short-term interim priest, Joanne served in nearly 40 parishes in eight years. During this time, she also mentored students in Preaching and Storytelling at Eastern Baptist Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary and provided storytelling workshops for laity and clergy at several locations in the United States and Canada. Subsequently, Joanne was delighted to return to the Episcopal student congregation at Princeton University as interim chaplain.
In June of this year, Joanne retired from her six-year appointment as Associate Rector at Trinity Church, Princeton, New Jersey. In this large congregation, she established a thriving youth group, an anti-racism program, pastoral care in local assisted-living facilities, and innovative worship.
Coming to the diocese of New Westminster is a new and exciting challenge and a wonderful opportunity for which Joanne is very thankful.
Please keep the Parish of St. Laurence and the Reverend Joanne Epply-Schmidt in your prayers as the go forward in mission and ministry together.