The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers is an Episcopal priest, author and popular speaker known for fueling radical welcome across the ecumenical spectrum. In her post as Canon for Evangelism and Reconciliation just under the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop, she spearheads efforts to share the good news of God's inclusive love with new communities in new ways.
Before accepting this call, Spellers worked at the intersection of academia and practice: she taught and directed programs in mission and reconciliation at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, and she directed new ministry initiatives for the Center for Progressive Renewal, an ecumenical consulting and resource group based in Atlanta.
Spellers has helped to shape church-wide mission and movement for years, having served as Chaplain to the House of Bishops, as co-chair of the Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism, as chief architect for the legislation that birthed Mission Enterprise Zones, and as founder of the influential emergent ministry The Crossing at St. Paul's Cathedral. She is the author of Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation and most recently co-authored The Episcopal Way, the first volume in the new Church's Teachings for a Changing World series (with Eric Law).
Spellers began her career as an award-winning religion journalist in Knoxville, Tennessee, a job she took in 1996 upon graduation from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied religion and movements for social change. She eventually returned to the northeast to coordinate admissions and minority recruitment at Harvard Divinity, and four years later discerned a call to ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church. After earning her M.Div. at Episcopal Divinity School, she was ordained in 2005 and joined the staff of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.
While at the Cathedral, Spellers tended newcomers, hospitality, altar guild and adult formation and facilitated a vision process that led to the overhaul of the venerable Cathedral's space and ministries. At the same time, she gathered the team that launched The Crossing, a missional worship community that actively embraces the gifts and voices of young adults, LGBT people, people of color, poor people and others on the margins of traditional churches (www.thecrossingboston.org). She handed off leadership to a dynamic young team in 2012 and moved to New York to serve as Canon for Missional Vitality in the Diocese of Long Island, where she worked for three years to catalyze mission engagement and launch new ministries. Last year she shifted to part-time in order to more actively form new leaders at General Theological Seminary and to facilitate ecumenical church planting and revitalization with the Center for Progressive Renewal.
Spellers has been widely recognized as a leader in evangelism, reconciliation and new ministry development. She has won two grants from the Episcopal Evangelism Society, including a current project to interview Episcopalians nationwide and create video trainings that equip churches for evangelism and reconciliation (called "Good News People"). She was designated one of the Episcopal Church Foundation's Transformational Ministries Fellows, to support her work in new ministry development and radical welcome.
Finally, while she is happy to call New York City home today, Spellers remains close to her large extended family in her hometown of Frankfort, Kentucky. She meets God especially when she's celebrating Eucharist, dancing and singing, meeting new people and building bridges.
Come by here, my Lord, come by here....Oh Lord, come by here.
When you live in New York City, you pretty much expect the unexpected when you sit down in a taxi. In fact, they've built a whole TV show on this very premise. It's called "Taxicab Confessions." People share their deepest, darkest secrets with a cab driver they hope they'll never see again. You don't know what's gonna unfold when you crawl inside. You just need to be ready.Read full transcript...