'A path worth going down:' St. Alban's welcomes Rev. Tim Boggs

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CAPE ELIZABETH — His first day of service as the new rector of St. Alban’s Church was Sept. 11, the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It was also the homecoming Sunday of the parish after the summer.

For Rev. Tim Boggs, the day was filled with mixed emotions. He said it was a complex and rich day, filled with mourning, celebrations, new beginnings, hope and anxiety.

His life has taken him in different directions, working in politics and as an executive, but the path has lead him to his newest position as a leader and member of the the St. Alban’s community.

“I think we are called into relationships with each other – our kids and those kids in Haiti, or people in corporate and community life who are struggling to get to a new place, or if it’s a relationship we are invited to with our God and a community with God’s people,” he said

But, he said the reality of relationships is that they are difficult and that is why they are treasures. Whether it is at home, with siblings, in a workplace, in government or in a faith community, people have to work at making connections and maintaining them.

Although he is new to the community, Boggs, 61, is learning about St. Alban’s, its parishioners and relationships. With his gentle nature, sense of humor and realistic attitude, Boggs is finding it to be a great fit.

“St. Alban’s is a place where people care about being in relationships with each other, and I felt very drawn to be a part of that, to be a leader and a follower here in that,” he said.

The path that led Boggs to St. Alban’s Church has been filled with experience and learning, and became more clear with time.

Raised in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, Ill., by a single mother, Boggs received degrees from the University of Wisconsin and Georgetown University. He received his Master of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary.

“The question of what am I to do with my life, is one that a fifth grader has and a 98-year old has,” he said. “For me, I found bringing this question to my church led over a long period of time to small steps toward ministry and then some strides, then some running to embrace it.”

Boggs started his career as a staff member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.  Then he became senior vice president for Global Public Policy of Time Warner, Inc., the media and entertainment firm where he worked for 20 years. In making the transition from politics to an executive he said the path to ministry was his goal. 

“It feels like a sharp turning, but in fact, I think God gives us enormous freedom to live and work in the world and we have an opportunity to pursue it,” he said. “But it begins with a question.”

The search committee that ultimately chose Boggs for the position asked many questions during a thorough search process for the new rector.

Anita Samuelson, a member of the 11-member search committee, said the process was lengthy, but well worth the effort. The committee represented various groups, ages and viewpoints of the church, she said, and each member took part in each aspect of the interview process.

She said about 50 people showed interest in the position and applied from all over the country. The committee studied resumes, interviewed potential candidates, and asked for written responses to questions.

“At each step we eliminated some, and whittled it down to about 12 candidates for the hour-long phone interviews,” she said. “Each step revealed new information about the candidates. We had to eliminate a lot of very good people.”

They committee invited six candidates to visit St. Alban’s and participate in an additional interview, then narrowed the search to two. They asked the finalists to preach a sermon and teach a class, and the committee visited their parishes. Samuelson said the committee unanimously decided to offer the position to Boggs.

“We wanted someone who is a good preacher and whose goals matched our own,” she said. “We wanted someone with a sense of humor, who planned to stay with us for a while and understood that Maine winters are cold.”

She said he was eager to come to St. Alban’s and they were eager to have him.

Boggs said he and his partner James Schwartz are familiar with Maine and have a summer home in Brooklin. He said they are looking forward to their future in Cape Elizabeth at St. Alban’s.

“All transition includes small affirming steps and becoming a priest is a bit like that,” he said. “You are given the luxury of time and space and intention and attention of smarter and wiser people around you and over time it becomes clear that yes, this is a path worth going down.”

Boggs came from the Diocese of Washington, D.C. where served for years. He served for three years as Senior Associate Rector of St. Alban’s Parish in Northwest Washington.

Last year Boggs was recruited by the Dean of Washington National Cathedral to serve as the cathedral’s Canon Provost, a new position with responsibility for the cathedral’s worship, music and programs, including education, mission and stewardship. 

He was also invited to serve as the visiting priest in charge at the American Cathedral in Paris, as a guest preacher at several congregations in Washington, as a member of the search committee for the recently elected 9th Bishop of Washington, D.C., and as an adjunct professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, where he is a trustee.

Jim Croft, senior warden for the church, said Boggs is a welcome addition to St. Alban’s Episcopal church.

“He seems to be a perfect fit our parish,” Croft said. “We look forward to working with him for a long time.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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