written by Cynde A. Bimbi
The Rt. Rev. Kevin S. Brown has named the Rev. Martha G. Kirkpatrick as the next canon to the ordinary for vitality and renewal for the Episcopal Church in Delaware. She will begin her new ministry on Friday, March 1.
Kirkpatrick has served as the rector of St. Barnabas’ Church in Wilmington, Delaware since June 2014. She will serve jointly as both rector of St. Barnabas and canon to the ordinary through April 28.
Brown was pleased with the strong interest that he received throughout the search process, including applications from across the United States and Great Britain. He said, “This is not merely reflective of this particular job but also of Delaware as a desirable place to live, work, and do ministry.”
Brown continued enthusiastically, “I am excited that Martha has said yes to this call. She brings excellent, hands-on experience to the work of canon to the ordinary. She knows church vitality inside and out, as the parishes she has served can attest, and she has an impressive record of accomplishment in administration and legal affairs from her career before priesthood. Martha is creative, thoughtful, and prayerful, and best of all, eager to serve Jesus Christ.”
Even though a Maine native, Kirkpatrick has found a sense of home and community in Delaware. When asked about her new ministry, she humbly replies, “I am so excited to have this opportunity to be a part of the renewal and growth of the Episcopal Church in Delaware, and explore together how we can be evangelists for the Gospel. I look forward to serving alongside Bishop Brown, the mission support team, and the people of this diocese.”
The canon to the ordinary will have primary responsibility, with the bishop, for the joyful support of our clergy and their families, for inspiring a culture of vitality and renewal across all our parishes and ministries, and for teaching best practices for achieving these goals. In addition, the canon will serve as the bishop’s chief of staff and the executive officer of the mission support team.
A 2007 graduate, Kirkpatrick holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Skidmore College and a Juris Doctor degree from the National Law Center, George Washington University.
Before becoming ordained, Kirkpatrick had a long career in environmental protection in federal and state governments. She functioned as the commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, serving on the Governor’s cabinet, and prior to that she was the director of the Bureau of Land and Water Quality. Kirkpatrick has also worked as a staff attorney with the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC.
She previously served as rector of St. Margaret’s in the Diocese of Maine, as well as the diocesan missioner for the Environment for two years. In addition, she has successfully completed the two-year Living School program through the Center for Action and Contemplation and is a GreenFaith Fellow (world’s longest-running religious-environmental leadership program). Her article, For God So Loved the World: An Incarnational Ecology was published in the Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2009. She has served on the board of directors for the Maine Audubon Society and is currently on the board for Delaware Interfaith Power and Light.
Kirkpatrick lives in Wilmington with her longtime, loyal dog, Annie. She enjoys spending time singing with the New Ark Chorale, reading, cooking, and gardening.