The Very Rev. James L. Stout has been named interim vicar, or priest in charge, of the two churches for one year in addition to his duties at Ascension Anglican Church in nearby Copperopolis, where he has been the priest for nearly 16 years.
“Hopefully during that period,” he said, “we will do some things that will allow them to call a full time vicar.”
St. James Anglican Church — Sonora’s famous Red Church — lost its priest when the Rev. Wolfgang Krismanits, popularly known as Father Wolf, and his wife, LaDonn, were killed in a three-vehicle accident near Hollister on Nov. 27.
Stout and his wife were close personal friends of the Krismanitses.
“A lot of healing needs to take place, especially at St. James,” he said. “It’s a real shock to lose your priest that way, especially after he had just gone through successful open heart surgery. It’s a great loss for the church and a great loss for myself and my wife.”
At St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, the Rev. Jerry Roberts retired more than a year ago because of ill health. Different priests, called supply priests, were serving the church each week until the decision was made to bring in Stout.
“I’m excited,” Stout said. “There are a lot of possibilities and a great group of people at both churches. We just need to pull together. They are as excited as I am to keep things going and build on what is already there.”
He said his congregation in Copperopolis has already agreed to move Sunday services to 5 p.m. on Saturdays so he can devote Sunday mornings to the two Tuolumne County churches.
“They want to help their brothers and sisters,” he said.
He hopes soon to reinstate an early service at St. James, but that will require some more rescheduling. For right now, Sunday services are at 8:30 a.m. at St. Michael and All Angels and 10:30 a.m. at St. James.
The food pantry and other programs are also still active at St. James. Call the Copperopolis church at 785-0225 or St. James at 532-7644 for more information about services and programs at all three churches.
“This is a real adjustment time for all of us,” Stout said. “We need patience and to ask for God’s wisdom in what we do and how we do it. I don’t think the Lord is finished with St. James in Sonora or any of us. We just have to regroup and continue on.”
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