Saint John’s in the Village Rector – Father Graeme Napier

Saint John's in the Village Rector, Father Graeme Napier is focused on building community in his parish and addressing inequity. This is how he addressed that over the last year.

Innovating, pivoting and providing in the pandemic

St John’s in the Village Rector Father Graeme Napier kindly sat down with me to discuss his perspective on the issues facing the Neighborhood.

Father Graeme explains his backstory prior to arriving in the Village in 2018.
He discusses the impact of the pandemic on the local community and how he used neighborhood social network, Next Door to understand what locals were talking about and what was missing.
Understanding the need for connection and community he set out to address this need, with a particular focus on food insecurity those with limited internet access. Working with an organization called Invisible Hands, a voluntary delivery service, St John’s set up a dedicated phone line to take people’s food orders. Father Napier sourced donations from beyond the US, to fund the purchase of food. Scaling it, at the peak, his team served all five Boroughs.

In addition Father Graeme’s team have helped local musicians and performers to use the Church theatre to live stream and sell tickets to audiences around the world.

Father Graeme shares his views of the needs of the community coming out of the pandemic and how St John’s can help address these needs. We also discuss what other needs that the Church could address moving forward.

Now over to Father Graeme.

About Saint John's

St John’s in the Village has been a notable and distinct (Episcopal) Christian presence in Greenwich Village since the 1850s. St John’s was an important provider of both pastoral care and practical assistance during NYC’s cholera outbreak in the 1860s, the Spanish Flu pandemic following the First World War, and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Today St John’s is playing its part in the COVID-19 pandemic in providing free hand-delivered groceries to the elderly and vulnerable of NYC, allowing then to remain indoors and away from physical contact with others until the danger is passed. They are a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community of faith known for hospitality, dignified liturgy, beautiful music, intelligent preaching, care for the needy, and engagement with the arts and our local community.

Worship is at the heart of all they  are and do. The Eucharist is celebrated twice on Sundays and the daily ‘offices’ of Morning and Evening Prayer (‘Evensong’) are prayed through the week. During this pandemic the Eucharists and Offices are streamed on our YouTube Channel. As a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and thus part of the world-wide Anglican Communion, their faith and practice are grounded in Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, with the Book of Common Prayer as the foundation of their worship. Confidently in the Anglo-Catholic tradition within Anglicanism they  seek to ‘worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ using vestment, iconography, hymnody, choral music, silence, incense, and gesture to express their adoration of God in Word, in Sacrament, and in the gathered brothers and sisters of Christ.

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