(Palm Desert, CA) St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church has called The Reverend Andrew Butler to serve as its new Rector (head priest) beginning August 1, 2020. As Rector, Fr. Andrew will lead the over 600-member church in all matters of worship and community involvement.
Butler, a trained singer, has degrees from Union Presbyterian Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. He will assume the leadership of a church widely known for its outstanding music program, not only in the Coachella Valley but also throughout Southern California.
He comes to St. Margaret’s from Riverdale, Bronx, New York, where he has served as Rector of Christ Church Riverdale for six years. At Christ Church his tenure was distinguished by profound preaching, robust outreach bringing church music to the community, the establishment of a transformative mentoring program for immigrant youth, and deep involvement in inter-religious relations for the New York diocese.
In a statement from New York, Butler paid tribute to the outreach ministries of St. Margaret’s serving the needs of the Coachella Valley saying, “It’s heartening to see a church be the church and not play church. I look forward to ministering beside you into wherever the Spirit leads us.”
Senior Warden Jan Romerdahl said, “Our search committee and Vestry (lay governing body) were unanimous in their enthusiasm for Fr. Andrew. We were of one heart and one mind about him.”
The Search Committee was co-chaired by parishioners Ed Rainey and Margo Baxley. They said, “We reviewed applications from the US and internationally. Fr. Andrew was our unanimous recommendation.”
St. Margaret’s provides a number of important outreach ministries including Neighbors4Neighbors which is currently providing food for more than 800 families every week during the COVID-19 crisis.
St Margaret’s was founded in 1963 and has grown to prominence in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley. Its members are highly diverse in age, gender identity and background. They reside throughout the Coachella Valley. There is a significant seasonal membership from many parts of the United States and Canada.
During the COVID pandemic a number of religious services are available online at
Upon Fr. Andrew’s arrival, Interim Rector Kathleen Kelly, who has led the congregation since last year on a temporary basis, will focus on her re-election campaign for Palm Desert City Council, after which she will rejoin the Resident Clergy (a group of retired priests who contribute their skills and experience to the spiritual life of the St. Margaret’s community).
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