On Nov. 28, Shawn Schreiner will be installed as vicar at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church. Although this church was established 1834, making it one of the older churches in the Chicago diocese, this is the first time this church has hired a woman as its permanent vicar, Schreiner said.
Schreiner also brings with her Victoria (Vicki) Garvey, with whom she's been in a relationship for 27 years and married for Five. She feels that is part of her ministry to the community, too.
"I think there's a real need in communities for safe places and for the LGBT community to come together," Schreiner said. "Just be virtue of Vicki and I coming as a same gender couple, I'm helping to make the statement that other people will know this is a safe place to go."
Since Schreiner has lived in the Chicago area since 1988, she was already familiar with St. John In February, she served St. John for 12 weeks as an interim vicar, where the people were, she said, "amazingly welcoming."
"When I got here, it felt just like coming home," Schreiner said. "It was just a gut feeling. It just seemed, in some ways, our personalities matched. We all have a sense of community and a sense of the importance of the wider community and of a church being outside of the walls, which is a part of what we talked when I was visiting with them...I sensed it might be a good match. It was fun to hang out and I liked their worship."
Schreiner said although she had served larger communities in the past, she felt coming St. John could foster own personal development. Church members also wanted a vicar who could perform same sex marriages, she added
"In my first couple weeks here, i walked up and down the streets of businesses, went in and introduced myself," Schreiner said. "I told them who I was and let them know if they needed anything from the church, we were here for them."