Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Shepherd to help Guide Flock of a Different Sort
Wednesday, May 8, 2019


The Rev. Kathleen Bean has been named Associate Rector of St. Thomas Church, effective June 30.

Bean has served as an intern at the church for the past six months.

“The vestry and I have discussed hiring an Associate Rector for years and those conversations intensified in recent months, well before I announced I was leaving,” said the Rev. Ken Brannon, who is leaving to accept a position at a church in Dallas, Texas. “It has become clear to the vestry that St. Thomas has grown to a point that hiring an Associate Rector will not only be helpful for the next Rector, but will also strengthen the many ministries currently underway.”

Bean and her husband Brian came to the Sun Valley area from San Francisco ten years ago when they purchased Lava Lake Ranch near Carey.

She was born in Iowa where she cut her teeth on her father’s stories of life on a small farm. Those stories led to a deep appreciation of the sacred nature of the land and of growing and sharing food.

But Kathleen did not grow up on the land but, rather in the suburbs of Los Angeles, moving to San Francisco after marrying Brian, an investment banker with a degree in botany. There she became the development director for The Nature Conservancy of California and served on boards of organizations devoted to conservation and sustainable agriculture.

The Beans’ desire to be more engaged in the conservation of working landscapes led them to purchase Lava Lake Ranch in 1999 where they began a grand experiment looking at ways to raise sheep with minimal impact on the land. They even began experimenting with methods to keep wolves at bay.

Their daughters Phoebe and Fiona are studying at the university of Montana in Missoula.

Kathleen earned a Master’s Degree in Theology with an emphasis in Spirituality at the Franciscan School in Berkeley, part of the Graduate Theological Union where students are encouraged to take classes at other seminaries to learn about other faith traditions. She completed her seminary education at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and was ordained a deacon in December 2018.

She will be ordained to the priesthood at St. Thomas in early summer 2019. She will be working 30 hours a week and will serve at the direction of the rector, interim priest or vestry in the absence of a clergy leader.

“Kathleen is a mature presence in the parish and an articulate writer and preacher,” said Brannon. “Kathleen is also an excellent listener and a sensitive pastor.  She has particular gifts in the areas of retreat facilitation and small group development that will deepen the spiritual life of the parish.”

Bean said she was drawn to the Episcopal church by the beauty of the liturgy and the open-hearted welcome of all “wherever you are in your journey of faith.” She says she is passionate about helping connect people to God and to each other by creating sacred spaces and experiences whether inside a church or outside in nature. She already has led a number of retreats for the church.

“I answer this sacred call with joy, excitement, gratitude and humility,” she said. “I’ve come to know the people of St. Thomas as deeply faithful.”




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