Bishop Benhase announces he is calling the Rev. Joshua Varner to serve as Diocesan Missioner for Youth while continuing part time as Vicar of St. Patrick’s, Pooler. Bishop Benhase said, “Joshua brings the right balance of skills and experience that will assist the Diocesan Youth Programs in making disciples.”
Varner will continue to serve as the Vicar of St. Patrick’s, Pooler. Since his arrival in March of 2012, the congregation has tripled its attendance and giving. While working toward that goal, the mission is not at the point of being able to compensate a full-time priest. Working on Diocesan staff will offer enough flexibility so that the growth of St. Patrick’s can continue under Varner’s leadership.
Varner grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, and is a lifelong Episcopalian. He attended Sewanee-The University of the South, majoring in religion and music, and then earned an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School and an M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary.
He served three years as Assistant to the Rector at St. Luke’s in Durham, NC. Then he served Holy Trinity in Greensboro, NC, for seven years. In both parishes Joshua had particular responsibility for ministry with children, youth, and their families. In the Diocese of Georgia, Varner has served as a spiritual director to summer camp sessions and led youth mission trips both in the U.S. and to our Companion Diocese of the Dominican Republic.
He met his wife, Elizabeth at Sewanee. Elizabeth grew up at Trinity Episcopal Church in Statesboro, Georgia and was active in the youth programs of the Diocese of Georgia. Married for 15 years, they have two children, Benjamin (11), and Laura (8).
Varner begins his work as Missioner for Youth on April 15, allowing for overlap with Rebekah Stewart, the Interim Missioner for Youth. Bishop Benhase said, “We are grateful to Rebekah for maintaining healthy, forward motion with our youth programs throughout the search process.”
Questions about Youth Programs still go to Rebekah Stewart through April 15th: firstname.lastname@example.org