Emmanuel Gets a New Rector
By Jim Crosby
The Rev. Christopher Garcia was officially installed as the new rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood at a Celebration of a New Ministry, on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston, bishop of Virginia officiated.
The service began with Senior Warden Delores Smith presenting the Rev. Garcia to the bishop with the statement, “Bishop Johnston, we have come together today to welcome Christopher Martin Garcia, who has been chosen to serve as rector of Emmanuel Church, Greenwood Parish. We believe that he is well qualified, and that he has been prayerfully and lawfully selected.” The bishop then asked, “Will you who witness this new beginning support and uphold Christopher in this ministry?” Those assembled for the service responded with a loud and robust, “We will.”
The lessons were read by Mac Schinstock and Carolyn Haden Cunningham. The sermon was presented by the Rev. Philip DeVaul, rector of St. John the Devine Episcopal Church in Costa Mesa, California. DeVaul is a classmate of Garcia from the Virginia Theological Seminary and traveled to support his friend and fellow priest.
The music was presented by the church choir under the leadership of Larry M. Smith, organist and choir director. Soloists included Elizabeth A. Garcia, soprano; Cheryl Garcia, flutist; and a saxophone quartet of Thomas Garcia, John Kiene, Jeffrey Musk, and Jongmin Park. The Rev. Deacon Don Cady read the Gospel.
In August of last year, the wardens and vestry called the Rev. Christopher Garcia, then serving as assistant to the rector of Christ Church, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., as their next rector. Garcia arrived at Emmanuel in October to begin his ministry here. He attended Virginia Theological Seminary to become an ordained priest after a career in the U.S. Army.
For 25 years, Garcia served in the U.S. Army as an intelligence officer and later as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His military career took him to Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Iraq for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as several U.S. posts.
Assignments at the Pentagon brought the Garcia family to Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burke, who sponsored him for ordination. He earned his undergraduate, MBA and law degrees from Cornell University. His seminary education was obtained at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. During seminary, he served at Washington Hospital Center, Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Purcellville, and Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in Arlington.
Rev. Garcia met his wife, Cheryl, while they were both in law school, and they have been married 23 years. They have two children. Elizabeth, 20, is a sophomore at James Madison University. Thomas, 18, is a senior at West Springfield High School and has been accepted at the College of William and Mary.