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First Female Rector Takes Helm at St. Barnabas

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St. Barnabas Episcopal Church has called the first female rector in its 71-year history, the Reverend Karen Haig. A 30-year resident of Bainbridge Island, Karen, who is the 8th rector of St. Barnabas, presided at her first service at the church on Sunday, December 3.

Karen said, “I am deeply rooted in this place and love it with my whole heart. I am so grateful to have been called home, and look forward to exploring and expanding St. Barnabas’s special place in our community.”

According to Karen, one of her priorities at St. Barnabas will be “building relationships,” and she is planning to meet with every member of the parish through small dinners and personal outreach. “Living in a Christian community is all about relationships,” she says. “That means we listen, welcome, encourage, support, forgive, and offer ourselves in service. The church has sometimes been called an ark, helping us navigate the storms of the world, and there is certainly some truth in that.”

In addition to holding two services each Sunday, Karen has already scheduled a “Quiet Christmas” service, for anyone in the community who is sad, grieving, or in need of healing during the Christmas season. It will be held on Thursday, Dec. 21st at 7 pm at the church. All are welcome to attend.

Karen returns to Bainbridge Island after more than 7 years as Associate Rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Medina. She earned her Master of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) in 2010, and later that year became transitional deacon at St. Thomas. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Society and Justice from the University of Washington.

Prior to her ordination, Karen was a business management consultant to small businesses and non-profits. She also was co-founder, business manager, and director of a non-profit scientific institute engaged in climate change research.

An award-winning and published preacher, Karen received the 2016 Bishop’s Preaching Prize from the Diocese of Olympia as well as the Millard Preaching Prize for the CDSP class of 2010.

Karen is married to The Reverend Jim Friedrich, also an Episcopal priest. Her son, Simon, teaches history and social studies at Bainbridge High School.

Karen is looking forward to taking the helm at the 71-year old island parish. She said, “There is a lot of heart here at St. Barnabas and it certainly has a special place in the community. I’m looking forward to welcoming new friends, and knowing and serving with the St. Barnabas community.”