Church of the Epiphany

The Venerable Canon Frederick W. Rivers, Rector
8433 N 12th Street Phoenix, AZ 85020

Father Stewart

The Rev. Charles William ‘Bill’ Stewart was born on December 9, 1956 on the Marine Corps Base at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Before he was six, his father was transferred to Quantico, near Falls Church,VA ,which is where his first memories of church were formed. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church by Fr. Loweth and trained as an acolyte there as well. He attended elementary school in Virginia, until his father was transferred to Viet Nam. The family then moved to Sparks, Nevada. Upon his father’s return they moved to the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, NC. During his sophomore year of high school the family, his father still on active duty, moved to Phoenix, AZ, where he completed high school in anticipation of his father’s approaching retirement.

Before his father retired, Bill enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve his country and to follow his call to seek ordination in the Episcopal Church and serve in a small parish one day. After basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and occupational training at Camp Pendleton, CA, he was stationed at Camp LeJeune, NC where he trained acolytes in the local parish until he was transferred to Japan. At the age of 18, he received his first license to be a lay reader and to administer the chalice from Bishop Nakamura. While serving in Japan, he served his church as lay reader, Sunday school teacher, senior acolyte and acolyte master and choir member.

From Japan, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station at New River, NC where he worked as operations chief for a Marine Corps helicopter squadron. While there, he received his first Squadron “Lay Leader” license from the base chaplain. Meanwhile he actively served in the local Episcopal Church, in the same capacity as in Japan. His next transfer brought him back to Phoenix, AZ as a Marine Corps Recruiter for four years where he was meritoriously promoted.

After a successful tour as a recruiter, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station at Tustin, CA, for a one year hitch before being sent back to Japan. In Japan, Bishop Nakamura again licensed him as a lay reader and to administer the chalice. He also taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, and trained the acolytes. His military duties included being a crew chief on a Beechcraft King Air and travelled to exotic locations including Korea, Philippines, China, Saipan, Tinian, Wake Island, Guam, Yap, Alaska and Hawaii.
The Marine Corps then sent him to the Naval Air Station at Belle Chase, outside New Orleans, LA. While there, he became a member of the Inspector General’s Inspection team. As a member of St Paul’s Episcopal Church he was asked to serve on the vestry as Junior Warden. There he organized many successful work days. Again, he was licensed as lay reader and to administer the chalice. In pursuit of his calling he attended the first three years of a four year course of study from the Seminary of the South School of Theology. In December of 1990, his squadron was called to combat duty for Operation Desert Storm. On return from Desert Storm, he was transferred to the Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, AZ. Attached to the Wake Island Avengers (the harrier squadron VMA-211) he had the opportunity to revisit Japan a few more times. His last year and a half he was the Tactical Aircraft Mission Planning Instructor at MAWTS-1 (Marine Corps equivalent to the Navy “Top Gun” training squadron).

While at the Yuma Marine air base, Bill Stewart served on the vestry of the local Episcopal Church and was active in other related duties. At the request of the vestry and clergy
he applied for the diaconate but changed his career direction and began working on his college degree with Southern Illinois University.

On retiring from the Marine Corps, he switched from church to church, even trying several other denominations while looking for a new church home. Still he wanted to remain faithful to the church of his upbringing. During this unsettled time, he completed the fourth and final year of the Education for Ministry program, and became a licensed mentor for the Seminary of the South’s program.
During this time searching for a church home he tried retail work and being a deputy sheriff, finally finding happiness in his secular life as a middle school teacher working with students and caring parents. He filled his free time teaching parents English two nights a week, working with a community service, and keeping a square mile of Phoenix free of graffiti.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Bill’s father pursued his own vocation and was ordained priest in the Anglican Church in America; later being elected the fourth bishop of the Diocese of the West.
True satisfaction was found, by Bill, in the Anglican Church in America. After joining St Alban’s in Peoria, AZ., with the support of the vestry and Father John Bourcet, he entered into the study program for Holy Orders. Unfortunately, the majority of St Alban’s vestry were congregationalists and the church turned away from the ACA. At the suggestion of his bishop , he transferred to the Church of the Epiphany, where he found a deeper meaning in a family congregation true to his heart and beliefs. Bill was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons on August 23, 2008 and was ordained Priest on February 12, 2011 by the Ordinary of the Diocese of the West, The Rt. Rev. Daren K. Williams in the Church of the Epiphany, Phoenix Arizona.

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