RITONIA ANN  Staff121

 

Our Rector 

 

The Reverend Ann Ritonia

 

The Rev. Ann Ritonia is from Boston, Massachusetts and has her BA in Music Education and performance in Euphonium from The New England Conservatory of Music. Ann also holds a MA in Gerontology from Webster University in St. Louis, MO. She served 17 years in the United States Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserves. She has sung with professional choirs in Oklahoma and Virginia, been a guest conductor for the Loudoun Symphony, taught junior and senior high school band and choral music in the Diocese of Oklahoma City schools and has been a Music Minister and teacher. Ann graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary with a M.Div., completed a year of Anglican Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary as well as two units of Clinical Pastoral Education most recently at the West Haven CT, Veterans Health Administration.  Ann is also a Lily Foundation Preaching Fellow 2016/2017.

 

Ann Loves all aspects of ministry especially worship, preaching, mentoring youth and young adults, teaching, pastoral care, collaboration and sharing ministry. She most recently comes from Church of the Good Shepherd in Orange, CT where she served as Rector for four years. She has also served as Assistant Rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester Virginia, Interim Assistant to the Rector for Youth and Family Ministries at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Reston. Ann has also served as Pastoral Associate for Music and Family ministries at Saint Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Leesburg and Pastoral Associate for pastoral care at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Sterling Virginia.

 

She has also done mission work in South Africa, Belize and the Dominican Republic and served as chairperson for the Liturgy and Music Commission for the Episcopal Church in CT and as Chairperson of the South Africa Partnership Commision for South Africa while serving in the Diocese of Virginia.   Ann is also active in Community affairs serving on the Poolsville Area Senior Commission, Montgomery County Ermergency Spiritual Care Givers Response team, is an active member of the Poolesville Interfaith clergygy fellowship, serves on the Episcopal Diocese of Washington COM  and previously served as Chaplain to the Orange, CT Volunteer Fire Association and as Chaplain to the Town of Orange Emergency Management Advisory Committee. Ann has been married to Mike for 30 years and they are the proud parents of four children, Elizabeth (28), Emily (26), John (25), Matthew (23) and their four  dogs: Memphis, Isabel and Lucy and Winnie. Both her daughters were married in 2015 and she welcomes Kip Payne and Gabe Ortiz to the family. Ann enjoys cooking for crowds, singing, reading, playing the Euphonium, swimming, kayaking, travel and spending time with her family. She is  discovering the joys of living in a rural community and is excited to see where and how God is leading St. Peter’s to participate in God’s mission of reconciliation and Unity.

 

 

Rev. Ann Ritonia in an Interview  for the EDOW Website July 2015


You are originally from Boston. How would you describe your journey from there to leading a congregation in the Diocese of Washington?

 It is been a circuitous journey to say the least, a puzzle of sorts with each experience filling in another aspect of my life in ministry. God has used all these experiences to bring me precisely to the place and people I am meant to serve. I began this journey many years ago growing up in the Boston area as a teenager and music minister in the Roman Catholic Church. After graduating from New England Conservatory of Music, I joined the U. S Marine Corps to pursue a career as a musician but more often than not found myself at base chapels helping plan and lead worship. In military chapels I was privileged to connect with folks from a variety of faith backgrounds with a common purpose to love and serve God through music and worship. During this time I developed leadership and organizational skills as well as interests beyond military music. I met my husband Mike and began discerning in earnest what God was up to in my life. This led to a number of moves, service in the Marine Corps Reserves, the birth of four children, graduate school, and seminary, five career relocations all the while attempting to be attentive and faithful to the still small voice of God in the midst of life. With various stops along the way from South Carolina to Virginia, Japan back to South Carolina, Minnesota, California, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia, Connecticut and finally to the Diocese of Washington, I have had the privilege of serving God and God’s people in ways unique to each setting, learning from my partners in ministry.

 

What did you see as unique or distinct about your new congregation that you felt called to serve there?

St. Peter’s is a historic Congregation dating back to 1792. While proud of the church’s heritage and traditions, the people of St. Peter’s are future oriented and seek meaningful ways to share God’s love in their care for one another, and engagement in the community and the wider world. The people of St. Peter’s are also spiritual seekers longing to connect their faith and experiences of the divine with their everyday lives. I also see in the people of St. Peter’s a willingness and openness to “try on” new ways of being church so that others not presently connected to St. Peter’s might experience the love of Christ through this unique and caring community . All of these qualities drew me to St. Peter’s and fill me with excitement for what God is up to in this small part of the kingdom.

 

What challenges do you see for the church today, and what experiences do you bring to meet these challenges?

Today, we live in one of the largest mission fields in the world. Our increasingly secular culture sees little need for the church and yet there is a deep yearning for connection, meaning and authentic relationship not only with one another but also with the divine.   The church, the Episcopal Church in particular is perfectly positioned to meet the longings of the culture provided we don’t make idols and museums of our churches, and traditions and instead engage and respond to the world and surrounding culture by building authentic relationships and providing a countercultural message of love and acceptance through Jesus.   There are not many places in our world where you can be accepted for who you are, forgiven and given a fresh start each week and nourished by the love of God and one another at a table open to all.

 

In what ways might you be leading or challenging your congregation to renew and sustain its mission and ministry?

It is not unusual during times of transition for parishes to focus inward and lose sight of how God is calling them heal brokenness in the world by sharing God’s love. I am challenging St. Peter’s to look at the assets we have and how they can be leveraged to heal the broken places in our community and the world. I am challenging St. Peter’s to “try on” for a season different initiatives and ways of being church, using our wonderful buildings as community space for Poolesville, creating “third places” for our youth as well as the community at large, that facilitate and foster broad, safe and more creative interactions that help build relationships and strengthen the people of Poolesville to be more generative as a reflection of Christ’s love.   In a culture of zero tolerance for failure, I am encouraging the congregation to pray and discern a God-sized vision for St. Peter’s, to have fun and not worry about failure. I am also challenging the community to look at everything we do by asking the question, “How does this serve the mission and ministry of the Church?”

 

What spiritual practices are important to you and how do these help you in your ministry?

My personal spiritual practices include intentional daily prayer and meditation, scripture study, retreat and reflection time as well as time for fun with my family to keep my ministry on track by giving my life balance. Regular spiritual direction and a colleague support group also help keep me on track by providing places for feedback as well as a different vantage point from which to view ministry challenges

 

You bring a wonderfully varied background to your ministry.   From music to gerontology to the military to overseas missions. How will you use these experiences at St. Peter’s?

Thirty-five years ago I would not have imagined I would be leading a 225 year old Episcopal Parish to reimagine and live into its mission of healing a broken world.  I imagine the founders of St. Peter’s never envisioned a euphonium playing, or Reverend Major Mom doing that either, and yet isn’t our God the one who calls the unlikely into service, not merely wishing them success but empowering them to accomplish precisely that to which they are called? It is my prayer I can use all my experiences and God-given gifts to be a part of what God is up to here in the Diocese of Washington.  In the meantime and with God’s help, I will walk alongside the good people of St. Peter’s Church as their priest and partner, with a song in my heart and on my lips, regularly reminding them to whom they belong. It is my hope in the years to come, I can guide St. Peter’s church to see what God sees, love what God loves, speak out against those forces that break God’s heart and encourage and empower this wonderful community of faith to “be the church” each and every day.


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