The Rev. Thomas Erskine Haynes, the pastor at St. Elizabeth’s in Culver, was ordained an Episcopal priest in a service at the Academies Memorial Chapel January 14. Attending were 170 people and 20 of those were clergy. Many of those attending were from regional churches, and different faith traditions were represented.
The ordaining bishop was the Rt. Rev. Edward S. Little II, who is the Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. The Rt. Rev. James Mathes delivered the sermon. He is the Bishop of San Diego. Music was provided by John Gouwens, Academies Organist and the student choir, directed by Stacey Warren. Mary Pat Glaub, the Vocal Director of Plymouth Community Schools was the cantor.
Asked how he decided he was called to the priesthood, Haynes talked about the spiritual journey. He initially began the process to be ordained in the 1970’s but decided he was not ready. He came from a family of clergy on both sides, and his great-uncle, Robert Erskine Campbell, was an Episcopal monk (Order of the Holy Cross) who was consecrated Missionary Bishop of Liberia where he served in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Haynes was a teacher, but he was active in school ministry and served as Chapel Coordinator at the Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN. After coming to the Culver Academies in 2000, he worked with Religious Life under Chaplain Thomas Steffen and taught math. He was named Interim Director of Religious Programs in 2007 and helped coordinate the search which hired the Rev. Johanna McCune Wagner as Chaplain in 2008. Haynes has served as Chaplain Wagner’s Assistant Director since 2009 in addition to his teaching responsibilities.
Asked what his plans are, Haynes said that he is ready to take on new roles at the Academies and St. Elizabeth’s. He will continue to study and work to become a better teacher and priest. He is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at Virginia Theological Seminary in Educational Leadership.