Rev. Peter H. Rood

Rev. Peter H. Rood

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church gets a new rector-pastor

The Rev. Peter H. Rood, an Episcopal priest and spiritual teacher, is the new rector and pastor for St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Harbor.

His first Sunday leading the parish is April 7.

Rood and his wife, Christen Herman, are in the process of relocating from Southern California to Whidbey Island, where they have already purchased a home.

His appointment comes during the celebration of St. Stephen’s 65th anniversary as the Episcopal church serving North Whidbey Island.

For its entire history, the church has always been located at 555 S.E. Regatta Drive in Oak Harbor, on land shaded by several giant Garry Oak trees.

“We are delighted to welcome Peter and Christen to our renewed and growing St. Stephen’s family, and we are eager to have him as our pastor and teacher,” said Harry Anderson, the church’s senior warden.

“Peter’s more than two decades as a beloved priest as well as his far-reaching personal interests from gardening and yoga to bread-baking and jazz should make him an ideal and wonderful addition to our parish.”

Rood will succeed The Rev. Rilla Barrett, who is retiring on March 17. She served as priest-in-charge since September 2013, and her leadership was instrumental in helping St. Stephen’s heal, renew and grow after a split beginning in 2004 that saw some parishioners leave to form a breakaway church.

“I was drawn to St. Stephen’s because of its desire to be known as a radically welcoming, inclusive and accepting church on Whidbey Island,” said Rood. “I am inspired by its persistence and faithfulness during a period of division and struggle that has brought it to a new and promising time.”

For the past 17 years Rood, a native of Southern California, served as rector of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in the diverse Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles.

He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1995 after graduating from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

He and his wife have five grown children and three grandchildren.

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