Introducing our 31st Rector

A Letter from our Communications Team

We’re delighted to introduce you to our 31st Rector! Father Timothy Watt has accepted our call to serve as Rector of Trinity Church. We expect to welcome him and his wife Tanya around July 1st.

Father Tim had a wealth of work experience in academia, non-profits, and facilities development before heading to seminary and ordination. Since ordination, he has served at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown, and is currently Associate Rector at Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

His resume attracted our attention, but it is his love of ministry that cemented our call to him. He delights in being with people in pastoral care, incorporating others into our ministry, faith development, in the many aspects of liturgy, preaching, and teaching. His skill set also includes website development, on-line outreach, a popular podcast (The Irreverends – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts), capital project management, fund raising, facilities management… Skills that seem tailor-made for our congregation as we move forward with our capital campaign for Trinity Serves and adjust our ministry and worship to the emerging “new normal” in the world of social distancing.

He’s excited about Trinity Serves, the new building design, and loves that the project is focused on community needs as well as our internal desires.

Our Welcome Team will now swing into action to help Father Tim and Mother Tanya, who is also an Episcopal Priest, to settle here in the Ocean State and beautiful Newport. We may need to get creative about how we celebrate their arrival, but celebrate we will!

Terry Commodore
Communications Team

Introduction Video from Fr. Timothy Watt

A Letter from Fr. Timothy Watt

Dear People of Trinity Church Newport,

Greetings in the Risen Christ! I am very excited to join you as your 31st Rector on July 1! The days since I accepted the vestry’s call to be your rector have been joyous, yet busy. They coincided with Holy Week in a time of pandemic, when we have needed to reimagine how to be church during a time of quarantine. I am happy to now have the time and opportunity to write this letter to you, my new church family. Tanya, my wife, and I are very excited to be joining you soon!

As I read over your parish profiles many months ago, I recognized the many ways that my experience and gifts were closely aligned to the desired qualifications and hopes you expressed for your next rector. As one who loves to preach and teach, I saw that you are disciples of Christ. This is evident not only in your words but by your actions, and I grew excited to come and share the faith with you. I was particularly inspired by your capital campaign project to build a multi-use facility for the broader Newport community as well as the parish. My experience in facilities management and fundraising will be immediately put to good use when I arrive. As I looked more deeply, I recognized in you a community seeking relationship with one another as well as the world and began to feel a desire to join you in your ministry. After a few weeks of discernment, I finally asked Tanya to read over the profile and let me know what she thought. Her answer was an unequivocal: “You must apply for this. That’s you they’re looking for.” Over the last couple of months, Tanya and I have had the pleasure of meeting and growing into a relationship with members of Trinity’s search committee and vestry. With each subsequent meeting, the Holy Spirit has spoken ever more clearly that Trinity is the church family to which God is calling me.

I write to you while we are undergoing an unprecedented moment in the world, nation, Church, and the parish. A transition during a time of pandemic is not what any of us expected for our new beginning together. The future may look uncertain. But let us be not afraid. We now walk together, faithful in our witness to Jesus Christ, who is always the same and always faithful. Queen Anne’s motto on the royal arms now hanging in Honyman Hall proclaims the truth of Christ: Semper Eadem, “Always the Same.” Christ came as one who serves, and He is always asking us to do as He does. What I heard during each of my conversations with the search committee and vestry is that this is a Parish that serves. Service is the “Semper Eadem” of Trinity’s identity. The pandemic will pass, but our service together will remain and will grow.

Trinity has been instrumental in growing the Church in New England through missionary service, through serving those in need, and through educating the community. These goals have remained constant, always the same, but the ways in which you have pursued them has changed over time. As your rector I look forward to working with you in building a new facility to serve our community as well as maintaining the beautiful heritage of our colonial church. Matthew 13:52 reminds us that we who study the scriptures are called to be stewards who bring forth the old and the new from God’s storeroom. I look forward to working with you as we build on a spiritual structure so well rooted in over 300 years of tradition. Together we will be a community of faith that gathers around dining tables, the altar, and on-line in order to support one another in our walk in Christ; preparing us for our work in the Kingdom of God, preparing us to serve evermore faithfully.

The motto of our current capital campaign can easily be applied to the historical and present mission of this parish: Trinity Serves. Always the Same, Historic, and Present: Trinity Serves. I now look forward to joining you as your pastor and as one who teaches and serves alongside you.

Through my research and reading, particularly Dr. Hattendorf’s excellent volume, Semper Eadem, I have become acquainted with the legendary preachers whose footsteps I follow up the ten steps into Trinity’s pulpit. Even as I look back at the parish history, I look forward to our future together, joining in Trinity’s many important ministries with you. It is with humility that I accept this call to serve among you as your rector, pastor, preacher, and fellow disciple. Although I am not yet with you, please know that you are now with me in my thoughts and prayers. I very much look forward to writing the next chapter of our parish’s storied history with you, always the same, in service to God and to one another.



Q&A The Vestry with Fr. Tim – Part 1 & 2

Trinity Parish Completes Self Study

All Episcopal Parishes go through a self study when they are in the process of defining what they seek in a new rector. As part of our new rector search, we have answered 12 introspective questions about who we are and where we want to go next. These will help to set the tone for what we are looking for in new leadership. We welcome prospective candidates to read through our 12 questions and answers to see if we might be a good fit. These questions are now also available through the The Episcopal Diocese office.

To read our parish profile, click here for the 12 questions and answers.

Bishop Jelinek Arrival – Press Release





Newport, RI, August 2, 2019 – Trinity Church today announced the arrival of The Right Reverend James Jelinek as its Interim Rector.

Bishop Jelinek will guide the parish during the transition until its 31st rector is called, a process anticipated to take about 10 months. Trinity Church is an icon of American tolerance and religious freedom, having literally stood the test of time since its founding in 1698. Beyond its historical and architectural significance, however, beats the young heart of a growing and extraordinary parish eager to carry on the mission of the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Jelinek served for 17 years as Bishop in the Diocese of Minnesota from 1993 to 2010. Prior to that, he served as Rector at St. Aidan’s Church in San Francisco, California, and St. Michael and All Angels in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently he served as the Interim Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Washington D.C. A Wisconsin native, Jelinek is a graduate of Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and The General Theological Seminary in New York City.

Bishop Jelinek’s prior experience as a bishop and his reputation of energy and commitment to excellence are truly blessings for Trinity Church, said Tatiana Schweibenz, Senior Warden. “Bishop Jelinek’s arrival represents a turning point as well as a real opportunity to strengthen our community of faith and recommit ourselves to Trinity’s future success. We are very excited to have him join us as Interim Rector.”

Working with the parish, Bishop Jelinek will assist the congregation to determine what is important to the parish, and guide them through the core questions that will need to be answered during their search to call the next rector. His first sermon will be delivered this Sunday August 4, 2019. All are welcome!

Greetings from our Interim Rector

Hello to my new friends and family at Trinity Church, Newport.


A few weeks ago I visited Trinity Parish, your hospital (where I met your fine assistant priest, Fr. Neale), some of your homes and a few restaurants. The warmth of your welcome was delightful and several of our conversations had real depth and breadth. I am pleased to have met so many of your Vestry members and the team that works as the staff of the parish, and I look forward to many experiences of shared ministry with them and with you. One of your docents-not a member of the parish, but certainly a part of your common history in this place over more than four centuries-shared more than I could take in during that visit. I was much amused in noticing your “pew boxes” have the look of studied symmetry and subdued, almost monochromatic color when one looks at them from the entrance to the nave. Yet each of them with their sometimes elegant, sometimes playful upholstery, carries an individuality that reflects our national motto, unum ex pluribus, “one out of many.” We, as followers of Jesus Christ, know what it is to stand always for the greater good, through our “common prayer,” and always seeking to love and serve every individual.


The Episcopal Church in Minnesota celebrated its 150th anniversary while I served as Bishop, as did St. John’s University (Benedictine) in Collegeville. I learned much from those Benedictines, including their habit of thinking in terms of a century and a half at all times, so they are aware that everything they do builds on the past and shapes the future. The university and the Diocese of Minnesota have each engaged their second hundred and fifty years, while Trinity (begun in 1698) is well into its third such period. Incredible!


I grew up in the Lutheran Church, not one of the more biblically literal varieties, but with enough emphasis on sin that my teenage view of God was the “celestial sniper” who would get you for something!


When I first came to The Episcopal Church in college and prayed with others to God “whose property is always to have mercy” [BCP, Prayer of Humble Access], I was in awe that these people really believed that phrase most fully described the heart of God. I came to believe that, too. And when I studied and prayed at General Theological Seminary, the experience was life-changing particularly in the way I came to see all people as beloved by God. I hope I treat people that way.


Surely you expected me to talk about myself in this initial conversation, but to talk about me is to talk about what I believe, what I stand for and what I have given and will give my life for: the gospel of love and peace and justice and everlasting hope, built on the overwhelming mercy of God to any and each of us who fails, who falls down, who makes costly and harmful mistakes in our relationships with others and with ourselves. Resurrection life is life that is beginning again and again.


More personally, I am 77 years old, divorced twice, have one adopted son, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, all of whom live in California and whom I do not see often enough.   I have a seven year old standard poodle who is my constant companion and who was content to sit with me in my office during pastoral visits or meetings. His name is Ezekiel (EZ). He is well-behaved and you will get to meet him. Due to some limitations from arthritis in my feet, I no longer bicycle or take long walks, but I am able to climb the ten steps into Trinity’s pulpit. In spite of two cancer scares within the past four years and many tests, I am grateful for God’s healing power and the energy to undertake another interim in a congregation as promising and exciting as Trinity.


With regard to transition: when congregations in transition in my diocese expressed their anxiety about what might happen to them in the future, I used to ask them, “Do you believe God has walked with you in the past and through the wilderness until this day? And if you do, why can you not trust God to be walking with you in every step you(we) take into the future?” That is the journey we are to embark on right now.


It was in those journeys that the congregations and the people who were part of them discovered who they were and what they were capable of.   For them it was really a journey into God. Our Presiding Bishop, ++Michael Curry calls us the Jesus Movement; what a gift of insight and hope for The Episcopal Church. How are we at Trinity invited and empowered to be a vital part of the Jesus Movement? We shall discover that together.


God’s every blessing to all of you,


Jim Jelinek

The Rt. Rev. James L. Jelinek,

8th Bishop of Minnesota, Res.

Vestry Announcement of Interim Rector

I am pleased to announce that Trinity Church will be joined in August 2019 by our Interim Rector, The Right Reverend James Louis Jelinek. Bishop Jelinek’s first Sunday with us will be on August 4, 2109 and we are looking forward with great anticipation to the blessed opportunity to meet and know Bishop Jelinek.


Bishop Jelinek’s unique gifts and vast experience as the Bishop of Minnesota, and most recently the Interim Rector at St. Paul’s, K Street, Washington, D.C., make him the ideal priest to lead our congregation through our transition. He is committed to help us create intentional space for purposeful, active listening about hopes and dreams and more specifically to listen for where we are called next to serve the Lord.


Our Vestry was highly impressed with Bishop Jelinek during his brief visit to Trinity on June 19,2019. During his short visit to Newport, Bishop Jelinek also had the opportunity to meet with Rev. Alan Neale, Rev. Stephanie Shoemaker, Trinity’s staff, and certain parish members. The collective impression from everyone is that Bishop Jelinek is a warm, engaging individual, who is full of energy. He understands the challenges Trinity Church faced in the past and is eager to guide us through the healing process.


We look forward to welcoming Bishop Jelinek and EZ (his full-size poodle and trusted companion) with open arms to the Trinity Church community.


I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Tatiana Schweibenz, Senior Warden

Transition Teams Have Been Appointed

2019 Transition Team Members

Discernment Team

John Smith

Norris Commodore

Chrissy Pimentel

Polly Meadows

Kim Ficaro

Dennis Kretzchmar

Joanna Davis

Heather dePinho


Portfolio Team

Jeff Gordon

Anne Glenn

Bob Smith

John Ficaro

Anne Livingston

John Gilmartin

Communications Team

Terry Commodore

Stanley (Stan)Brown

Debbie Bartlett

Anne Livingston

Bob Smith

Jefferey Clark

Prayer Team

Joan Bartram

Wendy Durudogan

Anna Friend

Bob and Miriam Smith

Jane Burrows

Betty Chambers

Ginny Beltz

Bev Loebecker

Anita Beaumont

Phoebe Livingston-Lopes

Website Team

Jan Gordon

D’Arcy Carr

Amy Wintersteen

Welcome Team

Kim Doherty

Susan Millis

Peter Chabot

Anne Oliver

Deb Lengyel

Susan Benard

Harle Tinney

Understanding the Transition Process in the Episcopal Church

On Sunday, May 5th the Rev. Canon Linda Grenz, Canon to the Ordinary (the senior staff member in Bishop Knisely’s office) will be presiding & preaching at both the 8am and 10am services and will explain the transition process at a forum hour following the 10 o’clock service.

If you would like a preview of what Canon Grenz is going to talk about, a handout with a brief explanation of the transition process is available in the Hawes room during coffee hour or you can click below view it online.

As a reminder, members of the vestry are listed on the last page of the service leaflet, and we are always available to listen to ideas, questions or concerns.


Tatiana Schweibenz

Senior Warden


Gift Purse Collection

April 11, 2019


Dear Friends,

In the upcoming weeks we will be coming together to bid farewell to Rev. Anne Marie. It is an Episcopal Church tradition to present an outgoing rector with a financial gift called a “purse”.

The “purse” is a donation that honors the many years of service Rev. Anne Marie has given Trinity during Sunday services, baptisms, weddings, and overall support within our church community. Rev. Anne Marie has watched over our beautiful campus for approximately 9 years, for which we are eternally grateful.

If you would like to participate please make your gift payable to:

Trinity Church, Newport

Please write “Purse” in the memo line and forward your check to:

Brian O’Malley
One Queen Anne Square,
Newport, Rhode Island 02840

You can also send your donation online by clicking here using the ‘General Operating’ fund, and write “Purse” in the comment line.


With gratitude,

Tatiana Schweibenz
Senior Warden


Please Note: Purse donations are not exempt from federal income taxation since the contributions are going directly to the Rector.