Grace Episcopal Church was pleased to announce in December 2013 its call to a new rector, The Reverend Stuart Craig Higginbotham. Stuart was joined by The Reverend Dr. Cynthia Park in October 2014. We are also blessed at Grace to have The Reverend Michael McCann as our Priest Associate. Learn more about our clergy below.
The Rev. Stuart Higginbotham, Rector
Fr. Stuart, the Rector of Grace Church, has oversight of the entirety of the mission and ministry of the parish, working with vestry and staff colleagues in discernment, vision, and planning. He loves to draw on the insights of the entire team, wondering together what God is inviting us to explore in the community! Within the broader ministry team, Fr. Stuart focuses on spiritual formation and prayer, membership and newcomers, and the worship and liturgical life of the community. He also explores the entire ministry of the parish through the framework of the Mindful Church Initiative, a discernment and planning focus at Grace grounded in contemplation, discernment, prayer, and community development within a corporate/program-sized parish.
Fr. Stuart received his Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, and the Diploma in Anglican Studies from the School of Theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. He is currently studying in the Doctor of Ministry program at Sewanee where he is focusing on spiritual theology and curriculum development. Prior to being ordained as an Episcopal priest, Fr. Stuart served for two years as a hospice chaplain. He is widely sought out as a retreat leader and teacher, focusing on contemplative prayer, community discernment, and spiritual leadership.
Prior to coming to Grace, Fr. Stuart was Senior Associate at St. Benedict’s Church in Smyrna, Georgia. For over five years, Fr. Stuart helped develop the initial ministries of this new church development within the Diocese of Atlanta, working with staff, lay leadership, and diocesan leadership to establish and nurture the rapidly growing community after its founding in 2007.
His wife, Lisa, is an elementary school teacher. Both Stuart and Lisa grew up in southeast Arkansas deep in cotton country, just over the bridge from Greenville, MS, spending their days with large families, stories, and way too much sweet tea! They met while studying at Lyon College, where for a brief stint Lisa was Stuart's boss. (Shh…She still is…) They have one daughter, Evelyn Clare, who loves to read, draw and explore nature. Together, they love to cook, read, and spend time with family and friends.
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Park, Associate Rector
Cynthia initially discerned a call to the diaconate while working as a counselor in private practice, developing educational programs in ethics for middle school age children and therapeutic writing programs for female inmates. She attended Virginia Theological Seminary, and was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Virginia. After seminary, Cynthia pursued further studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and graduated with a PhD from the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, with an emphasis in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Cynthia remains engaged in research and writing, and is a frequent speaker around the diocese and the country, serving on the Board of Directors for the International Network of Biblical Storytellers, facilitating conferences on mental health issues, and collaborating on projects for the Bible and Ancient Media section of the Society of Biblical Literature. She has a long history of social work, pastoral ministry, and a deep love for teaching. As Associate Rector for Ministries of Compassion, Cynthia’s ministry focuses on Outreach and Pastoral Care, working on development and formation within these crucial aspects of the parish’s mission and ministry. Cynthia is at the parish full time, working with the broader team to discern, plan and embody our participation with God’s mission at Grace.
Dr. Park is a native Texan and her husband a native Virginian. They met and married in Alabama, where Jack was an assistant attorney general. They relocated to the Atlanta area in 2012, after spending time in northern Virginia while Cynthia attended seminary and Jack worked for the Office of the Inspector General and was a Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. The Parks have four grown children and six grandchildren.
The Rev. Michael McCann, Priest Associate
Born in Missouri, Michael grew up in New Jersey and attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and received his BA in History in 1968. He received his Masters of Divinity in New Testament and Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1971. He then was ordained in the Diocese of Massachusetts and began his Episcopal ministry at St. Chrysostom’s in Wollaston, Massachusetts. In 1974 he became Rector of Trinity Church in Hampton, NH. In 1980 he came to Grace Church as Assistant Rector.
In 1987 Michael left Grace and began full time teaching at Lakeview Academy where he is now chair of the social studies department and sponsor of the Honor Council. As Priest Associate at Grace, Michael assists with preaching, worship and teaching as he is able, given his full-time job teaching at Lakeview. Michael has served at Grace for many years in this assisting role, and he has been an invaluable presence in the community.
He is married to Candy E. McCann, a physical therapist for the Hall County Schools and a certified Music Practitioner harpist working with Hospice, and a member of Daughters of the King and the Meals Committee. Their children are scattered about the country, Chris married and writing in Seattle, Sarah a poet and teaching and holding the chair of creative writing at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, Dan married and editing films in San Francisco, and Amy a photographer and graphic designer in Baltimore.