St. Thomas Episcopal Church announced this week that it has appointed its new rector.

St. Thomas will welcome the Rev. M. Jonah Kendall to the valley in Festival Meadows on Sun Valley Road on Sept. 20 during morning services, for Kendall’s first Sunday as rector.

Kendall will take over the position vacated by the Rev. Kenneth H. Brannon, who relocated in 2019 to serve a congregation in Dallas, Texas, after 12 years at St. Thomas. Since that time, interim priest the Rev. Rob Gieselmann has served in the position.

Kendall is from the New York City metropolitan area and received his B.A. from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and his Master of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary in New York City in 2001. Early in his career, Kendall served as a curate at the Church of the Holy Trinity in New York City and later as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Harrison, N.Y., for four years. For the past 12 years, Kendall has been rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Durham, N.C.

Kendall and his family will move to the Wood River Valley in August.

“His wife, Caty, is a studio artist and teacher with a master’s degree in the arts,” the church said in a statement. “She loves the outdoors and has been involved in leadership in several outdoor programs.”

The couple has two daughters, Beau, 6, and Scout, 12, and a chocolate Lab named Moose.

Kendall is no stranger to the Wood River Valley. He spent a summer in Sun Valley during his college years, working as a dishwasher and window washer while enjoying the outdoors. He is an avid runner, hiker, fisherman, skier, skateboarder and surfer.  

“Two years ago, Jonah returned to the valley with his family on vacation to share this beautiful place that he had fallen in love with years ago,” the announcement states. “He assures us that he is not afraid of sheep and looks forward to blessing them at the corner of Main Street and Sun Valley Road as they flock past him during the Trailing of the Sheep.”

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