An influential Episcopal priest moves on

When the Rev. Angela Boatright took over as priest-in-charge at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Spring Valley back in 2002, one parishioner told the JN “I think she’ll wake up the church.”

How right she was.

Boatright came with an usual resume. She had worked as a journalist before becoming an Episcopal nun and later a priest. She was divorced with two kids.

tjndc5-5b4xguxiw68b71yx7p4_layout.jpgSt. Paul’s hadn’t had a priest-in-charge for six years. Boatright came in and shook things up, recognizing that Spring Valley was a rapidly changing community. She wanted her parish to serve the needy, in particular the growing numbers of day laborers who were gathering on street corners, looking for work.

St. Paul’s began to host the Jornaleros Project, which provides food and other aid to day laborers. Needless to say, it’s a controversial cause to take up these days.

Now Boatright is gone. As my colleague Suzan Clarke “reports today,”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070829/NEWS03/708290349/1019 Boatright has remarried and moved to Wadesboro, N.C.

The future of the Jornaleros Project is up in the air. As is St. Paul’s identity.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the parish. Will its priorities stay the same with new leadership?

As one volunteer at the Jornaleros Project said about Boatright, known by many as Mother Angela: “She was a powerful force. She saw the need and just jumped in and she got a lot of flak.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.