St. James Episcopal Church Welcomes New Rector

The historic church held a nationwide search for a new minister.


The historic St. James Episcopal Church in the Collegeville section of Lower Providence welcomed its new leader, Revered William M. Sowards of Tallahassee, Fla., who preached his first sermon last weekend.

“St. James’ concentration on outreach, laity involvement and commitment to Christian formation mirror my own ministry focus,” said Sowards, who is known in the church as Father Mike.  He described his preaching and leadership style with the theme, ‘God has set something on my heart and here’s what it is!’

Before coming to St. James, Sowards simultaneously served as the Episcopal chaplain to the students of Florida State University and as the Priest-in-Charge at St. Paul’s, Quincy, Fla.

Sowards also coordinated five mission trips and two pilgrimages with college students, served on the board of the Diocese of Florida’s Center for Christian Living, as chaplain for Wounded Warrior retreats, and as a chaplain at summer camps and retreats for young people in the Diocese of Florida.

Prior to his ordination, Sowards served in the navy for 15 years, and was the Director of the Military Education Institute at Florida Community College (now Florida State College).


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