Saint Michael’s has new minister

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2013


Saint Michael’s Downtown has a new priest on a mission.

Gary Garner, who lives in Gulfport, Miss., has spent 36 year in the ministry.

Garner is an Anglican missionary priest, but said he plans to move Saint Michael’s forward as if he were the parish priest.

His current assignment has him in Andalusia for six months, but it’s possible he could be here longer.

Through his work as a missionary priest, he travels ministering to others.

“I travel and basically work with non-churched people,” he said.

One thing he desires to do as launch a 1-2-1 Connection here.

“I desire wholeness and I believe everyone desires to be whole,” he said. “My desire is to connect 1-2-1 with people like me. People who have dreams and hopes, doubts and fears.”

1-2-1 Connection is an organic approach to community, he said.

The 1-2-1 Connection is about real people sharing their pains and gains in life in real time community settings.

“I want to have support groups for men or women,” he said. “They would be centered around issues and encouraging to others.”

Being a minister is something Garner said he has felt called toward since a young age.

“When I was 8-9-10, I preached to dogs, cats, birds,” he recalled. “All my life I felt that calling.”

For a large portion of his ministerial work, he spent life as a bi-vocational minister.

For 20 years, he was a funeral director.

“Being bi-vocational gives me the opportunity to meet people where they are,” he said. “And callused hands are nice to shake.”

Garner said the church is currently holding a catechism class on Mondays at 12:30 p.m.

“I also want to do a dinner class on what is Anglicanism,” he said.

And when cooler weather comes along, he wants to have bands play on the lawn and have a cookout.

“During football season I hope to roll out the big screen TV after service and invite people to watch a game,” he said.

Services are held Sundays at 10:30 a.m.