September 11, 2016

Rev. Jonathan Frazier: New Minister at St. Peter’s and All Saints Church

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Reverend Jonathan Frazier: New Pastor at St. Peter’s and All Saints Church

By Brad Lucht

“We’re here for you.”

That is the message Reverend Jonathan Frazier, the new rector at St. Peter and All Saints, would like to share with the community.

When the 300-member congregation made the decision to hire him, they had one request:  “Help us accomplish our goals.  Be the hands and feet of Christ to a world in need.”

Frazier began his new job June 1 and immediately got to work.

One of his first projects was a food drive for the Red Bridge Food Bank.  Partnering with the First Baptist Church and the Red Bridge Church of Christ, congregants distributed paper bags to porches throughout their neighborhoods.  Together they collected enough bags to fill the pantry, then celebrated their success with a joint picnic.  “By coming together for outreach, we can realize a significant impact,” said Frazier.

Frazier is also helping to organize a poverty summit to be held later this fall, sponsored by Episcopal Community Services.  Numerous other churches in south KC are coming together to work on this project.  “We will be the vessel; the poverty summit will discover the need.”

Frazier was born in St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City.  His mother drove down from St. Joseph so that she could have him delivered at that hospital.  They returned to St. Joseph two days later and that is where he spent his childhood.

His dad was a farmer along the Missouri river bottom.  He loved to explore, getting together with the other kids to roam the woods and river.  Growing up in the 60’s he wanted to be an astronaut, continuing the theme of exploration.

It was around this time that he also because interested in the clergy.

“I was 8 or 9 years old, attending a Presbyterian church.  My mother was in the choir, and she would have me sit in the front row where she hoped I would stay out of trouble. “

One Sunday he was asked to participate in the service.

“They gave me a tray to hold with a chalice in the middle.  The minister began to pour the water into the cup, but he didn’t stop.  He kept pouring!  All I could think is that I was going to be in BIG TROUBLE with my mom.  I didn’t realize it, but he was teaching a lesson about how our cup runneth over.”

The minister had caught his attention.  He became interested in what they were doing, their presence.

By the time he reached middle school he realized he didn’t have “the right stuff” to become an astronaut, but because of his love of physics he decided to become a scientist.

He switched to chemistry in high school, when he was selected to participate in Missouri Western’s summer program, working as a lab researcher.  Unfortunately his science career hit one final roadblock; he just couldn’t handle the math.

Frazier attended Bishop LeBlond High School, where he fell in love with mass, and ended up attending Rockhurst University, double majoring in Poly Sci/English Literature.

After college he entered the business world.  While visiting a friend in New York, they attended an Episcopal service.  “That shoe fit me,” said Frazier.  His friend’s brother lent him his prayer book.  The brother later became an actor, playing Mayhem in All-State commercials.  “I have Mayhem’s prayer book,” chuckled Frazier.

Upon his return to Kansas City he began attending St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Wornall.  He became convinced he wanted to become a minister.  Their response: “We need to get you confirmed first!”

In 2004 Frazier left his job at State Street where he worked in data forensics and data security.  “It was the best job I ever had up to that point,” he reminisced.

In one week he married a widow, adopted her two children and headed off to Sewanee, Tennessee to attend The School of Theology at The University of the South.  Three years later he was ordained with a Master of Divinity.  Frazier then spent 12 years as the assistant rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield.

His search for a leadership role has led him back to Kansas City and St. Peter and All Saints.

One thing Frazier learned upon his arrival is that the church has a lot of land available.

A thriving community garden has attracted so many members that a waiting list has been formed for plots for next year.  Because of the demand, the garden is set to expand.   Gardeners of all ages are welcome.  “We’d like to get the kids producing the food themselves.”

Frazier shared a story from the garden.  “Earlier this summer a thief was caught stealing food from the garden.  Instead of prosecuting, a garden volunteer turned the other cheek.  “She offered him a plot to grow his own food.”

The church is also working with Giving Grove, a non-profit arm of the Kansas City Community Gardens.  They help plant fruit trees on unused land; the fruit can then be harvested by the community or gleaned for food pantries.  “We need two stewards to help care for the trees.  It would only take an hour of your time a week.  It could be someone from the community,” encouraged Frazier.

Frazier is also interested in starting a beehive.

“They would be happy bees; our neighbors have plenty of flowers,” said Frazier.  “We would donate the honey to the food pantry.”  The church needs someone with bee keeping experience to help them get started.  Community outreach funds are available, but Frazier is also interested in any grants that may assist in this effort.

“We want to reach out to people in need,” Frazier emphasized.  “Our focus is on the neighborhood.”

St. Peter and All Saints is located at 100 E. Red Bridge Road.  To reserve a meeting room, volunteer as a steward for the Giving Grove, reserve a space in their community garden or provide guidance on starting a beehive, call 816.942.1066 or email Reverend Frazier at rector@stpaas.org.

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