Christ Church, Eureka, Welcomes New Rector

Christ Church, Eureka, Welcomes New Rector

Photograph posted by Christina Strevey


By Lori Korleski Richardson, Interim Communications Director

The Rev. Dr. Daniel DeForest London is steeped in Christian spirituality, having recently completed his thesis on the spiritual response to suffering in the Gospel of John.

And the new rector of Christ Church, Eureka, was surprised and pleased that there were several small groups in the church that were devoted to spiritual disciplines. He will not be traveling the path alone.

"Prayer, the emphasis on outreach, especially the Betty Chinn Center, and the tight interfaith fellowship group in Eureka, all of these encouraged me to apply for this position," he said.

Father Daniel, who spoke by phone from his rectory library in the former Transfiguration House, where several Episcopal nuns had lived for more than 25 years, said he loves the spirit he feels in both his new home and Christ Church.

"Christ Church is one of the most beautiful churches, if not the most beautiful church, in Humboldt County. It makes it easier to worship in such a beautiful sacred space," as long as that appreciation doesn't turn into idolatry of the space, he said.

Christ Church knew it was in for something extraordinary when Father Daniel drove into town on a rainy January night earlier this year. Even before he had a chance to celebrate his first Eucharist, he was at the bedside of a beloved former rector, Doug Thompson, who passed from this world into the next on Jan. 27.

During Lent, he adapted his recent doctoral work from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley for a Soup Supper class at Christ Church, and it was well-received. "Teaching a class isn't the same as writing a chapter," he mused - something that was brought home as he worked to complete a book based on his thesis for Fortress Press, which set a pre-Easter deadline for the manuscript.

Another issue he tackled during Lent was gun violence. He said he approached the subject cautiously in preaching about it "just a little bit" on the first Sunday in Lent. "I knew it was going to be a hot-button issue; it's obviously a very polarizing issue." Afterward, one of his more conservative vestry members came up to him and said she had read Bishop Barry's letter on gun violence and "I want to do something about this." He invited her and another church leader to lead an open forum after church about "how we as individuals and a community and church respond to the problem of gun violence." The forum was a hit: people got to tell their stories and brainstorm about what actions could be taken, and the leaders of it plan to write an article about it for the Eureka Times-Standard. "There's something really exciting about an NRA member in the parish leading this conversation, among people who aren't all on the same page, and coming to agreement that, yes, we have to take action."

Father Daniel, who graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and was ordained in 2014 in the Diocese of Los Angeles, was on the staff at St. Paul's in San Rafael, interned at St. Clement's in Berkeley and St. Alban's in Albany, and taught classes both at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific and the School for Deacons in Berkeley. He is a native of Los Altos.

He and his wife, Ashley Bacchi, a noted scholar on Hellenistic Judaism, met while they both were pursuing and completing their doctorates. They were married at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in May 2016.

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