The Reverend Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy
The Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy grew up in White Plains, and moved to Manhattan to attend Barnard College and then Fordham Law School. While practicing law in Manhattan, she began taking sacred dance classes at Trinity Wall Street. She attended a service at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery one snowy Sunday and has been in the Episcopal Church every since.
In 1991, she graduated from Harvard Divinity School, where she focused on Judaism. She has been dancing all her life, and her Masters Thesis was a participatory sacred dance program. (She looks forward to taking tap dance classes in the Village.)
Pastor Gwyneth moved to Salt Lake City, where she was ordained in 1995. In the Diocese of Utah she served in parish, campus, and youth ministry and was a hospital chaplain. She was the first to teach Feminist Theology (at a college and at university) in Utah. She began a ministry of retreats and spiritual direction. She moved to the Bay Area to serve at Grace Cathedral, and then a parish in Oakland. Her focus at both was spirituality and adult formation. She returned to Salt Lake City where she served in a variety of Diocesan ministries including retreats, adult formation, parish and youth ministry. She received a Certificate in Spiritual Direction and served as a Hospice Chaplain.
In 2007 she began serving as Vicar at St. Andrew’s New Paltz and also founded the Episcopal Chaplaincy at SUNY New Paltz. She developed a strong relationship with the Brothers of the Order of Holy Cross, and offers retreats at Holy Cross Monastery. In 2013 she began doing Interim ministry. She is delighted to have been called to St. John’s, who was an Indaba partner with St. Gregory’s in Woodstock while she was Interim there.
Celtic spirituality, creation (eco) theology, feminist theory and sacred dance are integral to her theology. She attends classes with (Marist) Brother Don Bisson, a contemporary spiritual leader who discisses the Gospel as a radical invitation to a grounded, conscious and joyous life, which leads to social change and justice. She likes to facilitate Bible Study where “we all draw on our reason and experience as we wrestle with the meaning of a passage in our individual and communal lives.” Her spiritual practice includes Centering Prayer Meditation, Celtic Morning and Evening Prayer, dance, and being outside whenever possible. She looks forward to sharing these with St. John’s, as well as joining in the established programs and weekly prayer services.