Clergy Retirement

Clergy Retirement

Recently, the Rev. Mike Stephenson, Rector of St. Philip's in Ardmore, and the Rev. Shelby Scott, Rector of St. Patrick's in Broken Arrow, announced their retirement after many faithful years of ministry to the Diocese. Today, we share a small insight into their ministry and what the future holds through the transition process with Canon Betsy Randall. 

Fr. Scott began his ministry in the Diocese as the first college intern at Southwestern in Weatherford in the early 1980's. Ordained in 1990, Fr. Scott served in a very small 150-year-old mission in Northern Indiana, which grew to become a larger parish, then returned to Oklahoma to take over the newly formed and struggling mission of St. Patrick's.   

He shared a small glimpse into his 27 years of ministry at St. Patrick's, "I have had the good fortune of serving as their pastor as we grew from mission to parish status, bought land, built the initial structure, and completed four additional building expansions. Through it all, we have stayed away from being reactive to cultural issues of the day and remained focused on our Mission Statement." 

He shared a highlight of his time at St. Patrick's, "the highlight for me was when, as a mission, we traveled to Central America and completed a building project for another congregation before we built for ourselves. Being mission-minded was what enabled our growth here."  

He shared something he will miss, "The week-to-week encounters of the parish community as we gather to study, worship, and serve together are what I will miss the most. I have had the privilege of leading a Thursday morning Bible study nonstop for 27 years, and those relationships have been the most sustaining and formative during my priesthood."  "I am grateful that St. Patrick's will be capably led to call their next pastor under the superb leadership of Canon Betsy and Bishop Poulson, both of whom have been kind and lovingly supportive." 

In retirement, he plans to sail from Scotland to the Faroes Islands and then to Norway.

Fr. Stephenson arrived at St. Philip's as priest-in-charge in January 2017 and was installed as Rector in February 2020. Before his ministry at St. Philip's, he served as the Canon Missioner and our Diocesan stewardship guru for the Diocese of Oklahoma for many years. He also served as the Canon for Development in the Diocese of Chicago. 

Fr. Stephenson shared a few highlights of his ministry at St. Philip's, "my time in Ardmore has been a period of healing and transition for the congregation. Two things stand out: 1) Empowering lay leadership for ministry, and 2) creating transparency and accountability with the parish's finances. Canon Betsy and Canon Steve will, I believe, confirm that St. Philip's is now a healthy, dynamic parish." 

He also shared a few things he will miss, "I will miss the people and their loving support of me. Their commitment to the parish and ministering to the community has been a great source of joy. I will also miss our worship and the many moments of humor and laughter.

"Serving as chaplain at Oak Hall School, although a modest time commitment, has also brought great joy. I will miss the people there, especially the kids."

The Rev. Canon Betsy Randall, our Diocesan Canon to the Ordinary, shared some insight into the transition process with us, "In the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, transition ministry is in an exciting new season. This Diocese is an attractive place to serve because of our focus on congregational vitality, strong clergy collegiality, and a spirit of collaboration. 

"Our diocesan team will enthusiastically support Clergy who are serious about forming communities that encounter Jesus Christ through spiritual practices, continuous discernment, and relationships with their neighbors."


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