In August 2020, Bethesda Church welcomes the Reverend Charles Wallace. Charles comes to Saratoga Springs after 17 years at Saint Thomas Choir School, New York. One of only three residential schools in the world exclusively for boy choristers, Saint Thomas originally appointed Charles as chaplain, but after a year asked him to become headmaster. In this role, as priest-educator, Charles served the choristers, the staff and their families both administratively and pastorally, responding to the complex concerns and needs of a boarding school where children and teachers live together in community.
Prior to moving to New York, Charles served as a member of the clergy of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in the United Kingdom. He oversaw the liturgical life of the chapel, working closely with clergy colleagues and the music department staff in the planning and preparation of worship, from the regular daily services to state occasions for the Royal Family. He also worked on the teaching staff of St. George’s School, teaching in the French and Religious Studies departments.
Charles studied History and French as an undergraduate at King’s College of Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, before entering Trinity College at the University of Toronto in 1995. While at Trinity, Charles was assigned to a five-month parish placement at the Church of Saint John the Divine, Victoria, British Columbia. At the end of his internship, he was invited to join the clergy staff there. As a busy center-city parish, St. John’s provided a solid and comprehensive grounding at the beginning of life as an ordained person. On any given day, there were interactions with the business community, the elderly and homebound, young families, and the university community. Because the parish included both extremely affluent and poor underserved neighborhoods, St. John’s provided a very active and intentional ministry to the city’s homeless population.
In 2017, Charles took a six-month sabbatical from the Choir School, through his association with the Anglican Diocese in Europe (a diocese within the Church of England), working with parishes in transition. At St. Andrew’s Church, Tangier, Morocco, Charles sought to build bridges between the Christian churches and other social service organizations working with sub-Saharan refugees as well as the Missionary Sisters of Charity working with orphaned girls. In Marseille, he assisted at a center sponsored by the Lutheran Church that offers academic support, counselling and assistance to recent immigrants to France from the Middle East.
Charles’ experiences at St. John’s Victoria, St. George’s Chapel Windsor, and St. Thomas Choir School have given him considerable insight into the importance of establishing meaningful links between churches and the communities that they serve, and the level of collaboration required for institutions to be successful. He hopes to establish a similar level of cooperation between Bethesda Church and the local organizations seeking to bring care and relief to those in need in Saratoga Springs. The parish’s commitment to building Mercy House is a significant step forward in making this important ministry a reality in the years ahead. We welcome Father Wallace!