The Church and Proximity

Leadership in, with, and under Both Community and Person

Father Joseph G. Kovitch had just been appointed the priest for St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Westerville, Ohio, when the parish came face to face with the financial realities of a dwindling congregation. A “For Sale” sign went up in St. Matthew’s front yard and Father Joe and the parishioners began to completely re-envision themselves in the community. The church shed its identity of brick, mortar, financial security and want, as well as any fear of losing traditions and control, and began to find freedom and renewed purpose.

The Church and Proximity is the story of how it happened and what it meant to the St. Matthew’s community.

About the Lead Author

Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Kovitch
Rev. Dr. Joseph G. Kovitch
Father Joseph G. Kovitch is pastor of St. Matthews Episcopal Community in Westerville, Ohio. In his words: I love the collaboration of reimagining new ways of being Church in the world! I have been ordained for 25 years and have served in many ministry and mission environments, both ecumenically and interfaith. I have served in team ministry in a large traditional parish, led a redevelopment merger of three congregations into a new mission, served as a rector of a large traditional congregation and as a consultant priest to three congregations in transition, and worked in a university setting both as teacher and spiritual leader. I now serve a congregation as a reimagining missional priest that gathers on Sundays in an Irish pub and owns a community house next door. My DMin degree was in Mission Making and congregational leadership. All this being said, my goal is to offer whatever experience I have gained (and continue to serve into) as a coach for both individuals and teams that desire to reimagine the best of our Episcopal identity into new and sustainable community partnerships. As a practitioner of mission, I also offer resources to the communities that I serve as well. Blessings on your journey. For more on Father Joe and his work, visit the St. Matthew's website

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