Father Robert Antony Rhodes, CMMR
Father Rob was born and raised by working-class parents in a working-class neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. He was baptized in the Methodist Church just five and a half months after he was born, but spent most of his childhood as part of a small Baptist congregation in South St. Louis. As many do, he drifted away from the Church in his teenage years, but never away from religion and spirituality, studying all the world’s religions, and acquiring a special love for Hinduism and Buddhism. Even then, he found the figure of Jesus compelling, and so he could never quite make the move to officially join another faith.
When he discovered the contemplative and liturgical riches in the more Catholic expressions of Christianity, he returned to the Church, this time in the Episcopal Church. He found a home in its deep historical, theological, and spiritual roots combined with its openness and love for those often rejected by the Church.
He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting from Fontbonne College (Now Fontbonne University). He earned his Master of Divinity degree at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City where he did fieldwork at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Times Square under Father Stephen Gerth, former rector of Trinity Church.
He was ordained a Transitional Deacon on Saint John’s Day (December 27) of 2002, served his diaconate at St. Mary’s, and was ordained a priest on June 6, 2003. He has served congregations of all sizes and demographics, in urban, suburban, and rural contexts in the Dioceses of Missouri, Louisiana, Newark, Southern Ohio, and Olympia, before coming to Trinity Church.
In 2017 he, along with his wife, Sister Debra Susannah Mary Rhodes, CMMR (Sister Debbi), and one other member, entered a novitiate process as the first step toward founding a new monastic Christian Community called the Community of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, and took first vows in September of 2018. He is the author of the Rule of that community, and leads it as its first Abbot. The Community, which now consists of himself, Sister Debbi, and Brother Joseph Mary Ignatius Miller, CMMR (Brother Joey, lives in the Abbey of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer—the rectory of Trinity Episcopal Church.
He is deeply interested in monasticism, contemplative prayer, theology in all its forms, especially that of the Church Mothers and Fathers, and the Desert Tradition, politics, philosophy, reading in general, farming, and art and movies.