Bidding adieu as Heather Mueller returns to Hawaii and celebrating her work among us.
Heather was born in 1942, in Radford, Virginia. She spent 13 years of her childhood in Midland Michigan and in 1958 her family moved to Citrus Heights, California (This is a small town in the outskirts of Sacramento). Heather recounts that she couldn’t wait to get back to the green Midwest and attended Michigan State University, 1960-1967.
Heather moved back to California and lived in Tiburon (a community in Marin County overlooking the SF Bay). She attended St Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, CA and was very involved in the ministry in that church. “John Thornton was the priest and he did a lot of quiet days, we studied a lot of the saints and we did some very innovative things in ministry. For example, I do remember a lecture on Tai Chi. I was very involved with social projects such as The hospital support for the pediatric ward, the Church Home Tour to raise money for outreach, I did the artwork for the flyer). I was a Campfire leader for my daughters, I was saving the Bay and the Ridgelands and I was very interested in the psychology of Karl Gustaf Jung.”
In 1973 Heather started seminary and was also raising two daughters. The National Convention voted down the ordination of Women in 1973 so, of course, “we at CDSP were highly motivated to be advocates in every way we could. It was a glorious experience for me.”
In 1976, Heather spent a year on Kauai, Hawaii serving as Seminary Intern at All Saint’s Episcopal Church. Bishop Edmond Browning came as the Bishop of Hawaii and Heather felt his support from the beginning of her time in Hawaii.
Heather graduated with a MDiv. June of 1978. She served at Seabury Hall Prep School, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, (1978-1981) as Chaplain, House Mother for Boarders, Social Coordinator for Boarders and Teacher of OT and NT for 7th – 9th graders.
She served briefly at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii during 1981, as interim, and was ordained to the priesthood on April 22, 1981 at Holy Innocents. The Rt. Rev. Edmond Browning ordained her to the diaconate at All Saint’s, Kapaa, Kauai June 1979 and Holy Innocents’ in Lahaina, April 1981.
In November of 1981, Heather was called to be the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church Kula , Maui, Hawaii and stayed there for 29 years as rector until November 2010. During her time at St. John’s, they did a major renovation and restoration of the church and parish hall and they acquired 4.4 acres of land adjacent to the property. She remembers: “The ministry at St. John was wonderful and it involved many adventures.”
Heather was on the Board of EWC, the Episcopal Women’s Caucus (they advocated for women’s ordination and women in the Episcopate). She served in Australia in the Diocese of Melbourne during 1988 for five months. She was called by Bishop Penman to be a witness for women (“To show that the roof did not fall in when a woman preached and celebrated,” Heather reflects). She served on the Board for NNECA The National Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations.
Since her retirement from St. John’s, she has served for a year 2011 at St. George’s College in Jerusalem, as Minister of Hospitality. She has served as Interim 2012-13 at St Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapa’au…the Big Island, and, wait for it, she has served at St. Andrew’s …in Taft since June of 2013.
Heather has a daughter in Huntington Beach and a daughter in San Diego. She has 5 grandchildren.
Heather has played an integral role in the story of emergence and resurrection for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. She has offered great care to Episcopalians and many others in Taft. She has engaged with the people in her community with compassion and care. She has been a model for social justice and has encouraged those with whom she serves and for whom she has responsibility to hear the stories and to respond to the needs of those in their midst. Heather has made a great contribution to San Joaquin. And Heather Mueller will be sorely missed.
Heather, you return to Hawaii with our love and our prayers.