Aug 29, 2020 Latest post:
Aug 31, 2020
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Stephen Monteith Hall was born on May 23, 1942 in Milwaukee Wisconsin to Robert L and Jessie D. Hall. He joined his brother Robert and joined by his younger brother, Andrew. He grew up in Fox Point, Wisconsin and attended Fox Point Bayside School for K-8 and graduated from Milwaukee Country Day School in 1960.
After graduating from Lawrence University in 1964, he went to Columbia SC for boot camp for the National Guard. He, ultimately, became a 2nd LT during his tenure in the National Guard. He took a job with US Steel as an inside sales representative, where he met and married Joyce Grieve. A few years into the marriage they moved to Colorado where he became the Manager of the Broomfield Star and Lafayette Leader. Joyce and Steve divorced soon after, and Steve stayed in CO. While at the Broomfield Star, the paper received the Alfred P. Sloan award for a campaign for Highway Safety involving the Broomfield interchange. During this time, he went through training to be an EMT at St Anthony’s Hospital driving ambulance for Aid Ambulance Co. While driving ambulance, I met and married Karen Sheline who had three small children Kirstin, Jennifer, and Andy. They had one daughter together, Kathleen. Karen and the children were with him through some very formative years.
He had become familiar with police work through his work at the Broomfield Star and driving ambulance, befriending Lt. Brophy who told him “if you are interested in police work you better go for the best paying job” which was the Colorado State Patrol. So that is what he did. While at the CSP, he drove up and down the highway arresting traffic violators, taught defensive driving courses to companies, and gave safety talks which impressed his supervisors. Subsequently, he was transferred to Denver headquarters in the Education and Safety section. By that time, the audiences he spoke to were already saying that he sounded like he was giving sermons.
It was the devastation and loss of Sargent Hugh Purdy during the Big Thompson River Flood that finally led him to listen to a statement made by Father Marshall Mallory Day (his priest since he was 6 years old).
“You shall be a Priest.”
The thought had occurred to him at every intersection of his life where he had to choose the next direction, but he had resisted. This time he could not resist the call, even with his doubts. When he sat before the Commission of Ministry of the Diocese of Colorado, they asked why he should be a Priest. He told them it was their job to tell him. His thought was that if we all asked God the one question we would all get the same answer. He thought that smart-ass answer would get him out of it. It did not. They made a unanimous decision that he should be a Priest so he packed up his wife, Karen, and four children to move to Nashotah, WI to attend the Nashotah House Theological Seminary for the next three years.
He came to realize that Seminary is where he belonged. Karen found work to support them as a secretary at the seminary. Times were tough but there were surprises along the way. It seems that most weeks, he would go to the mail box to find checks from friends or family who helped support his family through the toughest of those times. God provided, and, in 1981, he graduated with a Masters Degree in Divinity Magna Cum Laude. Clearly, he had found his calling that Fr Day had predicted all those years before.
He was asked by the Bishop of South Dakota, Bishop Jones, to go to a small parish, St Paul’s Episcopal church in Brookings SD, much to the consternation of his friends and supporters in Colorado. Even so, Bishop William Wolfram, assisting bishop of Colorado ordained him to the deaconate on April 28, 1981, and Bishop William Fry of Colorado was gracious enough to ordain him a Priest on November 1, 1981 at St Paul’s Brookings SD.
As a priest in Brookings, he tended to the needs of St Paul’s and three smaller surrounding churches; Flandreau, Madison, and DeSmet. Karen studied for the priesthood herself and, eventually, was ordained a deacon and, then, a priest. Steve was called to be the Cannon Theologian at The Cathedral of St Phillip’s in Sioux Falls SD, after which Karen and he divorced. I stayed on at the Cathedral for a couple of years where he met Jim Gundrom who had connections to the diocese of Iowa, and suggested he go there.
He applied to be Rector to St. Mark’s Episcopal church in Fort Dodge, IA and moved there in January of 1990. One of his parishioners who played the clarinet and saxophone, Peter Capellos, died in October of that year. He wrote a sermon for the funeral which moved the Senior warden to send it to a best sermon competition sponsored by the Episcopal Evangelism Foundation. He won first place in the pastoral category and best sermon overall.
The divorce from Karen, caused him to take a deep look at his life so the Bishop of Iowa, Bishop Christopher Epting suggested that he seek help at St Barnabas Center in Oconomowoc, WI.. He spent a month searching, healing, and discovering his part in all the mistakes he had made in his life up until then. Upon returning to Fort Dodge he met, Holly Brown, who had also been doing some recovery work, and they started a Co-dependency group that grew to be 30 members strong in no time at all. It was the CoDA group that helped as he continued his journey of healing and spiritual growth in those years. One of the members he met was Roxanne who eventually became his wife.
After getting his feet on the ground and with the love and help from the St Mark’s community, his ministry grew. St Mark’s was designated a Jubilee Ministry Church by the National Episcopal Church and hosted a WIC health clinic, a free AIDS testing clinic, a free health Clinic staffed by volunteer Doctors, a pharmacist, nurses and ancillary staff. It was managed by Crystal Crotts who helped solicit a grant from Senator Tom Harkin to open a free health clinic for the community of Fort Dodge, which began in the basement of the church and eventually moved to a bigger, separate building. This occurred the while growing the youth program in St Mark’s, hosting Happenings for the Diocese of Iowa, encouraging the development of a Godly Play room, and opening the doors to just about any organization that enhanced the value of the Fort Dodge community.
One of the most dedicated women at St Mark’s was a woman by the name of Peg Jackson. Peg was a retired teacher from the Fort Dodge School public school system with a keen mind a strong theological knowledge who led and participated in most educational programs at St Marks and was easily encouraged by Steve to become a deacon and later take vows to become a priest. His mentoring of her became one of his most proud accomplishments from those Fort Dodge years.
In 2006, he noticed an ad in the Living Church magazine of a small church in Clayton Ga looking for a part time priest. The ad boasted the fact that the church was all about outreach, and that fact is what peeked his interest. He and Roxie had been to a Summit at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina and love that area which was only 81 miles from Clayton. So, he sent in his resume and off to St James, Clayton, GA they went. He discovered that many of the people in the church were retired business people from the Atlanta area who had big hearts and lots of time to give to not only the church but the surrounding community. Plus, the surrounding mountains and lakes made it a beautiful place live.
The people of St James pushed his to grow intellectually. He had to read constantly to keep up with this intellectual group of people because he could not fudge the answers to the questions they were bringing to church. He had the time to read because the people were doing everything else to make the church a significant force in the community. Most board of directors of any helping agency in the county had one or two Episcopalians from St James participating.
He had promised the senior warden at the time he arrived at Clayton 10 years of service. Mandatory retirement from the Episcopal church is 72 years, and he asked for an extension until I was 74. He served 11 years at St James and loved every moment!
Upon full retirement, he and Roxie moved to Demorest, GA to down size and be closer to her work. They are current members of Resurrection in beautiful Sautee Nacoochee, GA.
Unfortunately, while he was in Clayton (2013), he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Since his retirement, it has worsened to where oxygenating is difficult. Currently, he is in hospice care, and Roxie has taken FMLA to care for him at home.