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First Anglican church in Utah opens

Kelly Evertsen, Of the Record Staff

British lawyer turned American Anglican church pastor Reverend Christopher Seddon said he decided after being a lawyer for 22 years that he wanted to give back to the community. In fact, when he was a young child, he said he always felt it was his calling to become a pastor.

"I think I knew when I was about five that God gave me a call in my life and I managed to keep putting it off," Seddon said. "I never really enjoyed being a lawyer and did it for years!"

Seddon moved to Park City in the summer of 2005 with his wife, Lori "Kismet" Seddon, and opened the first Anglican church of Utah in Park City. The church just recently moved to its new location at Quarry Village in Jeremy Ranch, in a building that houses worship services and the "Arc," a daily childcare drop-off center for the entire community.

Seddon was born in Kettering, England and lived in Lincoln, England, an "old Roman city," he called it. The city houses the Lincoln Castle, as well as the famous cathedral built in 1050 and an old Roman arch hanging above a street people drive through, he said.

"In the Lincoln Castle on the top of the hill, we have one of only the remaining copies of the Magna Carta," Seddon exclaimed.

Seddon was baptized into the Anglican church when he was a baby. The Anglican church, which literally means "English" church, dates back to 400 A.D. Seddon said it was lost in America during the 1700s and later turned into the Episcopal church, which he said adopts a more liberal theology than the original Anglican church. However, these days, Seddon said the Anglican church is slowly being integrated back into America.

Seddon had a few friends living in the states in southwest Missouri that he would often visit and fish with on Table Rock Lake. He was in Kentucky at a coffee shop when he met his wife, Lori, an American. The two wed and Christopher became a permanent resident of America. He was shortly after ordained a minister and started his own Anglican church in Kentucky, where the couple lived until just a couple years ago.

"I had retired from the law decided to have a sabbatical just in time in the States," Seddon said. "I met this wonderful woman, Lori, but in England, ‘Lori’ is the name of a semi-trick, so we changed [her name] to ‘Kismet,’ which means ‘my fate.’"

When a friend in the Anglican church community in Ohio approached Seddon about opening a church in Utah – since he saw a need – Seddon embraced the opportunity. When the couple moved to Park City in June of 2005, they held the church services at the Park City Academy. After drawing larger crowds, they opened a new church in a building in Quarry Village. Kismet works in Salt Lake City as a nurse and hospice worker.

Seddon said the mission of the new St. Paul’s Anglican Church is to serve and meet the needs of the community.

"I see it as the old parish service for this neighborhood in Jeremy Ranch, Pinebrook [and the surrounding areas]," Seddon said. "That’s why we’re doing this childcare service in the building. It’s a place where we can serve the community [and] get to know the community."

The Ark is a childcare drop-off service on Quarry Road housed within the church. It will officially open on Dec. 3.

Director of the Ark, Rhonda Doffett, said the service is great for stay-at-home moms or dads who want to get out of the house for a few hours, go to the spa or run errands. But Doffett said it is not just a daycare center, it’s also a learning center for children. The childcare workers will actually teach science, math or the alphabet to kids while their parents are out on a break.

"The space is wonderful," Doffett said. "We’ll have toys, a sensor-based learning [area], time for dramatic play, science stuff, cognitive learning, reading and math skills.

There’s a really unique type of curriculum we’ll teach [It’s] our hope to maybe look into opening a preschool within the year."

Doffett has been the director of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City for 10 years. She started the preschool at that church.

"So far, it seems like something that’s wanted," Doffett said of the Ark in Jeremy Ranch. "The response we’re getting from e-mails is positive."

Doffett and her daughter, Shannon Doffett, will be the primary childcare workers after the center first opens until business increases and they can hire more workers. She said Shannon has seven years of experience working at St. Paul’s in early childhood development.

The rate for the Ark is $12 per hour per child, with a maximum four-hour stay.

Seddon said he is pleased to have the Ark drop-off childcare center in the church and hopes it will provide a great service to the community.

"I’m a great believer in walking-the-walk and talking-the-talk," Seddon said of his church duties. "That’s why we’re doing this childcare service in the building."

Seddon said he and his wife and several members of their congregation also regularly serve welfare missions to Kenya and Southeast Asia.

"My wife and I have a great heart for Southeast Asia and AIDS orphanages in Thailand," Seddon said. "We’re also actively supporting an orphanage in Kenya for destitute children. Many of us have sort of adopted children there and paid for their school fees, clothing and food for a year."

But Seddon said it is also his and his congregation’s ultimate wish to serve the community wherever possible.

"We can’t just preach on Sundays, have coffee and leave," Seddon says of his church. "It’s about serving the community and providing for their needs."

The pastor said it is difficult in an affluent area like Park City to provide housing needs for those who cannot afford it, and hopes to give aid to those less fortunate.

"Even as a priest, I have struggled to live here, and there are many that are simply not able to, and I think that’s something that needs to be addressed," Seddon said.

Now that his church has been built at Quarry Village, Seddon invites the entire community to see and use the new facilities.

"We’ve got a membership of over 100 now, and it’s growing quite rapidly," he said. "Nobody was here before and we’re now seeing a lot of new folks coming to worship, which is really cool."

He encourages Parkites to visit the church, use the Ark childcare services and use the church as a house of prayer.

"They are so welcome to come and visit and we just want it to be a place of love, community and reconciliation," Seddon said.

The church also contains a prayer sanctuary.

"It’s just enough room for six to eight people, and it’s a gentle, quiet, spiritual place for anyone who would like to come and spend time with god," Seddon said.

St. John’s Anglican Church meets Sundays at 9 a.m. for traditional services, and 10:15 a.m. for a contemporary Eucharist services. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m., the church hosts brief prayer meetings. The church and the Ark are located at 3156 Quarry Road in Jeremy Ranch. For more information, call 655-7994 or visit http://www.stjohnsanglican.org .


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