By Iman Green
During their teenage years, young people often find themselves moving into a new phase of self-understanding and a new stage in their journey of faith. They begin to ask questions, not always knowing where those questions are coming from. It’s at this point that the careful witness of seasoned mentors is invaluable, providing both examples of how to follow Jesus and opportunities to transform their questions and hopes into real-world application.
The Rev. Wes Wubbenhorst, a faithful priest in the Church of God, has been such a mentor and friend in Jesus to many people for many years. Wes died at his home in Annapolis on Tuesday, surrounded by his wife, Vivienne, his mother, Arvilla, and many other family and friends. He had lived with lymphoma for the past year. We in the Diocese of Washington extend our sympathy and condolences to Wes’s family and friends, and to our neighboring Diocese of Maryland.
For more than 10 years, Wes Wubbenhorst served the Diocese of Maryland and Province III, building up the Kingdom of God by developing hundreds of youth and youth leaders. From parish ministry to mission trips, from provincial work to leadership in the Episcopal Church, from a large church in Annapolis to service in an historic southern Maryland congregation, Wes embodied and modeled servant leadership through and through.
Wes was always reaching out and making connections, building networks. During his time as Diocesan Youth Minister in Maryland, Wes served with neighboring dioceses such as ours. The Rev. Paul Canady and the Rev. Jessica Hitchcock, both of whom served as Diocesan Youth Missioners in Washington, remarked that they had the great pleasure of serving with Wes to create space for youth and youth leaders to encounter God and share Christ with others. “Wes taught me to remember that we should bask in all the ways God is in each moment,” Paul said this week. “I will genuinely miss him!”
Jessica adds, “Wes was a lifelong youth minister. He knew that ministry for and with young people isn’t a stepping stone ministry or something one grows out of. He spent his whole life making sure teens and tweens and the adults who cared for them knew that Jesus loved them and that Jesus could and would love the world through them. I don’t think we will ever truly know the full impact of Wes on the Episcopal Church, on this quirky branch of the Jesus movement, but best I can tell, it was vast and remarkable. I know the Gospel he shared continues to get passed on.”
Please join me in giving God thanks for the life and ministry of Wes. May we imitate him as he imitated Jesus, by loving God and loving others.
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” — Hebrews 13:7
Thank you, Wes.
A Requiem Eucharist will be held this Saturday, March 19 at 1 PM at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore. The service will be livestreamed on the internet; the video link will be available athttp://www.episcopalmaryland.org.