St. Brendan's Memories: The First Twenty-Five Years:
1987 - 2012
Rev. Dr. William Pugliese arrived as Saint Brendan’s interim rector in November 2008. After a long career as a priest in several states, he had just returned home to Pennsylvania to retire, when the opportunity in Franklin Park presented itself. Bill’s challenge was to give leadership and guidance to a still-young parish poised for growth that had been stunted by two forces: an ugly, public schism in the diocese and a large mortgage balance that was a drag on the church’s mission.
With his considerable experience, skillful leadership and relevant sermons, Bill brought a sense of stability and security to Saint Brendan’s at a time when it was needed most. Today the challenges remain, but newcomers keep arriving. New ministries continue to evolve: the Sticks and Strings knitting group, the Musical Maniacs children singers, Men’s Night Out, Circle of Women and others. The church also has a new memorial garden, a project that was spearheaded by Tammy and Bill Spoonhoward, to hold the cremated earthly remains of church members.
Saint Brendan’s greeted its 25th year with 284 members, average Sunday attendance of 101 and a $232,000 budget. Cries Advocacy, its 10 percent tithe for outreach, had donated more than $300,000 to various humanitarian programs, efforts and causes over the life of the church.
More than four years into his “temporary” role at Saint Brendan’s, Father Bill said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as the interim rector during this transition time in the life of both Saint Brendan’s and the diocese. In the near future a search committee will be in place to seek out and then call the next rector, who will help lead Saint Brendan’s into a future filled with promise and expectation, serving all God’s people with open heart, open hands and open minds. The journey continues.”
Between its historic baptismal font and its peaceful memorial garden, Saint Brendan’s has become a church that symbolically and literally realizes the fullness of life – its joys and sorrows, its youth and maturity, its revelation and wonder. That’s an incredible journey for only 25 years. Only God knows what awaits in the next 25.