Christ Episcopal Church in Dover is preparing to say goodbye to its longtime lay minister and Director of Music Jon Rania.
A formidable presence in the community since he started in 2007, Rania is leaving to accept a new call in February as director of music and communications at the Episcopal Parish of All Saints’ and Saint George's in Rehoboth Beach and Harbeson.
Rania's final service in Dover will be at 10 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 16. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve this parish and the wider community over the past 14-plus years. We have so much to be proud of and grateful for,” Rania said.
"The years that I served here saw much growth, especially at a time when church attendance and membership are dwindling nationwide. There is something very special about this place. The warmth and welcoming atmosphere is contagious. I am not just leaving a church; I am leaving an extension of my own family. I have many wonderful memories that I take with me as I leave here to take up my new call. Christ Church will always have a special place in my heart,” said Rania.
In addition to the work done in the parish, Rania also served for many years as a co-convenor for the Kent Ecumenical Food and Crisis Fund, which has now become the Central Delaware Interfaith Alliance. He also served at Bayhealth Kent General as a volunteer chaplain and a member of the Health Equality Index Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Planetree initiatives as they relate to criteria necessary to keep Bayhealth’s leader status in healthcare with the Human Rights Campaign. Rania will continue to serve on this board and may continue chaplaincy as well at the Bayhealth Sussex Campus.
"I leave here confident that all the projects and good works that we have accomplished here will continue in the future. There are many good, devoted and hardworking folk harvesting the fields of Dover. I will continue to pray for and support them in any way that I can," Rania said.
The Jan. 16 service is open to the public, and all are welcome to attend. Christ Church is at 501 S. State St. in downtown Dover. The service will also be broadcast virtually on Facebook Live at the Christ Church Dover Facebook page. A reception will follow in the parish hall.