The Rev. Paul DeWitt Reid was born in Illinois into an extended family of active Episcopalians, and lived in nine different places before graduating from Phoenixville High School. As a student, he worked in a steel mill, in a commercial bakery, in a carpet factory, in fast-food service, in a pub, and on the back of a garbage truck. An active and accomplished musician in his younger days, he toured Europe with a national youth chorus in his teens. He returned there after service in the Army, and while working in Berlin, met his wife, Anne, who is from Scotland.
Paul received his undergraduate education at Penn State and Edinburgh University, Scotland where he majored in Philosophy, while his wife-to-be received her Masters degree from Edinburgh College of Art. As students, Paul and Anne sang together in the Edinburgh Festival Chorus with visiting international orchestras, conductors, and soloists. They can be seen and heard together (along with† a couple of hundred other musicians) on YouTube in the finale of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, with Leonard Bernstein conducting, filmed and recorded live in Ely Cathedral.
For ten years, Paul and Anne ran their own craft business with 13 employees located in the remote Highlands of Scotland, and developed an international museum-shop market. They also led the funding effort for, and designed a local tourist interpretive center with a summer concert series for their remote and beautiful area. Paul subsequently became a community organizer and economic development worker, and managed a new local government agency for both remote rural and difficult inner-city areas of the Scottish Highlands.
Returning to the area in 1989, Paul began a twenty year career in information technology with KPMG and as an independent consultant designing and working on major projects for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and for several Fortune 50 companies. Anne continued her artistic career while also working as the Assistant Director of the YWCA in Pottstown, and as the Practice Manager of the Clinic for the Uninsured in the old rectory of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Phoenixville, where she managed over 150 clerical and professional volunteers. Paul and Anne’s two sons, Fionn and Liam, are also accomplished musicians, and both work for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Paul received his call to the priesthood from St. Peter’s in the Great Valley, where he attended from age 13, but pursued the call from St. Mary Anne’s in Northeast, Md. to which he commuted for two years because of an age restrictions then in place in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. He received his Master of Divinity degree with Honors from the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia, where he did independent study on the impact of contemporary French philosophy on modern theology. He served as a seminarian for three years at St. David’s, Radnor, and was ordained in 2009. He assisted informally at St. Peter’s in the Great Valley and at Washington Memorial Chapel and was a finalist for five churches as a candidate for Rector, until being called as Priest-in-Charge at St. Paul’s Elkins Park in August of 2011, and made rector in 2013.
A Message From Father Paul
God has blessed our parish family with great diversity, and so we believe we have been called by God to be a deliberately multicultural church.
We are more than multiracial — we are African, South American, European, Caribbean, Canadian, and Black-White-Brown-born-in-the-USA, and we look forward to adding the rest of the world to our family!
You will hear many accents here. We love our differences, and we love learning each other’s stories.
When you get to know our parish family, you will find that we grew up Baptist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Jewish, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, Independent Bible Church, Quaker, Episcopalian (and other worldwide churches of the Anglican Communion), spiritual-but-not-religious, and more – and some of us used to call our religion “None.”
Some of us have a strong, simple and clear faith, and some of us have come the hard way to a progressive understanding – and we love that difference in our parish family, too. We all hunger for the Spirit to move in our lives.
We have learned that the weeks of our lives can be more joyful, and our burdens are carried more easily when we worship together on a Sunday – and we work together as a family to make our worship ever more spiritually powerful. Our 10:00 family Communion has many kinds of music and contemporary language, but with timeless spiritual depth. Our spoken 8:00 traditional Holy Eucharist (Rite I or Rite II, depending on the season) is held in one of our two chapels. Both services are growing!
When Jesus said “Follow me,” he meant that we should welcome strangers, feed the poor, and heal broken souls in the here-and-now – not just in the hereafter! Both locally and globally, our parish family works to lift people up.
If you are looking for a church full of people just like you, you will probably want to look further, and we wish you well. But if you want to engage the world and grow in the Spirit with a bunch of very interesting people – if you want your children to grow in Christian love with friends from many lands and cultures – you may have just found a parish home!