Honoring the Rev. Bill Rontani

Honoring the Rev. Bill Rontani

by Jeptha Rogers, Senior Warden, St. James' Episcopal Church, Lincoln

On April 30, 2016, the Rev. William 'Bill' Rontani retired as Rector from Saint James' Episcopal Church in Lincoln. On May 1, 2016, we celebrated the long career of Father Bill, as he began retirement. He has been, as he likes to say, our Sheep Dog for the past ten years. His impact on Saint James, and on Lincoln, is visible ever where. The Community Garden is putting forth new growth to feed our neighbors and the needy in Lincoln. The Music Scholar Program has had a greater impact on young lives than we can measure. We are a parish, and no longer a mission, thanks to his leadership. His support of the Caring Ministry and the Prayer Shawl Ministry have shared the love of Christ throughout Placer County and the world. Prayer shawls have been sent coast to coast, to the UK, The Netherlands, as well as to our immediate neighbors. Our annual Blessing of the Animals spreads God’s love to those that labor at Field Haven Feline Rescue, Ride To Walk, as well as to our neighbors in Lincoln at the annual service in Beermann Plaza, in downtown Lincoln. Our food pantry feeds several families every week. Families receive gift cards for back to school clothing for their children, and every year over 30 families receive everything necessary to prepare Thanksgiving Day dinners in their homes. All these have happened because of Father Bill. We will miss him dearly, and we wish him a long and fruitful retirement.

Sunday, May 1st was a special night, and in attendance were Bishop Barry Beisner, the Very Rev. Cliff Haggenjos, Rector at St. John's Episcopal Church in Roseville and Dean of the Central Deanery, and clergy from all around the diocese. Many had been Fr. Bills’s friends since seminary, others were more recent, but all joined in honoring Fr. Rontani for over four decades of service to God and to the Church. There was a very special surprise when over 20 members of the Lincoln High School Elite Choir sang three of the pieces that they will be performing on their European tour this summer. It was obvious that the choir students have deep feelings for Fr. Bill. He was truly surprised and deeply moved by the offering of music on his special night.

The evening was filled with the telling of remembrances of Fr. Bill’s long career. Three special gifts were given: an album documenting his ten years of service to Saint James', a framed montage commemorating his time with us, and the presentation of a Cross of Saint Cuthbert that Bishop Beisner blessed, as it was being presented.

Even though Fr. Bill has left Saint James, we know that his ministries will continue. Well done and God speed, good and faithful servant.


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