For nearly 150 years, The Episcopal Church of St. John in the Wilderness was a summer congregation that welcomed a priest in the warmer months to share the sacraments and proclaim the Gospel. Flat Rock’s first residents escaped low-country heat and humidity for a summer in the mountains filled with rich fellowship and spiritual rejuvenation at St. John in the Wilderness. In 2021, we began the Summer Scholar-in-Residence program to live out this tradition in a new way. Each summer, we invite a scholar-priest to preach and teach for a month and to provide nourishment for our parish and the greater Hendersonville community.
Each Summer Scholar is invited to shape the program so it may benefit their research and the parish’s life. The basic structure of the month is as follows:
Preaching some Sunday mornings.
Offering a formation program, including teaching a class on Sunday mornings and during the week.
Enjoying the hospitality of the parish, including housing in or near Flat Rock.
Taking time to work on scholarship and to find rest and renewal in a beautiful setting.
The program also includes a generous honorarium in gratitude for the scholar’s ministry.
The Rev. Dr. Robert MacSwain
2022 Summer Scholar-in-Residence
Dr. Rob MacSwain is the Associate Professor of Theology at the seminary at The University of the South, in Sewanee, TN. For a number of years, Dr. MacSwain has been researching how the lives of holy people serve as evidence of God’s existence.
Dr. MacSwain is no stranger to North Carolina, having been ordained as a priest of the Church in the eastern part of the state in 2002. He holds masters degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He completed his Ph.D. at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2010. He has authored and edited several works including his book Solved by Sacrifice: Austin Farrer, Fideism, and the Evidence of Faith (2013). While in Flat Rock, he intends to relax in the mountains of Western North Carolina and he hopes to find time to continue working on his book to be titled The Saint is our Evidence.