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Summer Scholar-in-Residence

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.

Dr. Phil Kenneson

2024 Summer Scholar-in-Residence


Practicing Forgiveness & Reconciliation

Join us in exploring important themes of God's mission in the world, starting with a review of God's economy, the idea of shalom, and our role as signposts of God's Kingdom. Later sessions focus on the practices of forgiveness and reconciliation and their significance in the lives of Christians and our communities. The series ends with practical advice on practicing forgiveness in various relationships and a reminder of the divine partnership with the Triune God in the ongoing process of healing and reconciliation.

Sunday Formation

Thursday Formation

All Sunday sessions are at 10:00am in the Wilderness Room.

Childcare is available in the Nursery.

May 26 | June 9 | June 16 | June 23

All Thursday sessions are at 5:00pm in the Wilderness Room.

Childcare is available in the Nursery. 

May 30 | June 6 | June 13 | June 20

Please bring food to share! We will provide food for children.

Summer Scholars of Years Past

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Dr. Phil Kenneson

2023 Summer Scholar-in-Residence


Signposts of the Kingdom:

Learning to Live Into God’s New Reality

The Gospels are clear that Jesus believed a new reality was breaking into our world; he called it the Kingdom of God, and he announced this as good news. Jesus invited people to live into this new reality as a way of bearing embodied witness to God’s deepest desires for all of God’s creation.  What might it look like in our day and time to be formed into a people who are signposts of God’s Kingdom, pointing to God’s new reality in the midst of the old that is passing away?  Our time together will explore some of the ways we might serve as such signposts by allowing the Spirit to cultivate in our life together ways of living that both lead to our deepest flourishing as human beings and point beyond ourselves to God’s new reality.

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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.

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The Rev. Bill Brosend, PhD

2021 Summer Scholar-in-Residence

Our 2021 Summer Scholar-in-Residence ass The Rev. Bill Brosend, PhD. Fr. Bill is the Professor of New Testament at The School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. He has served as the Executive Director of the Episcopal Preaching Foundation and has enjoyed shaping seminarians to read and proclaim God’s word with wisdom and conviction.

In addition to preaching, Fr. Bill shared with us his study of the Parables of Jesus, who told stories like the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan. Through these stories, Jesus gave listeners a glimpse of the Kingdom of God and invited them to live into God’s reality. 

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