Tattoos, motorcycle and a “rock star” priest

How do we reach the younger adults who aren’t really sure if they’d be welcome in the Episcopal Church? How about lifting a young priest who doesn’t exactly look like the typical Parson Weems sort?

The Diocese of Hawaii is installing a new priest,Paul K. Klitzke, from Alaska who was called to a new parish plant to reach out to the 20-somethings who aren’t typically found in congregations:

“Klitzke came from Wasilla, Alaska, where he served as priest of St. David’s Episcopal Church and developed activities for youth the last five years. He arrived in March and will be ceremoniously installed tomorrow by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick. Established in 2002, the congregation meets at Island Pacific Academy, 909 Haumea St.

‘We were looking for … someone said ‘a rock-star priest,’ somebody who would draw families, attract a lot of people … exciting,’ said Cheryl Chee, a member of the St. Nicholas committee that interviewed Klitzke for the job. ‘He seemed to fit what we were looking for, his experience and appeal to young people.’

Said Klitzke: ‘They wanted someone who could relate to the culture and the people instead of someone who wears a clergy shirt and shows up on time. I usually do wear a clergy shirt on Sundays, but otherwise I dress like everybody else. … They don’t have to worry about kissing my ring — I’m joking. They can be themselves around me.

It seems to be working…

Since his arrival, the church has drawn an increased number of 20-somethings who aren’t parents — a demographic that churches often struggle to reach — and the longtime regulars are more active, he said.”

Read the full article here.

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