Clergy & Staff
The Rev. Tommy Dillon II, Priest-in-Charge
A Baton Rouge native, the Rev Tommy Dillon grew up attending St. Luke’s and is a graduate of Redemptorist High School in North Baton Rouge. He graduated from Louisiana State University, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University, and General Theological Seminary, where he specialized in Anglican Liturgy. He was ordained deacon and priest at St. Luke’s Baton Rouge and served as Vicar of St. Augustine’s in Central City, LA for five years before serving 11 years on the West Coast as Rector of St. Aidan’s, San Francisco and Grace Church in Bainbridge Island, WA.
Tommy has 16 years of experience as a parish pastor, including responsibility for pastoral care, program development, stewardship, and administration. During that time, Tommy became a leader in community engagement. He has a passion for helping people take ministry and spirit beyond the church walls and embrace new ways of being the church in a changing world.
Before moving to the West Coast, Tommy was the first Director of Prisoner Aftercare Services for the National Volunteers of America. Previously he worked with the Volunteer of America of Greater Baton Rouge for seven years in Mental Health and Homeless Services. He also served as Co-chair for Undoing Racism in the Diocese of Louisiana.
In the Diocese of California, Tommy served as a member of the Diocesan Executive Council, Diocesan Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, Nave Chaplain at Grace Cathedral, and a Spiritual Director for Cursillo. He also served as chaplain to the Diocesan Altar Guild, as a board member for Sojourn Chaplaincy at San Francisco General Hospital, and as chair of the Episcopal Bay Area Salvadoran Coalition.
In Tommy’s world, there is no such thing as the “outcast and the stranger.” His work with newly-released prisoners, with people suffering mental illness and homelessness, and with Hurricane Katrina survivors gave him a fearless compassion for human need. During his time in ministry, parish food bank and elder ministries flourished; Diocesan, parish, and neighborhood Disaster Preparedness groups formed; and connections in El Salvador were created through the Anglican Church of El Salvador and Foundation Cristosal.
Tommy Dillon serves on the Boards of the Wild Goose Festival and the General Theological Seminary and is a frequent retreat leader, pilgrimage planner, and an instructor of liturgy.
Collaborating to create beautiful liturgy feeds his soul. Good food, good friends, and road trips with his Whippet pal Josh reveal the Holy in the everyday world.
Fr. Ronald Whitmer, Assisting Priest
Marti and I returned to The Diocese of Louisiana and St. Margarets in the Fall of 2011. We had moved to Omaha, NE, following Katrina in Oct. 2005. I had said to friends, “Rhubarb was calling me home.” For those not acquainted with this plant, it grows best north of an imaginary line running across the middle of Missouri.* What a delicacy this is when turned into a Rhubarb Custard pie! Also, we have a son, Robert and his wife Mary and two grandchildren in Omaha that were part of the drawing card to return north. I’d grown up in Iowa and Marti in North Dakota.
In the summer of 2011, Peggy, our youngest daughter, her husband Kyle, and their two little ones, Zachary and Hanna came to visit us in Omaha. Zachary, well settled into his Granny’s lap, looked into her eyes and said in a most plaintive voice, “Granny, too far!, TOO FAR! Two of our daughters married Louisiana boys. They don’t move. “Tugs,” two daughters and their husbands and four grandchildren drew us back to Louisiana.
We returned to St. Margarets where I’d been rector, 1986-1989. In the fall of 1989, I introduced an experimental academically based service learning project to LSU and Southern. It was accepted by the two universities the following Spring. A large number of community service agencies provided placement for the students. It became operational in the fall of 1990. I designed and coordinated the program known as “PULSE of Louisiana,” a 501(c)3 organization, for the next five years. The project was based on the PULSE curriculum of Boston College. The aim was to provide a way to deepen not only understanding and caring, but to experience in the process, that we are drawn to be a community whole.
Formal / Informal Education:
Graduate of public schools, Muscatine, Iowa; Grinnell College, B.A.; Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, MA, B.D.; ordained a priest in the Diocese of Iowa, January 1, 1966; annual attendee of the Bernard Lonergan Workshops, Boston College, 1976-1985; 1998. I am an avid reader of the writings of Bernard Lonergan, S.J.; David Ford, Oliver O’Donovan, Richard Rohr and other contemplatives. I have had a life-long interest in wanting to understand what is going on, wanting to see the connections, “distinctions without loss of relation,” and in so doing discovering how we can be a community whole, experiencing in the flesh, the nearness “on earth as it is in heaven.”
* Since returning I discovered at the Old Farmers Store in Gonzales that there is a variety of Rhubarb, “Victoria,” that does grow in the South. Two years ago I planted it here in our garden. I’m happy to report it’s doing very well. Unfortunately it takes 3 years before you can harvest it. I’m eagerly awaiting spring 2018, and Rhubarb Custard Pie! “3” years? Where have I heard that number before?
My name is Jennifer Hirstius. I grew up in Baton Rouge but have made Central my home for the past eight years. I have a nine-year-old son named Braeden, who is the joy of my life.
It is great to be home in the Episcopal Church. For seven years I worked at St. James Episcopal Church in downtown Baton Rouge. Then, for six years I worked in the Baton Rouge Diocesan office downtown for Bishop Thompson. For the last three years, I worked at St. James Place Retirement Community on Lee Drive. I've missed working for the Episcopal Church, and I'm so happy to be back! Thank you for having me, and I look forward to getting to know each of you.
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