Silides leave Juneau

The Rev. George and Hunter Silides share the sermon on Sunday, June 3, their last service at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Photo by Randy Burton.

The priest of a downtown Juneau congregation that lost its church to arson has transferred to another parish.

The Reverend George Silides, of the Church of the Holy Trinity, has moved to St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in Claremont, California.

He and his wife, Hunter Silides, also a clergy member, ended their ministry at Holy Trinity on Sunday, June 3rd, after eight years in Juneau.

The church building was on the National Register of Historic Places when it burned in March 2006. Juneau Episcopalians had worshipped in the sanctuary for 110 years. For more than 50 years, adjoining McPetres Hall had been a community center.

As the congregation worked to rebuild, Silides called it a “refiner’s fire,” which it had become for so many church members and Juneau residents who had used the Holy Trinity facility over the years.

Silides often said the congregation “owned” the church:

“It’s the way the church operates, and how beautifully it operates and how extraordinarily responsible everyone is for the various things that they say they’re going to do that they follow through on,” Silidese said in a previous interview. “It’s obvious that they know the church is an expression of their ministry, not mine.”

On Christmas Eve 2009, the congregation held its first service in the new sanctuary. The church and McPhetres Hall were formally dedicated in October 2011.

The Silides had hoped to remain in Juneau at Holy Trinity for much longer, but one of their children needs ongoing medical treatment, more easily accessed in Claremont.

In a letter to the congregation announcing the move, The Reverend Silides said the family had been “blessed beyond measure” in Juneau.

The Reverend Wilson Valentine and parish members will fill in over the summer. The search for a new rector can take more than a year.