When Bishop Chip Stokes enters retirement upon the consecration of our new bishop on June 24, he will be joined in retirement by three longtime diocesan staff members: Canon Mary Ann Rhoads, executive assistant to five diocesan bishops; Canon Ann Notte, office and convention manager, who has juggled the enormous challenges of running our annual Diocesan Convention as well as many other diocesan events, as well as keeping a roof over our heads; and Mary Anne Clisham, receptionist and office assistant, who has been the first smiling face most visitors to Diocesan House have encountered for the past eight years.
The three were honored at last week’s “Farewell Gala” at the DoubleTree Cherry Hill, with keynote speaker The Most Rev. Michael Curry. They requested the opportunity to say thank you to the diocese, and everyone is invited to post a public message for them on this page.
From Canon Mary Ann Rhoads
Dear Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of New Jersey:
Where have these past 34 years gone? It has been my honor and privilege to serve with five Bishops during this time, and for the past couple of months with our new Bishop-Elect. I have so many wonderful memories of my years at Diocesan House. I have also been blessed to know and work with so many of you over the years as well.
Thank you to all of you who contributed to the retirement gift that Bishop Stokes presented to me at the Farewell Gala. What a surprise! So many people attended the Gala, I know I didn’t get to see everyone. If I didn’t personally speak with you, thank you for being there.
I wish you all well in your continued ministries.
With all best wishes,
Canon Mary Ann (Rhoads)
From Canon Ann Notte
Dear good people of the Diocese of New Jersey,
I am pleased that I responded to this calling to serve the people of the Diocese of New Jersey. And I’m thankful to Fr. Glenn Druce for hiring me in 1998.
I am extremely grateful for our considerate, kind, and pastoral leader—Bishop Stokes—and for the force behind him—Susan Stokes, who has the gift of making anyone comfortable in any setting. Both of you will be missed.
How blessed am I to have two partners in crime: Mary Ann Rhoads and Mary Anne Clisham. We have laughed, cried, got angry, and then happy, but always enjoyed and respected each other and our work. They will remain my sisters forever.
I am overwhelmed at the participation of the Farewell Gala. It was so nice to see so many people. Your kind words, good wishes, gifts, and generosity have touched my soul. I will always treasure the fond memories created during my time in the Diocese of New Jersey, and hope that our paths may cross again.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you all these years. It has been my pleasure, joy, and honor.
With gratitude, love, and respect for all of you,
Canon Ann Notte
From Mary Anne Clisham
Dear people (both Clergy and Lay) of the Diocese of New Jersey,
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for your good wishes on my upcoming retirement. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the gift presented to me on your behalf by Bishop Stokes at Sunday night’s Farewell Gala. Please know that I have treasured our ministry together these last eight years. I hold in my heart the many relationships we have developed together. I will miss you all and will continue to keep you in my prayers.
Blessings and peace,
Mary Anne (Clisham)
Say Farewell Here
Use the form below to post a public comment to or about Mary Ann, Ann, or Mary Anne as they retire.