St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 2900 Canal Blvd., has welcomed a new priest, the Rev. Shay Craig, the first time the church has had a full-time pastor in a decade.


Craig, a native of northern California, served at Christ Cathedral in Salina for two years before coming to Hays in July. Prior to that, she was the associate for Resource Development on the bishop’s staff in the Diocese of Chicago. She was ordained a priest there in 2018.


She also serves St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2422 Hyacinth Ave., about 15 miles north of Hays.


She said, "I'm very excited to be joining St. Michael's and St. Andrew's, even in these very odd times. This is the first time in many years that these two churches have been served by a full-time clergy who can dedicate herself to dreaming with them and join in listening for the Holy Spirit to tell us how to be. It is a time of great innovation and inspiration. The Spirit is certainly on the move in the Episcopal Church in Hays."


Craig earned a BA at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana and completed her Master of Theological Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. She has four adult children.


She described both St. Michael’s and St. Andrew’s as "traditional Episcopal churches. They find comfort and meaning in the ancient liturgy and classical music. The liturgy is formal in both churches . . . but the heart of the Episcopal Church is progressive expression of the Body of Christ.


"We exist to enable every person to be in relationship to God. We ordain women and men, gay or straight, we perform same-sex marriage, and we believe, in the words of our presiding bishop, that the outstretched arms of Christ on the cross are a sign of the love of God reaching out to us all," she said.


St. Michael’s has in-person worship services at 10 a.m. Sundays and offers communion "in a modified way," she said. St. Andrew’s has worship services at 8 a.m. Sundays.


Beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, Craig will be teaching a six-week course, "Episcopal 101," at St. Michael’s. The class will look at the basics of the Episcopal tradition. At the last class session, the former bishop of the diocese will be available for a question and answer session, she said. More information is available from Craig at (785) 628-8442.


Habitat launching ‘Community Chat’ program


Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County is launching "Community Chat," a way to increase social interaction with seniors age 65 and over.


Interested seniors will be matched with Habitat volunteers who will call them on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.


"COVID-19 has us social distancing for our safety, but we don’t have to go through this alone," said Leslie Wyatt, Habitat executive director.


"One way we can still safely connect is through our phones. You can talk about the weather, how your day is going, your hobbies—whatever you’d like," Wyatt said.


A mail option is also available. Seniors wanting to participate in the program and volunteer "chatters" may both call Wyatt at (785) 623-4200 to sign up.