Rev. Anne Bolles-Beaven
Priest in Charge
The Rev. Anne Bolles-Beaven was called to serve as St. Columba’s priest in charge in February 2020.
It was more than another ministry for Anne: It was also a coming home. Her parents, Hébert and Elizabeth Bolles, were married at Trinity Church in Newport, and when her father, a Navy chaplain, received orders that brought them back to Aquidneck Island, the family settled in Portsmouth, in 1972. Anne was 13, and already imbued with a faith and an ethos that would eventually take her to New York’s General Theological Seminary, via Barnard College.
“We were not only priest kids, we were military kids, a chaplain’s kids,” as Anne told the congregation at her father’s 2013 funeral, which was also at Trinity. “We were raised on Mission. Life was about love and service, glorious and costing. We grew up on stories that bore that out, sea stories, biblical stories, Dad stories.”
She became the first woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in Brooklyn, in 1990, at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church. Her powerful preaching soon made her a spiritual voice worth seeking out, as the "New York Daily News" noted in its 1993 list of “pulpit stars of tomorrow.” Over the next two decades, she would serve a variety of diverse parishes and missions in the diocese of Newark, learning to meet the challenges of her calling with humility and joy.
Anne and her husband, Paul Bolles-Beaven, a talented musician and former restaurateur who is now a coach and business consultant, have two grown children, Emma and William. Motherhood and ministry are similar callings, she notes: “In both, I have been given precious souls to nurture. In both I’ve sown seeds of the Gospel of love, honesty, forgiveness, and transformation, and then tended those seeds. In both, I have worked to create a sense of home.”
Ultimately, Anne says, “Home is what happens when we commit ourselves to the people around us. If we want to build generous, sharing communities, we need to practice an attitude of gratitude. Notice what people do and thank them. Notice what God does and thank God. We need to live from a place of abundance, not scarcity. With God, there is always more!”