Long before the Rev. Adrienne Hymes entered the priesthood, she was following her dream of becoming an actress and stand-up comedian in Los Angeles. But, when she was laid off from her six-figure public relations job, she used that layoff as an opportunity to serve the Lord in a more meaningful way.
“I was gifted with the layoff,” Hymes said. “I was miserable, and felt that God had a more purposeful life for me that would optimally serve Him and his people. I struggled with saying, ‘Yes,’ to God because I didn’t have the courage to step away from the money.
“It was exactly what I had prayed for. This whole priestly journey—I really didn’t do that. I went to Los Angeles to be Oprah, and now I’m the church lady. It’s all about acceptance. It really comes down to accepting God’s will for your life, and what that truly means, which can be really hard.”
Hymes has since graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary, became a clinically trained chaplain, and is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida. As the Missioner for Church Extension, she has been tasked by the bishop to expand the diocese’s ministry into Wesley Chapel.
“What we do as church leaders is jump into the energy that the Holy Spirit has already started,” Hymes said. “We prayerfully listen for direction, and do our part as ministers. The Holy Spirit does the rest. All I have to do is be present to receive all of the souls that are going to be led to us.”
The members of Wesley Chapel Episcopal currently rent a worship space from an existing church and are faithfully working to nurture their worship community to the next level.
“For many years, the diocese has felt called to nurture a new faith community in the growing, vibrant Wesley Chapel area,” Hymes said. “We seek to be a safe place for questioning and meaning-making through Holy Scripture, the sacraments and our rich, ancient liturgy. The gift of the Episcopal Church, in a changing world that longs to be rooted in a foundation, is that we are ever ancient, ever new.”
Hymes also sees the church as a means to rescue people from difficult times and situations in their lives.
“We are the Episcopal branch of what our presiding bishop calls the Jesus Movement,” Hymes said. “Our branch is something that people can reach for and hold onto when they need it, like in those old movies where the hero holds the branch out to the person sinking in quicksand.
“There are so many people who don’t know they’re in quicksand. If the branch is there—present, if you will – they can reach out to it. Without the branch, eventually the quicksand overtakes them.”
Hymes would also like to emphasize the home blessings offered as an instrument of outreach and hospitality by Wesley Chapel Episcopal, a practice seldom recognized anymore.
“Most people have never seen a home being blessed, and remark how surprised they are by the sacred blessing done with such reverence,” Hymes said. “It’s important for us that we are present to the needs of our neighbors. One way that we do that is to share a liturgy in their home where we, together, affirm that God’s not only there, but is present in all aspects of their life. We walk through every room saying prayers, while I sprinkle holy water throughout the structure.”
Wesley Chapel Episcopal offers worship services in the form of Holy Eucharist and Evening Prayer. Christian education programming is offered at various times of the year. Home blessings are available by appointment.
“Whoever you are, and wherever you find yourself in your journey of faith, the Episcopal Church welcomes you,” Hymes said.
3758 Maryweather Lane, Wesley Chapel 33544 • 813-418-1281 • www.wcepiscopalchurch.org.