St. John’s Episcopal Church in Gloucester announces Marya DeCarlen as new priest-in-charge

St. John's Church
Posted Sep 8, 2023

St. John’s Episcopal Church is delighted to announce that after a two-year search, the Reverend Marya DeCarlen is their new priest-in-charge—or as she prefers to call herself, “priest-in-collaboration.”

DeCarlen most recently served as rector of All Saints of the North Shore in Danvers and previously at St. James Church in Groveland. Her first Sunday at St. John’s is September 17 at the 9:30 am worship service. All are invited to attend the service and a welcoming reception directly afterward.

With over 40 years of ministry experience, she has been actively involved in the Diocese of Massachusetts with clergy support groups, as a volunteer chaplain at the Barbara C. Harris Camp and Conference Center, and as a member of the Merrimack and North Shore Deanery.

Her community involvement includes serving as a board member of the Masconomet Educational Foundation, as Lead Clergy for Community Conversations with Peabody Mayor’s Office, ministering with inmates in the Essex County Jail, and as an international missioner to the Dominican Republic.

DeCarlen holds an MDiv from Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She has two college-aged sons, Michael and Jacob, and a four-year-old rescue Labrador named Frankie.

In a heartfelt note to St. John’s, DeCarlen writes, “I recognized in you a community seeking relationship with one another as well as the world around you. . . . The fresh wind of the Holy Spirit will help us become the community we are being called to renew at St. John’s and beyond. I look forward to our future together, joining with you in St. John’s many important ministries.”

Current wardens, Katharine Newhouse and Patricia Anders, are excited to work with DeCarlen as they work together with the parish to minister to the Gloucester community. “Marya has a gentle and loving soul,” says Anders. “And I know she will be a great blessing to us all.”

Founded in 1863, St. John’s original mission was to provide a safe refuge for the Canadian Maritime fishermen who came to Gloucester during the American Civil War. During those years, the early rectors of St. John’s sought to care for the needs of these visiting fishermen both spiritually and physically.

True to its original mission, St. John’s continues to serve the Gloucester community through its multiple outreach programs, including helping found the Grace Center and working with AA, Action Inc., and Open Door.

A welcoming and affirming church, St. John’s is located at 48 Middle Street in downtown Gloucester. For more information, visit

For more information, contact Elizabeth de Veer, Parish Administrator,