CFEONLINE News from the Diocese of Central Florida
Polk County Native Heeds the Call to Lead Bartow ChurchJune 20, 2017 • Jeff Gardenour  • DIOCESAN FAMILY • EPISCOPAL & ANGLICAN NEWS • LEADERSHIP

Born and raised in Lakeland, Becky Toalster always felt a special calling for Polk County, so much so that she prayed she could have her own congregation in the area.

Toalster’s prayers were answered on Sunday, May 7, when she was installed as rector at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Bartow, just 20 minutes from her hometown. Bishop Greg Brewer of the Central Florida Diocese conducted the installation, which drew approximately 125 people.

“It was a time of great joy and Spirit-filled worship!” said a joyful Toalster. “I was blessed to be surrounded by my Holy Trinity family, as well as other friends and family from around the diocese. It was a very special moment to look out and see all those who helped form and prepare me for this call and for what God has called me to do.”

Toalster grew up an Episcopalian, having been baptized at St. David’s in Lakeland, and then attending St. Stephen’s in Lakeland from 1987-2008. She attended Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, a seminary in the evangelical Anglican tradition that recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Upon graduation, Becky worked at the seminary for a few years before returning to Florida. She was ordained to the Diaconate in June 2011 and to the priesthood in April 2013.

She assisted at Holy Cross Church in Winter Haven from 2013-2014 and then at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Haines City for two years before hearing about the opening at Holy Trinity.

“In 2016, I heard that Holy Trinity was entering into the rector search process, and through some of the supply work I did during their interim period I fell in love with the congregation and prayed that God would see fit to call me here,” she said.

The rector has several goals for her time at Holy Trinity: “My dreams for the future here at Holy Trinity include a larger presence and ministry in the community of Bartow, and to continue raising up godly men and women who are ambassadors of Christ in the church and in the community.”

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