New regional canon named for diocese's Central Region

The Rev. Gregory Perez Courtesy photo The Rev. Gregory G. Perez

The Rev. Gregory G. Perez has been named regional canon for the Central Region of the Diocese of Massachusetts, which comprises the 60 congregations and other church-related institutions in the Boston Harbor, Alewife, Charles River and Neponset River deaneries.  His official start date will be Oct. 1.

For the past three years Perez has been the priest-in-charge of St. Stephen's Memorial Church in Lynn.  

“Gregory Perez is a deeply experienced priest with a gift for organization and a keen pastoral sensibility," Bishop Alan M. Gates said.  "In our diocese, his work with the Racial Justice Commission and with the Mission Strategy Committee’s project on clergy mental health have been but two of the ways he has shown how effective he will be in the role of regional canon.”

Perez has also been a member of the diocesan Hispanic Ministries Committee.  He speaks Spanish and English.

Perez will join the diocesan staff as one of three regional canons, each serving a geographic area of the diocese encompassing four deaneries.  Regional canons provide transition ministry with congregations and clergy involved in search processes for new ordained leadership; clergy wellness and family support; and lay leadership support and development in congregations.  Perez will work alongside the Rev. Canon Martha Hubbard (Northern and Western Region) and the Rev. Canon Kelly O'Connell (Southern Region), appointed in 2018 when the regional canon staffing structure was initiated.  The regional canons report to Assistant Bishop Carol J. Gallagher.

"I have had the joy to work with Gregory Perez in the Diocese of Newark long before he came to Massachusetts," Gallagher said.  "I am thrilled that he will be the regional canon for the Central Region.  His pastoral gifts of compassion, listening and creativity will bless the region and the whole diocese."    

Before his call to St. Stephen's in Lynn, Perez was the rector of Trinity Parish in Bayonne, N.J., and the executive director of the Windmill Alliance, a nonprofit community outreach and social service agency.  His prior ministry in New Jersey included a curacy at Grace Church Van Vorst in Jersey City and service as the executive director of the AIDS Resource Center, a nonprofit community development corporation of the Diocese of Newark.  In that diocese, he also served on the Commission on Ministry and the Diocesan Council.

Perez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the College of Santa Fe and a Master of Divinity degree from St. Meinrad School of Theology and Seminary.  He was ordained in 1986 in the Roman Catholic Church and ministered for 12 years in Texas, including as the dean of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral and as vicar for Latino community at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, both in Austin.  He was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church in 2005. 

While serving in Lynn, Perez has been a member of the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) Clergy Caucus and the United Lynn Pride Committee, as well as the Interim Ministry Network, through which he has a certification in transition ministry fundamentals.

"I believe that my career to date, diverse identities and lived experiences will be of value to this diocese as a regional canon, and I am honored to be a member of the diocesan staff and very much look forward to this ministry," Perez said.