The Rev. Franklin (Skip) Vilas
With the Rev. Gammons’ retirement in 2000, we were shepherded by a part-time interim rector, the Rev. Franklin (Skip) Vilas. The Rev. Vilas had previously served at St. Paul’s Church (Chatham, NJ). During the 1970s he was Priest-in-Charge of Trinity Church, Wall Street, and St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan.
During his tenure at All Saints, the Rev. Vilas also served on the board of Partners for Environmental Quality, now known as GreenFaith, a New Jersey-based interfaith environmental coalition.
From the pulpit, he exhorted us to examine what we do in service, as well as why we worship as we do. His sermons, which tended to be succinct, referenced the day’s lesson or Gospel and frequently focused on scriptural connections to environmental, human rights, or other topical issues.
Among his most noteworthy sermons was the one Rev. Vilas offered following the horrific events of September 11. Not only did Rev. Vilas have long-held ties to the impacted area, but so did many parishioners—some of whom had friends or relatives who worked at the World Trade Center. He called on us to remain calm, not to rush to judgment, and to pray for the souls lost that day. The sermon and the sense of quiet, prayerful support provided one of many healing moments members have found at All Saints during challenging times.