John Roop

John Roop


The Rev. John Roop is a Knoxville, Tennessee, native and was a third-generation member of the Christian Church, where he served as deacon, elder, and teacher. He and his wife, Clare, were drawn to the Anglican Church by the rhythm of the daily office, the richness of liturgy, and the presence of a sacramental worldview. John was ordained to the priesthood in May 2015. He serves as Assisting Priest at Apostles Anglican Church in Knoxville. John and Clare have one daughter who is currently in college studying secondary science education. John enjoys playing and composing music for various instruments and reading—with coffee, of course.

A Year of First Blessings

Posted on May 17, 2016

So, you now know the origin of this blog title: First Blessing. It is also traditional that first blessings are too special to be restricted to one day; the new priest gives first blessings for an entire year. So, I have set my heart and hand to writing these public reflections of the life of…

New Fire

Posted on April 19, 2016

It was dark as we gathered for the Great Vigil of Easter and the items were tucked out of sight, so I doubt anyone noticed their presence. I had carefully prepared the kindling for the new fire and was poised to strike steel to flint, praying for a spark, praying for a fire to herald…

Falling and Getting Up

Posted on March 21, 2016

The sign on the trail to the falls could not have been clearer. Do not climb on the rocks, it said. The rocks are very slippery, it said. You will fall, it said. I climbed on the rocks. They were very slippery. I fell – hard. Lying a bit dazed on my back, half in…


Posted on March 1, 2016

Last week I received a lapel pin to commemorate twenty-five years of service to public education. It has actually been twenty-seven years, but my school system has only recently begun such recognitions and is a bit “behind.” I will not get a thirty year pin. When I close my calculus text in May, I will…

Longing for Simplicity

Posted on February 3, 2016

William of Occam (ca. 1287-1347), an English Franciscan friar and theologian, is perhaps best known for his heuristic principle, Occam’s Razor. It is stated in various ways: If two hypotheses explain a phenomenon equally well, prefer the one with fewer assumptions. Do not multiply entities unnecessarily. I used to tell my physics students that the…

What Do I Call You?

Posted on January 21, 2016

“What do I call you?” the bank teller asked as we conducted some routine financial transaction – a question prompted by the collar I was wearing. “I am an Anglican priest. Sometimes we are called Father and sometimes simply by first name. Whichever you please is fine.” This is what I wish I had said,…

Questions Not Asked

Posted on January 2, 2016

Sometimes the questions not asked are as telling as those actually posed. As a priest I have not been asked about the Christian response to ISIS, the Syrian refugee crisis, illegal immigration, gun control, climate change, or any of a host of other ethical questions. I wonder why. And I wonder how – if not…


Posted on December 28, 2015

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter (2 Thess 15, ESV throughout). I recently ran afoul of the rubrics – not seriously afoul (a minor “infraction” so my stole will not be yanked) and not truly of…

Herding Cats

Posted on December 15, 2015

Comedians often use humor as social commentary. A joke can slip through our defenses, expose our hidden hypocrisy, question our cherished beliefs, scrutinize our preconceived notions, and all this while making us laugh at ourselves. Such jokes are nearer parables than we often realize. They are humorous precisely because we recognize some grain of truth…

Things Done In Secret

Posted on December 1, 2015

As a new priest, I am careful to follow the liturgical rubrics in the prayer book as well as those that exist as a matter of local custom: bow here, make the sign of the cross now, kneel during this part of the service, extend arms in orans for this prayer, lay hands upon the…