The Rev. Dr. Warren Leibovitch has been serving at St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church since November 2020, but the pandemic delayed his installation until now.
The installation service will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday and overseen by the bishop of the Diocese of Arizona, The Right Rev. Jennifer Reddall.
Warren moved to Green Valley from Ontario, Canada, nearly a year ago. His wife, Annette, joined him here six weeks ago.
Warren was ordained as a priest in 1992 into the Diocese of Toronto and has served in several churches in Canada. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, and returned to his parish in Lindsay, Ontario, until he was selected to be the new rector at St. Francis.
In the 10 months he’s been in Green Valley he has become familiar with the community and recently took part in the annual hunger walk.
He recalled being in Arizona in 1988 during Lent. It was during that time that he pondered a major life question: “Should I decide to devote my life to being a priest?
“I was praying as I was hiking and left pretty assured God was calling me to be a priest. I see being a priest as a vocation, not a job,” he said.
Warren, 61, received a phone call in July 2019 about coming to St. Francis of the Valley. He arrived in early September and had three days of interviews. Three weeks later, he accepted the call.
Warren and his wife have three sons, ages 18, 21 and 23. He said the move was hard on them and they are still in Ontario.
As the local communities of Green Valley and Sahuarita emerge from the pandemic, Warren hopes to do work at the border.
“I want to connect more with communities beyond Green Valley, especially younger people and other faith groups with hopes of broadening St. Francis of the Valley.
“We’re involved with Mitzvah Day and hope to move forward gradually opening up more,” he said.
“It’s important to reconnect with people who have been separated and bring back that joy,” he said of his hopes for the days and weeks ahead.
Personal interests include cooking; he especially enjoys smoking food and experimenting. He also enjoys taking a daily walk with his wife and being outdoors in nature.