Priest Joel Wilson
Father Joel is originally from Indiana and converted to Orthodox Christianity in 2002. He and his wife (Presvytera Tessi) were married in 2007, relocated to St. James in 2014, and have a beautiful and ever-growing family with seven children (Mara, Winifred, Liam, Edmond, Ethel, Damian, and soon-to-be Alfred). Fr. Joel graduated from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity in 2012 and is the founding priest here at Annunciation.
A Brief Biography
Fr. Joel was born and raised in Crawfordsville, IN. Originally part of the Baptist Church, his family joined the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) in 1986. In the summer of 2002, the entire community of St. Stephen the First Martyr converted to Orthodoxy and joined the canonical Orthodox Church in America under the direction of the late Archbishop Job.
After graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in New Media, during the summer of 2004 Fr. Joel joined Archbishop Job in Chicago to serve as his subdeacon for the return trip of the Tikhvin Icon to Russia and until the end of 2004.
In 2006 Fr. Joel met his wife-to-be, Presvytera Theressa (Tessi), who was a catechumen living in Texas at the time. With Archbishop Job’s blessing, Fr. Joel moved to Texas to be with her where they both attended St. George the Great Martyr. They were married the next Spring at St. Anthony the Great parish in San Antonio and had their first child at the end of January, 2008.
In 2009, just after having their second child, they moved to Pennsylvania to attend St. Tikhon’s Seminary. During seminary, Fr. Joel was blessed with an opportunity to travel to Greece and visit the monasteries on Mount Athos with a professor and several classmates. Fr. Joel and Prsv. Tessi had their third child in April of 2011 and Joel was ordained to the Holy Diaconate by His Grace, Bishop Matthias on the Feast of St. Herman, Dec. 13, 2011.
After graduating from seminary with a Master of Divinity in May, 2012, Fr. Joel and family moved to St. Thomas the Apostle community in Springfield, MO where they also had their fourth child. With the blessing of Bishop Matthias, Fr. Joel and family worked to establish a new community in Rolla, MO for a year and a half. After nine months of visits to Rolla, holding Typika prayers every Saturday, and having been given the name of Annunciation, His Grace, Bishop Alexander (Golitsin) ordained Fr. Joel to the Holy Priesthood on Dec. 8, 2013.
Thanks be to God, because of a miraculous series of donations and a matching donation campaign in the spring of 2014, Fr. Joel and family purchased a home with just under six acres of land and moved to St. James, just outside of Rolla. They recently had their seventh child and work to grow the community alongside the faithful here at Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.