RIP: The Rev. Stefani S. Schatz, canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of California

Posted Jul 20, 2017

[Diocese of California] Stefani S. Schatz grew up in Santa Barbara, California, and it was her wish that, after 14 months of struggling with cancer, she would come home to spend her last days there. On July 7, she arrived in Santa Barbara, a place she loved. She passed away on five days later on July 12.

Schatz was born in Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 24, 1962, and moved with her family to Santa Barbara in 1966. She graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California, and the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She became an Episcopal priest in 2001 and had the honor to minister in Hermosa Beach, California; Manchester, United Kingdom; Reno, Nevada; San Francisco and Alameda, California.

Schatz was talented and had many gifts, and those who knew her described her with one word above all: JOY. This was evident during her ministry as an Episcopal priest. Her final calling was to be canon to the ordinary to Bishop Marc Handley Andrus in the Diocese of California. She called herself the “Mobile” canon, joyfully visiting all the parishes.

Schatz was the first woman to be canon to the ordinary in the Diocese of California. She was a tremendous advocate for women in the church, having founded the “Breaking the Episcopal Glass Ceiling” Facebook group. In Schatz’s words:

“This is a group for Ordained Episcopal Women whose goal is more women bishops! Together we will: build friendships, support vocational wonderings, share wisdom, identify complexities, listen to frustrations, and celebrate successes with generous respect, deep listening, and abundant trust — with God’s help!”

Schatz also provided special care and guidance to vicars, the priests who serve the diocesan missions. She gathered them monthly, forming a vibrant and mutually supportive community. Additionally, Stefani revised the diocesan curriculum for clergy in transition and made it responsive to current needs.

Schatz also developed the ministry of Andrus, and it was she who first encouraged him to travel to Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. “It is fair to say that the Episcopal Church would not be represented through the presiding bishop at the United Nations climate change summits if it were not for her,” said Andrus in a letter to the diocese. Now, the church has formal status at the annual meetings and will be, for the third year, taking an active role on behalf of Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.

Schatz is survived by her loving husband of 15 years, the Rev. Joseph F. Duggan; her mother, Iva Hillegas Schatz; father, Lawrence D. Schatz; sister, Heather S. Schatz; nephews, Oliver and Addison Chan Schatz; aunt, Melissa L. Hillegas; cousins, Hunter-Scott (Megan) Hillegas and Thatcher Hillegas; and relatives in Wisconsin, New York and Pennsylvania.

Family members who predeceased her are her uncle, the Rev. Lyle C. Hillegas, her aunt, Winifred Syring, her maternal grandparents in Wisconsin, and her paternal grandparents in Pennsylvania.

Services of Resurrection will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 30 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street, Santa Barbara, and Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Instead of flowers, contributions “In Memory of Stefani Schatz” may be made to St. Margaret’s Visiting Professorship of Women in Ministry at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

The address is:

2451 Ridge Road Berkeley, CA 94709
Attn: Advancement Department.


Comments (4)

  1. The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas says:

    This is such sad news. I was so blessed to know Stefani and be her professor at Episcopal Divinity School. She was indeed a person who radiated the JOY of Jesus. Rest in peace and rise in glory, dear sister. Ian

  2. Chris Yaw says:

    Stephanie is an amazingly talented woman – her smile lit up a room – her laughter put smiles on everyone’s face – and her passion for Jesus inspired her seminary friends like me to seek the Lord in all we did. You are a star Steph – you enrich us all!

  3. Mike Bell says:

    I was very fortunate to have Stefani as a mentoring senior student my first year of seminary. She was a very positive person and brought her love of others to the forefront in all who dealt with her.

  4. Stefani’s ministry was indeed expansive! Although I never had the honor of meeting her in person she reached out to me and many others through her digital presence. She always sought the uplift of Christ’s body the church and the utilization of all the gifts of all its members for ministry. She will be remembered with gratitude by many across the country.

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