Three years ago, Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church bade goodbye to retiring minister John Branson.
He’d done an enormous amount for the handsome building with the very active congregation in downtown Westport. In his farewell speech, Rev. Branson gave a heartfelt shout-out to Sue Ryan.
Now she’s leaving. And though even the greatest ministers come and go, a woman like her may be almost impossible to replace.
Her title is “parish administrator.” But that does not do her justice. Perhaps it should be “Wonder Woman.”
For 17 years, Sue has done just about everything. She’s the first person anyone sees in the church office. She’s a problem-solver — though she makes sure most issues never reach the problem stage. She’s a go-getter, a Ms. Fixit, an imperturbable, warm, genuinely friendly and ultra-caring woman.
Frances Rowland — the church’s former warden — calls her “everyone’s mother. She’s remarkable. Her worth goes way beyond her hours and her job.”
Sue organizes weddings, receptions and funerals. When parishioners call the church about illness, death and other tragedies, she’s the one who answers.
Sue is the first person in church in the mornings, and the last to leave at night. During the winter, she even shovels snow.
Sue has gone on 5 church mission trips. “The kids love her,” Frances says.
“We all do,” she adds. “Sue is everybody’s favorite person.”
Last night, Sue had her own farewell party at Christ & Holy Trinity. Appropriately, one of the speakers was Jessica Branson — whose father hired Sue 17 years ago.
“Your shoes cannot be filled,” Jessica said. “But I know they will take you on many exciting journeys in the years to come.”