The Rev. Stephen Heiks Paul, rector of the historic Sherwood Episcopal Church in Cockeysville, died Thursday of multiple myeloma at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Cockeysville resident was 50.
Father Paul had been rector since 1994 of the landmark stone church and cemetery on a hill overlooking Cockeysville, which was founded in 1830.
Previously, Father Paul had served three congregations in Mercer and McDowell counties in the coal country of southeastern West Virginia from 1990 to 1994.
"He was sharp, intelligent and directed, and we thought he could invigorate our church," said William Stump, editor of the parish newspaper and member of the church search committee that traveled to Appalachia to visit Father Paul after learning of his work among the impoverished people there.
"He was an extremely scholarly man who proved to be a wonderful pastor to the people of Sherwood. He was the kind of man who could give wonderful sermons without notes and stimulate people to do things," Mr. Stump said.
Mr. Stump described him as a "charming guy who spoke his mind and at times could be tough. However, he was a thorough human being who certainly made his mark in the short time that he had been in the diocese."
The Rev. P. Kingsley Smith, who was named priest-in-charge of the church after Father Paul was found to have myeloma last year, said, "He was a good friend and colleague, and I knew him to be a man of deep personal faith.
"He was a warm-hearted pastor, and I admired his courage as he faced his illness," he said.
"When he came to Sherwood, the important issue was how to grow the congregation," the Rev. John E. Kitagawa, an official of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, said Friday.
"He gathered them and talked to them. He emphasized the mission of the church, and the people heard him. What he accomplished at Sherwood will be his legacy. We've lost a very fine priest, pastor and good friend," he said.
Father Paul was born in Burlington, Wash., and raised in Waretown, N.J. He was the son of the Rev. William H. Paul of Whiting, N.J., a retired canon of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. His grandfather was a Russian Orthodox priest.
Father Paul was a 1967 graduate of the Kent School in Connecticut and earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Rutgers University, N.J., in 1971.
He worked for several years in Atlantic County, N.J., where he was in charge of a juvenile shelter. He later enrolled at the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn., where he earned his divinity degree in 1985 and was ordained an Episcopal priest.
"He wanted to serve people through the ordained ministry, and it was God's calling to him," said his wife of 13 years, the Rev. Frieda L. Malcolm, assistant rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson. She met her husband when the two were divinity students at Sewanee.
Father Paul was assistant rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville, N.J., from 1985 until 1987, when he was named assistant director of Trinity Counseling Service in Princeton, N.J. He served as interim rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Matawan, N.J., in 1990 before taking up his pastoral assignment in West Virginia.
His marriage to Diana Foster ended in divorce.
He was a member of the Valleys Ministerium and the Towsontown Rotary Club.
Father Paul enjoyed golfing and trout and bass fishing.
A memorial service will be held at 10: 30 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave., Towson.
In addition to his wife and father, Father Paul is survived by a son, Stewart M. Paul of Boca Raton, Fla.; two daughters, Christina Sears of Oakdale, Calif., and Emily M. Paul of Cockeysville; a brother, John H. Paul III of St. Petersburg, Fla.; a sister, Anne Schmidt of New London, Conn.; and two grandchildren.