The Rev. William R. Coats has joined St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chatham as Interim Rector. Burt Rea, St. Paul’s Senior Warden, commented, “Bill’s depth and breadth of experience will be a great asset as we continue our discernment and rector search process. He is well known throughout the Diocese of Newark for his engaging sermons, enthusiasm and positive energy.”

Rev. Coats graduated from UCLA, served three years in the US Army and entered General Theological Seminary, earning his Masters of Divinity degree. He embarked on a 13-year journey as an Episcopal Chaplain, serving first at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the University of California in San Diego and the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Parish life then beckoned, and Bill served as Rector of Redeemer in Pittsburgh, PA, for seven years and then as Rector of St. Clements in Hawthorne, NJ for 10 years. He is now retired and lives with his wife in Hohokus, NJ. When asked about his challenge as interim at St. Paul’s, he said, “The congregation has already made great progress in their discernment process. Although we will have a short time together, we can have fun while we think about growth, and how we make our faith known in the community.”

St. Paul’s Discernment and Selection Committee, led by Frank Willis, continues to meet regularly, hosting parish meetings, redesigning the church website and creating a church profile for rector candidates. For more information, please contact the church office at 973-635-8085 or by email at