The Rev. Patrick Williams
The Rev. Patrick Williams, a Tennessee native and lifelong Episcopalian, is a clergy member of Trinity Church.

Meet the Ministry: The Rev. Patrick Williams, Pastoral Care

As Associate Director of Pastoral Care, the Rev. Patrick Williams tends to the spiritual needs of Trinity’s community, supporting parishioners through life’s moments of sadness, joy, and celebration. You might find Trinity’s newest clergy member officiating at a wedding or a baptism, visiting a homebound congregant, or simply lending a listening ear to those in need. Describing his call to the priesthood as a seed “planted long ago when I was a child” by others who saw something within him, Fr. Patrick says, “I really didn’t pay it a lot of attention for a while. It’s something that evolved over time.” But with the encouragement of “really good spiritual advisors who didn’t let me off the hook,” he began the discernment process that led him to the ministry.   

Before coming to Trinity, Father Patrick was the priest-in-charge of St. Martin’s and St. Luke’s in Harlem, and a chaplain at the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. We recently spoke with him about what he loves most about pastoral care, the gospel passage he lives by, and his vote for the best pizza in NYC. 

Please introduce yourself. What should our congregation know about you?  

I grew up in Jackson, Tennessee. I attended Tennessee State University, a historically Black university in Nashville. After that, I moved to Pittsburgh to do graduate work at Carnegie Mellon University before moving to New York City. I've always been an Episcopalian. One thing to note about me is that being a priest is one of the great joys of my life. I'm not sure what else I'd be doing right now if I could not be a priest. I love this work and look forward to getting to know the people of Trinity Church. 

What is pastoral care? What will you do in your new role? 

Pastoral care is all about being intentional, about being present with people. It could be in wonderful circumstances, such as the birth of a child, a new job, or a new apartment. It also could be in some really difficult circumstances, such as death, illness, or caring for a loved one. I’ll be making home visits and going to hospitals. But I’ll also just check in with people for a cup of coffee to find out what's going on in a particular season of life.  

What do you love the most about working in pastoral care? 

Making connections. I believe deeply that we are all made for connection. It’s what God wants us to do. God calls us to be in relationship with one another, regardless of our different circumstances, to come together as one human family.  

What are you most looking forward to about working at Trinity? 

I’ve never worked in a church with this many different things going on!  I’m looking forward to meeting all the people on Trinity’s staff and, of course, also the congregation. Together we have a chance to do something more than any of us could do by ourselves. Something to make the world just a little bit of a better place. 

What’s your favorite verse, quote, or poem? Share some words to live by. 

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus goes into the synagogue and stands up to read a passage from Isaiah. He says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” I keep coming back to that passage. It’s a way of reorienting myself toward what's really important: the mission of Jesus and ultimately what we are called to do as a church. 

What was the last book that kept you up way too late? 

It was a book my mom gave me, Stony the Road, by Henry Louis Gates Jr, about the Reconstruction era. The letters he unearthed really brought that period to life. It turned the light on for me in terms of what that time was about and helped me recognize some of the parallels we see today. 

Here’s a wild card: What’s saving your life right now?  

This job. It’s a new adventure for my family. We recently moved from Harlem to the Lower East Side. We're discovering a new neighborhood, a whole new way of life. That’s in addition to meeting new people in the congregation, making new friends, new colleagues, and beginning the work of bringing God's love to this part of God's world. All of that together is bringing me life right now. 

The Rev. Patrick Williams
The Rev. Patrick Williams and his family have recently relocated to the Lower East Side.

So you've changed neighborhoods. Have you found the best pizza yet? 

I'm a little biased, but I will say the best pizza in New York is made in my house on Friday nights. It's me, my son, and my daughter. We do all of it, starting from the dough. We have a wonderful time together. It's not so much about the taste. It tastes all right. But that is the best pizza for my money in New York City. 

How can people get in touch with you? 

You can email me at And of course, I'll be here on Sundays after services, so feel free to introduce yourself. I'll be introducing myself to everyone as well!  

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.