Thursday was a double-celebration at Papillion’s St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, as the congregation celebrated its 30th anniversary and formally welcomed its new Rector and priest, the Rev. Emily Schnabl.
Schnabl has actually been serving at St. Martha’s since April 2020, but the pandemic pushed back her formal installation.
“For a long time, it was me and five people, with me staring into a live streaming camera. ‘Hi! I’m your new priest,’” she said. “Last summer, I did a lot outdoors. Took my lawn chair and met people in parks.”
Eventually, they began outdoor services, and then a drive-in style Christmas celebration.
“I like problem solving. How can we bring something that feels the most churchy while not jeopardizing people?”
The Chicago native has deep ties to Papillion. She is a descendant of the Fase family on her mother’s side. Great-great grandfather Andrew Fase was one of Portal’s earliest settlers. Her great-great uncle David Fase was Sarpy County treasurer for 12 years, and a member of the school board. Her grandmother, Jessie Fase Samuel, was clerk of the district court in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
“My mother would talk about Papillion and how she would detassel corn when she was in high school,” Schnabl said.
Schnabl and her husband, Rev. David Stock, were looking to move away from Oklahoma to be closer to her father in Chicago (who has recently passed) when she got the job listing for St. Martha’s.
“I feel very comfortable here,” she said. “I love the sense of community.”
Her husband leads St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lincoln. It was his turn to commute, Schnabl said.
Papillion Mayor David Black was on hand for the service to deliver a city proclamation for the anniversary. The 200-member congregation takes pride in having started in a small catering hall. Its new home is at 780 Pinnacle Drive in Papillion.