When we truly see the Lord, we will act in the world energized by what we receive at the Altar. We shall go forth in peace in the similitude of the Incarnation, acting as He would toward all people suffering in need. When we are there, it will be the intersection of Heaven and Earth. We will meet the Lord there on our own streets. – Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges
Memory Eternal! The Very Reverend Father Jon-Stephen Hedges reposed in the Lord on February 25, 2021 at Sarah House Santa Barbara after a brief illness. Born on December 24, 1947, Fr. Jon-Stephen was the son of a naval officer, and as such spent his youth moving about. He was raised in Long Beach, California, considered Colorado “home” and came to Isla Vista in 1968. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural anthropology, and also completed a Masters in Orthodox Theology from St. Athanasius Academy.
Father Jon-Stephen served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Athanasius for many years, in addition to serving widely within the Santa Barbara community. He served as volunteer Chaplain with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, and several other agencies serving in the aftermath of most Santa Barbara disasters. He was a Board-Certified Crisis Chaplain with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress; Certified Trauma Responder (CTR); and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B).
Familiarly known as Fr. Jon, he collaborated and consulted with several Santa Barbara County agencies on crisis, trauma, and disaster issues; was deployed by Red Cross and IOCC as a Disaster Mental Health worker to many disasters beginning with Hurricane Katrina; helped develop the St. Brigid Fellowship of St. Athanasius Church which serves the unsheltered in our community; and collaborated with Doctors Without Walls and many others to encourage his friends on the streets. He was retired from County of Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness and was employed at the time of his death by the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara County- Case Management and Development Consultant. His office was located at the Pescadero Lofts in Isla Vista. Father was a part of the development of Pescadero Lofts- a model project designed to bring persons experiencing homelessness off the streets of Isla Vista and into permanent housing.
Father Jon-Stephen was preceded in death by his parents John Woodrow Hedges and Virginia Lee Hedges. Father Jon-Stephen is survived by his wife, Khouria Melissa Hedges. They recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. He is survived his children, Benjamin Perry Hedges (Viktoria) and Sarah Frances Brasel (Zach), grandchildren Sydney, Cole, Ethan, Noah, Luke and Elias, brother Keith Hedges (Jacque), and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/StAthanasiusOrthodoxChurch. Donations may be made in Father’s memory to St. Athanasius Orthodox Church- Chaplain’s Fund. Per his wishes, distributions will be made to Sarah House, Doctors Without Walls, International Orthodox Christian Charities, and other charitable organizations dear to his heart.
May his memory be eternal!
“In the worst moments, there is infinite capacity for good.” – Fr. Jon Stephen Hedges