Very Rev. Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges (Deceased)
December 24, 1947-February 25, 2021
Very Reverend Father Jon-Stephen Hedges was the son of a naval officer, and as such spent his youth moving about. He considered Colorado "home” and came to Isla Vista in 1968. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in cultural anthropology, and also completed a Masters in Orthodox Theology from St. Athanasius Academy.
He served as volunteer Chaplain with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, and several other agencies. Fr. Jon-Stephen served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Athanasius for many years, in addition to serving widely within the Santa Barbara community. 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).
He collaborated and consulted with several Santa Barbara County agencies on crisis, trauma, and disaster issues; was deployed by Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina as a Disaster Mental Health worker; 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.
Father Jon-Stephen was married to Kh, Melissa Hedges, the father of two grown children, Ben Hedges (Viktoria) and Sarah Brasel (Zach) and grandfather of Sydney, Cole, Ethan, Noah, Luke and Elias. His hobbies included hiking, fishing, and playing folk music.
"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
NAMING OF THE HEDGES HOUSE OF HOPE
in Isla Vista, California
In December 2021, the Community Services Department of Santa Barbara County submitted a nomination packet to the County Executive Office to rename the County-owned El Colegio Property (a homeless shelter) to the “Hedges House of Hope” in honor of the V. Rev. Fr. Jon-Stephen Hedges, who reposed in the Lord on February 25, 2021. On February 8, 2022, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved this nomination.
The Hedges House of Hope program provides shelter operations, essential services, case management, housing navigation, public health and behavioral health services, and links to substance use disorder treatment services with the objectives of linking individuals to a permanent or safe housing resource and preventing community spread of Covid-19.
- To watch a video of the February 8, 2022 meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which includes many beautiful testimonies in support of this nomination and memories of Fr. Jon-Stephen’s life and work, go to: http://sbcounty.granicus.com/player/clip/4256?view_id=3&meta_id=522248&redirect=true
- To read the letters of support in favor of this nomination, click HERE.
Video of Fr. Jon's funeral services can be viewed on the
St. Athanasius Facebook page:
Funeral for a Priest: