There's a new face at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Bridgewater.

The Rev. Robert "Woody" Woodroofe, 68, took the reins as part-time priest at the congregation in early April during Holy Week.

The New Preston resident had been in retirement since the spring of 2007 but had served as a supply priest -- filling in for priests -- at a dozen parishes in Litchfield County.

"That had something to do with getting my appetite going," he said.

As a result, last fall the Rev. Woodroofe inquired with the bishop whether there were any part-time posts available in the area.

As it turned out, the Rev. David Gerniak had retired as priest of St. Mark's in June of 2009, leaving an opening.

The Rev. Woodroofe met with St. Mark's leadership in January and assumed his new duties just a few weeks ago.

"I find it an extremely friendly and warm congregation," the priest said, noting the church is doing an "impressive amount of ministry."

"The church itself is intriguing," he said. "It has a traditional design and a lot of energy and devotion."

Nancy Sutherland, the church historian, said she thinks the Rev. Woodroofe "is going to be a very comfortable fit."

"He seems to be very caring and has a quick understanding," she said.

The priest graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University and from seminary at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass. Ordained in 1968, he is a third-generation clergyman.

Through his career, he developed a medical ministry in Pittsburgh, where he served a parish, over a five-year period of teaching and counseling staff in community hospitals and the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

Over the years, he has held various diocesan posts. He led the diocesan internship program for the newly ordained, establishing a companion relationship with a South American counterpart and became dean of the Buzzards Bay deanery in the Diocese of Massachusetts.

Outside of church, the Rev. Woodroofe is a member of the Kent Singers and enjoys reading and golf.

The Rev. Woodroofe and his wife, Sally, moved to New Preston three years ago after he retired as the full-time priest of an Episcopal church in Massachusetts, where he had served for 13 years.

The couple chose New Preston to occupy Mrs. Woodroofe's ancestral home.