A descendant of several founders of Hartford, Connecticut, Father Alton was born in Manchester, Connecticut in 1955 and attended public schools in nearby Bolton where he played the organ in the local Roman Catholic parish church during High School. He attended Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and graduated from Boston College (A. B. Theology, Magna cum laude 1978) where he met his future wife Barbara Ann Bernardi in The University Chorale. Father and Mrs. Alton were married October 20, 1979 in Newton, Massachusetts making their home in Riverside, Connecticut. Their son Francis was born in New York City in 1982. He was a chorister at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue under Dr. Gerre Hancock and is a graduate of The Groton School in Groton Massachusetts.
While studying for the priesthood at the Yale Divinity School (M.A.R., 1982), Father served as seminarian at Saint Paul’s-on-the-Green in Norwalk, Connecticut under The Rev’d Timothy Campbell-Smith. After completing a Certificate in Anglican Studies from General Theological Seminary (1988), he was ordained a deacon in 1988 by The Rt. Rev’d Arthur E. Walmsley. On February 25, 1989 Father was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Connecticut by The Rt. Rev’d Clarence Nicholas Coleridge serving two parishes as curate before his appointment as Senior Curate at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in the Diocese of New York. During their time in New York, Barbara also worked at Saint Thomas Church as secretary to the Rector, The Rev’d Canon John G. B. Andrew.
From 1997-2007, Father Alton was Rector of Saint Mark’s Church on Locust Street in Philadelphia while Barbara served The Diocese of Pennsylvania as executive assistant to Bishop Bennison. During Father’s tenure the parish grew considerably. He established an active Friends of Music program and expanded opportunities for several new ministries beyond the parish. In 2007 the Altons returned to their home in Connecticut where Father served as Priest-in-Charge of Saint Andrew’s Church, Stamford while Barbara worked at the New York headquarters of the American Academy in Rome and The Healthcare Chaplaincy.
Father Alton returned to Pennsylvania in 2012 and presently serves as Rector of The Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont. He is a member of The Society of Catholic Priests, The Widows Corporation in Pennsylvania, The Men’s Garden Club of Philadelphia, The New England Historical and Genealogical Society and The Union League of Philadelphia. He and Barbara are active members of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem and The Society of Mary.
Thrilled and humbled at his election as XIXth Rector of Saint Clement’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Father Alton will be Instituted Rector by The Bishop of Pennsylvania, The Rt. Rev’d Clifton Daniel 3rd during Solemn High Mass for The Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels on Monday, September 29 at 7 p.m.