St. James Episopal Church Appoints Priest-in-Partnership
A congregation known for its open table and open hearts has tapped a priest with strong Vermont ties and a track record for community engagement as its new lead cleric.
Saint James’ Episcopal Church has appointed the Reverend Mark Thompson as Priest-in-Partnership to provide leadership and spiritual guidance for the congregation as it moves forward into the next phase of its more than 250-year history. The Very Reverend Christopher David has served as Interim Pastor at Saint James’ since July 2015, and will end his tenure at the end of July. Father Thompson will begin his new role on Sunday, August 13, when he will preside at the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the 8 and 10 a.m. worship services.
“The priest-in-partnership position exists to encourage and empower congregations in a transition period,” Thompson explained. “In this case, it’s a careful process to make sure that the lay leadership and I are working in tandem toward the congregation’s goal of calling a permanent rector.”
Ordained just shy of 25 years ago, Thompson describes his latest appointment as a homecoming. Not only is his mother from Vermont but his brother-in-law is a retired Episcopal priest who served in Vermont and New Hampshire.
“St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Fairhaven was my sponsoring parish when I was called to the priesthood,” said Thompson, expounding on his Vermont connections. “I was ordained in 1992 by the Right Reverend Daniel Swenson, eighth bishop of the Diocese of Vermont, at a ceremony hosted by Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw, Indiana.” He stayed five more years in Indiana before accepting various ministry appointments in the Diocese of Minnesota, where he served in both permanent and transitional leadership roles.
Patricia Gordon Michael, Saint James’ senior warden, said, “Father Thompson brings depth and breadth of intellect, knowledge, energy and experience to Saint James’ along with a passion for worship that offers the best we have to God and an obvious commitment to pastoral care in all its aspects. The vote to call Father Thompson was unanimous and we are delighted that he has agreed to join us as our priest. We welcome him with joyful hearts and willing hands to work with him as our leader and guide as we move forward with unity and renewed commitment to the future we have been preparing for and anticipating with hope.”
Founded in 1764, Saint James’ Church is the cradle parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, located on Route 7A in the heart of Arlington. Additional information about the parish, its
ministries and community partnerships can be found at stjamesarlingtonvt.org.