St. James’ Arlington names the Rev. Mark A. Thompson as priest-in-partnership
Appointment is ‘homecoming’ for priest with strong Vermont ties
ARLINGTON, VERMONT—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.
St. James’ Episcopal Church today announced the appointment of the Rev. Mark A. Thompson, 55, as priest-in-partnership. In this role, the Rev. Thompson will be responsible for providing leadership and spiritual guidance for the congregation, which has been in the process of discerning a future rector since the Rev. Scott B. Neal left in 2015. The Rev. Thompson will begin his new role on August 1, 2017.
Ordained just shy of 25 years ago, the Rev. Thompson describes his latest appointment as a homecoming. Not only has his mother lived in Vermont for many years—in Newport to be exact—but his brother-in-law is a retired Episcopal priest who served in New York and Maine.
“St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Fair Haven was my sponsoring parish when I was called to the priesthood,” said the Rev. Thompson, expounding on his Vermont connection. “I was ordained in 1992 by the Right Reverend Daniel L. Swenson, eighth bishop of the Diocese of Vermont, at a ceremony hosted by St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw, Indiana.”
The Rev. Thompson 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. Now that things have come full circle, the Rev. Thompson brings with him a wealth of experience to Vermont available to both the St. James parish and the Arlington community.
Now that things have come full circle, the Rev. Thompson brings with him a wealth of experience to Vermont available to both the St. James parish and the Arlington community.
The Rev. Thompson continued, “The big picture for me will be working with core leadership to strengthen St. James’ outreach, growing the parish, and collaborating with arts organizations and social services, all of which are vital to the community.”
Describing his previous experience in these areas, the Rev. Thompson recounted his five years as chair of the commission on liturgy and music in the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, responsible for multicultural liturgies such as Native American, Hispanic, Hmong, and others. He also discussed his work commissioning ministry teams, training deacons, readying adults for catechism, and preparing individuals for ordination as priests.
Patricia Gordon Michael, St. James’ Senior Warden, said, “Father Thompson brings depth and breadth of intellect, knowledge, energy and experience to St. 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.”
“The vote to call Father Thompson was unanimous and we are delighted that he has agreed to join us as our priest.”
In the featured photo: The Rev. Mark A. Thompson. Photo credit: Ellie Watkins