St. Dunstan’s Waitsfield: A Lesson in Spiritual Vitality & Creativity
All too often, the vitality of a congregation is defined by factors such as the condition of the church building, average Sunday attendance, average member age, and offering income. Amid frequent media reports of churches shrinking and closing, it can be easy to overlook the hidden strengths of small congregations and what they can teach us about spiritual vitality and creativity. St. Dunstan’s in Waitsfield is one such gathering.
With an average Sunday attendance of only six, St. Daunstan’s is tied with St. Paul’s, Windsor, for the distinction of smallest congregation in the Vermont diocese. Since its founding in the 1970s, the self-proclaimed “gypsy church” has gathered in many locations around the Mad River Valley, including the Joslyn Round Barn, the Bundy Center for the Arts, the 1824 House Inn, and the Sugarbush Conference Center. Its current home is The Valley Arts Art Gallery in Village Square Shopping Center at 5031 Main Street, and every Sunday morning, congregants pitch in to convert the room–about the size of a studio apartment–into a house of worship for all people.
The Rev. Sister Laurian Seeber, vicar, is planning to retire this year, “as soon as the first snowfall,” she says. But the spirit of ingenuity that makes St. Dunstan’s such a vital congregation continues. Watch the video slideshow: