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St. Thomas & Grace Brandon Welcomes New Priest in Partnership

By Franci Farnsworth

BRANDON, VT – The Rev. Rachel Field joined St. Thomas and Grace Episcopal Church as priest in partnership on August 29. The position is a quarter-time role, an arrangement that will enable the Rev. Field to pursue her call as both a sacramental minister and an environmental educator and activist. The Rev. Field is part of the parish’s Core Ministry Team, the group charged by the parish’s leadership to address the spiritual needs of the parish. She is in Brandon for Sunday worship two or three times each month; on other Sundays, worship is led by visiting priests or lay people. The Rev. Field is also in Brandon at other times to attend meetings and build relationships with people in the parish and the community.

Prior to moving to Vermont last summer, the Rev. Field worked for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut as one of six regional missionaries who support the spiritual development and missions of parishes and lay leaders.

Rena McDonough, senior warden, commented, “We are excited by the gifts and talents that Rachel brings to St. Thomas & Grace. She has a quiet spirituality, sense of humor, passion for the environment and nature, and energy. She has experience helping groups figure out how to ‘be church’ in the twenty-first century.

The Rev. Field grew up as an Episcopalian. She graduated from Washington College in Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, worked as an ornithologist for a migratory bird banding station, and went to Yale Divinity School. She was ordained as a priest in 2016.

The Rev. Field commented, “I am drawn to St. Thomas & Grace partly because of the congregation’s strong environmental ethic – the garden, composting, recycling, reusing. I am also excited by their vision of being in partnership with a priest, which conveys a sense of shared ministry and ministry that goes beyond the more traditional ‘priest in charge’ model.”

The parish is planning a public welcoming event later this fall which will be announced in The Mountain, local news, on Facebook, and via the St. Thomas and Grace website,

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