St. Thomas & Grace Episcopal Church
Field Notes - Spring Edition They don’t tell you about mud season when you’re looking at houses in Vermont. . . . Jonathan and I have been settling in to our little mountain hollow for the past year, and we eased into things during the warm explosion of life in the summer, watched as the land transformed into a blaze of orange in the fall, and then watched again as snow blanketed the hills . . . and kept on coming! Now we’re in a season I’ve never experienced before in my life. I’ve seen springtime, and I’ve seen snow melt, but never have I ever seen anything like mud season up here.  All of this melting has gotten me thinking about change. Going from the stable frozenness of winter into the fecundity of summer seems to necessitate a messy and complex season of change in the landscape. The ground quite literally shifts under our feet as the land welcomes a new way of being. Similarly over the past year we as a community at St. Thomas and Grace have done some shifting and settling—not only in welcoming me as your Priest in Partnership but also in continuing to dive deep into an understanding of what it means to be the church in a time of great change for organized religion. The Core Ministry Team and the Vestry have done foundational work to understand how each can respond to the needs of this community and how we can all support each other in living out the Gospel both within our beautiful walls and out in the world. Over the next few months we will try on ways of meeting together in the community, such as meeting in a local pub to talk about God. We will also continue to deepen our spiritual vibrancy by leaning in to our worship and rooting ourselves in a familiarity with Scripture. As with mud season, it’s hard sometimes to believe that even though the ground is shifting it is still supporting us and we are not without traction. My prayer is that we will continue to lean into the muddy places of change that emerge in our lives together as followers of Jesus and as members of a worshiping community. God is still speaking in Brandon Vermont!
Rachel +
P. S.  When I wrote about the changing seasons a few weeks ago I had no idea just how much change we would all be facing: as a society, as individuals, and as a church community. I share the grief of many of you at not being able to gather together or share space together on Sunday mornings. This is indeed a time of great sadness, loss, anxiety, and fear—and in the past weeks I have also been strengthened by the reality that it is simultaneously a time of hope, new life, and deep faith. From Zoom coffee-hour meetings to online worship and so many more things, we are reminding ourselves and each other that we, and not the building, are the Church. On that morning that changed history Jesus greeted Mary alive and out in the garden. It was just the two of them. Since that day Christianity has been shared from person to person in homes, on the streets, and in wild places. We still have the opportunity to share in this tradition of worship in our own homes, to speak the hope of resurrection to each person we encounter, and to meet God again in the wild places of life. Christ is reaching to all of us and walking with us through this time of loss and grief: walking with us always to bring us from sorrow into joy, from loss into hope, and from death into new life. May it be so. 


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