St. James names the Rev. Mark A. Thompson as priest-in-partnership

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ARLINGTON — For Rev. Mark A. Thompson, his new appointment at St. James' Episcopal Church in Arlington is a homecoming of sorts.

Thompson, 55, is no stranger to the area, as his mother has been a long-time resident of Newport, Vermont and his brother-in-law served in both New York and Maine during his time as an Episcopal priest.

"St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Fair Haven was my sponsoring parish when I was called to the priesthood," said 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."

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, Thomson brings with him a wealth of experience to Vermont available to both the St. James parish and the Arlington community. Thompson has previously spent 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 and Hmong, and others. He has also done work commissioning ministry teams, training deacons, readying adults for catechism, and preparing individuals for ordination as priests.

"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," said Patricia Gordon Michael, St. James' Senior Warden. "The vote to call Father Thompson was unanimous and we are delighted that he has agreed to join us as our priest."

In his new role, 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 Reverend Scott B. Neal left in 2015. Thompson will begin his position as priest-in-partnership on August 1.

"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," said Michael.

"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," said Thompson. "All of which are vital to the community."

Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.

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