The Rev. Mark A. Thompson

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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 has announced the appointment of the Rev. Mark A. Thompson as Priest-in-Partnership. In this role, Father Thompson will be responsible for providing leadership and spiritual guidance for the congregation as it moves forward into the next phase of its more than 250-year history. The Very Rev. Christopher L. David has served as Interim Pastor at St. James’ since July 2015 and will end his tenure at the end of July. Father Thompson will begin his new role on Sunday, August 13, 2017 when he will Preside and Preach at the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist for the first time as Priest-in-Partnership at the 8AM and 10AM worship services.
“The priest-in-partnership position exists to encourage and empower congregations in a transition period,” the Rev. Thompson explained. “In this case, it’s a careful process to make sure that the lay leadership and I are working in tandem toward the congregation’s goal of calling a permanent rector.”
Ordained just shy of 25 years ago, the Rev. Thompson describes his latest appointment as a homecoming. Not only is his mother from Newport, Vermont but his brother-in-law is a retired Episcopal priest who served in the Vermont and New Hampshire areas.
“St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Fairhaven was my sponsoring parish when I was called to the priesthood,” said the Rev. Thompson, expounding on his Vermont connections. “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. Thomson 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, and preparing adults for catechism.
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.”
Founded in 1764, St. James’ Episcopal Church is the cradle parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. It is located on Historic Rte. 7A in the heart of Arlington at the intersection of Rte. 313West. Following the Revolutionary War, a group of families formed the Episcopal Society in 1784. The present stone church, built on the foundation of the 1803 building, was dedicated in 1831. St. James’ Episcopal Church is a welcoming community of open hearts and discerning minds, reaching out to all who wish to deepen their relationship with God, find fellowship and gain the support of caring and attentive people. It offers a warm welcome to every service and every event. The church is located at 46 Church Street, Arlington, Vermont, 05250, and holds Sunday services weekly at 8:00 and 10:00 AM. Additional information about the parish, its ministries, and community partnerships can be found online at