Dear Friends of Saints James and Andrew,
We are writing with an exciting announcement. This fall the Clergy, Wardens, and Vestries of Saints James and Andrew and St. John’s in Athol were invited by our diocese to explore the possibility of calling a newly ordained cleric to serve ⅓ time in each parish, creating a ⅔ time position as part of a two year holy experiment. Such a position would allow a newly ordained cleric to gain experience as a Priest-in-Charge while serving at St. John’s in Athol; receive mentoring and coaching from a seasoned Rector; and create an altogether new position at SsJA, a Missioner for Community, Formation, and Outreach that would allow us to put resources where the Holy Spirit is already busy at work. The holy experiment would also support our diocese's ongoing efforts to form and prepare newly ordained priests for ministry and explore a new model of clergy leadership in a changing Church.
Both Vestries met with a newly ordained priest, the Rev. Jimmy Pickett. After prayer and discernment, St. John’s Vestry called Rev. Jimmy as their Priest-in-Charge, and SsJA Vestry called him as our new Missioner for Community, Formation, and Outreach. This two year holy experiment will begin on December 1, 2023.
Rev. Jimmy grew up in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts before running away to Maine,
Michigan, and Boston to study agriculture, grow food and pray in community, and explore monastic life in the Episcopal Church. While a student at Virginia Theological Seminary, he helped to expand the community garden in the middle of campus and collaborated with fellow students and faculty in efforts to strengthen the environmental ministry of Cultivate VTS. Jimmy believes deeply in the fact that God empowers each of us with a vocation and that the Sacraments feed us to go out into the world to live out that vocation. Some of you may remember meeting Rev. Jimmy on Pentecost, when he served as a deacon in our liturgy and offered the sermon.
Here at SsJA, Rev. Jimmy will focus his 13 hours a week in the following ways:
We also have three specific upcoming events that we hope you will help spread the word about.
Wednesdays at 8 a.m. starting December 6
Rev. Jimmy will offer a spoken service of Holy Eucharist on Wednesdays at 8 a.m.
during Advent, followed by a small coffee hour. We hope in the next month or so to
gather those interested in a midweek service to further explore the best time in the new
year. We hope you will join us on December 6 for Rev. Jimmy’s first service at SsJA.
Saturday, December 9 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Families are invited to gather in the Whiteman Room for a potluck and further conversation about how we can best support the growth and development of children in the parish, as well as the families raising them. Speak to Vestry Members Reynolds Whalen, Allyson Michal, and/or Kathryn Aubry-McAvoy to know more. Both clergy will be present for this event.
Sunday, December 17 at 10 a.m.
Rev. Jimmy will be with us and serve as our Celebrant.
We believe that by saying ‘yes’ to this holy experiment we are investing in Rev. Jimmy, St. John’s, our diocese, and the community of SsJA. We trust that it will deepen our spiritual and community roots, strengthening us for mission and ministry.
We hope you will pray for Rev. Jimmy, the people of St. John’s in Athol, and our own parish as we lean in and grow together during this holy experiment.
Rev. Heather J. Blais,
On behalf of SsJA Vestry