KILLINGTON-After 14 years as the Canon Missioner for the Church
of Our Saviour at Mission Farm, the Rev. Diane Root is
She began her life in Killington August 1998. A lot has changed
since then, she says, particularly the people. In her first years,
Root remembers a large representation of those who knew
Killington's 'earlier life.' "Many have died or moved away... They
knew the history of the church so well," she reflects.
The church was built in 1817 of Vermont granite. It was then
founded by Elizabeth Wood Clement as an Episcopal church to serve
the residents of Killington, Bridgewater and Plymouth.
The Church has had many variations of its names since it was
built, including: The Church of Our Saviour, the Church of Our
Saviour at Mission Farm, the Mission of the Church of Our Saviour
and the Josiah Wood, Jr., Farm. On October 29, 1992, it was added
to the National Register of Historic Places.
Many of the changes over the last 14 years, have been a direct
result of Root's leadership. "I was really called on to be part of
the change," said Root. "The congregation at that time was looking
to get away from the model of 'church'… I view clergy as a
resource, to encourage and to coach. My task is not to preach the
law; it's more about saying 'let's wrestle with the gospel
together,'" Root says, adding "Ministry is the work of the whole
people of God… we see the congregation as the ministry."
Root also emphasizes the importance of making teachings
relevant. "If it doesn't resonate with life today we don't relate,"
she says. "I get to help people see the good news: God's justice
and compassion in the world."
MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY
The church has a strong ministry of hospitality, which started
before Root arrived and she expects will continue long after she's
The guesthouse is a central part of that mission. The early
owners initially converted the 'wagon shed' into the guesthouse
said Root, remembering that "They always used to laugh at me for
calling it a 'carriage barn.'"
The current guesthouse, which has been upgraded many times
since, offers groups and individuals a retreat; a music camp was
currently staying there Root said, Thursday.
Additionally, the church provides a peaceful place for locals
and visitors to pray or meditate, keeping the doors open whenever
It also hosts concerts that are open to all, and it is the rain
venue for Killington's summer concert series.
"We have become a local watering hole for walkers and dogs, too,"
Root explains. "Many local walkers with their dogs pass the church
regularly as this is one of only flat places to walk in
Killington." Under Root's leadership, one way the congregation has
been able to build partnerships with the community is through a new
trail system on the church's 170 acre property, which are being
developed in cooperation with the Town of Killington. The church
offers drinking water outside its front door with a dog bowl and a
Over the years, one of the most popular events continues to be
the Blessing of Animals, on Oct. 4, for Feast of Saint Francis,
Root and her partner Margaret Campbell moved to Vermont be
together, "it was such an open, healthy and encouraging environment
to become part of."
"We came, met the people, saw the place; it was such a positive
environment, we instantly felt like this was home," she said.
Adding "we got jobs within 36 hours of each other!"
The Church of Our Saviour at Mission Farm was the only church
Root applied to. It was a regional ministry position, which was
especially exciting to her at the time, she recalled. She became
part of the Three Rivers Regional Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese
of Vermont, which meant that she spent part of her time in Bethel,
for most of the time she lived here.
Root and Campbell will be moving to West Lebanon, NH at the end of
the month. "It's part of our tradition, when we leave a community
we take time away," Root explained. "It's a healthful and loving
goodbye for now."
In small communities it can be especially hard to detach for
both the congregation and the minister, she says. "So it's best to
leave for a while."
It also helps others to take over. "The congregation needs to
take time to discuss the direction they want to move in without me;
it's a good opportunity for them… I can still be a neighbor and a
friend but not a leader."
The Mission Farm congregation will likely have an interim
minister for six months to a year, Root said, explaining the
typical timeline. The Bishop will help find interim ministers who
are usually retired or bi-vocational.
Root expects she will miss the rhythm of the parish life,
preparing sermons, and being part of this community.
Root's last sermon will be delivered this Sunday, August 12, at
9:30 a.m. All are welcome. Then she will be on vacation until the
end of the month "frantically packing."
Celebration planned for August 11
KILLINGTON- The congregation also hopes members of the Killington,
Bridgewater and Plymouth communities will join them at the Church
on Saturday, August 11, to celebrate Diane Root's ministry with
them and to wish her and her partner, Margaret Campbell, well in
An informal social hour at 5 p.m. will be followed by
dinner at 6 p.m. and a Vesper Service at 7:30 p.m.. Come just for
the social hour or for the full event.
Those planning to attend the dinner should please RSVP
to Pat Kent (802-775-7492) by August 9.
The historic Church of Our Saviour at Mission Farm is located at
316 Mission Farm Road, (just across from the Skyeship gondola) in