The Rev. Norman Runnion, member of this parish and priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, 85, of Brookfield, died early Saturday morning, June 20th, 2015 at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. Norm was a journalist/war correspondent and Editor of the Brattleboro Reformer before answering his call to ordained ministry in mid-life. He served as Rector at St. Martin's Fairlee until his retirement and served many parishes in a supply capacity.
A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at St. John's on Wednesday, July 8th at 2 pm with a reception to follow. Calling hours are from 2:00-4:00pm Sunday, June 28th at the Day Funeral Home in Randolph.
"Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting."
A congregation gathers on a Sunday morning. There has been a lot of preparation. The altar has been set, bulletins have been printed, the heat turned up. The choir has practiced. Worship begins with The Word: Scripture and sermon, hymns and prayers have challenged and inspired. At God's Table, all come to to be reconciled to God and one another through Christ's body and blood. Renewed and strengthened we are Sent to live into our calling as apostles in the world. But first... the fellowship of coffee hour awaits. The Church, St. Paul said, is the body of Christ and each a member. It's true! Never perfect, filled with all sorts and characters and yet, a beautiful living organism of God's grace.
Proper 8: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15 | Mark 5:21-43
Living in the country is decidedly different than living in a suburban environment. Jane and I have now passed our twelfth anniversary of moving from the suburbs of northeast Ohio to the hillsides of central Vermont. Anticipating this change of venue required preparation and adjustment, not the least of which was planning for a greater degree of self-sufficiency. No longer could we expect the same degree of reliability in our electrical supply. No longer could we expect (and in some ways, desire) the same personal indifference to our local environment and weather. No longer could we expect utility companies to immediately descend on us when tree limbs blocked our paths following storms. There might come times when it just wasn’t possible to get to the grocery store on a moment’s notice. We armed ourselves, as most Vermonters with generator, tractor and plow, chainsaw and wood stove; diesel, gasoline, wood, and a chest freezer and pantry full of food. The name of the game was to be able to be totally independent if need be for several days, until bad weather blew over and life resumed its normal degree of connectedness.
But in many ways self-sufficiency is illusory. In August 2011, the rains of Tropical Storm Irene poured down on our heads, homesteads, fields, forests and rivers putting any notion of independence to flight. Suddenly 5-6 days without electricity, communications or even roads tasked the wealth of our reserves beyond their limit. Fuel ran scarce. Keeping perishable food edible, problematic. For some neighbors a ready supply of water for drinking, much less bathing became a challenge. No chainsaw would make passable roads and bridges that simply no longer existed. The key lesson that Irene taught us was that our true wealth was in our interconnectedness; that though great disasters might render us individually inadequate, our greatest resource was indeed our friends and neighbors. We gathered (as best we could) as community, and collectively made sure that whatever we had that a neighbor needed was readily available. We pooled our gifts and blessings for the benefit of all. I think this wisdom sits firm as bedrock for most rural folk and is bred in the bones of most Vermonters.
Read more: This Week's Sermon
“the tree of life”
Lifting up and tearing down. We are in a time of tearing down symbols of division and hatred, pride and hypocrisy.
After a heinous act of racism took the lives of nine God-fearing Christians at Emanuel AME, Charleston, South Carolina, the cry has sounded, “remove the Confederate Flag from public spaces!” It is a symbol of division and boasting of power; personally, culturally, and institutionally. Corporations are removing merchandise branded with it. Government entities are taking steps. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol Wednesday morning, saying it was simply "the right thing to do." [Huffington Post, 6/24/2015] From the Sunday Lectionary upcoming proper 9 St. Paul writes “about this, the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Read more: Rector's Message
"We are the Episcopal Church, welcoming all and practicing our faith through worship, discipleship, fellowship and service."
Transcripts of earlier sermons