Micah Thompson wanted to study engineering, but while attending church camp, he opted to change his focus.
“I grew up in the church,” Thompson said, “and I decided I wanted to help people with their spiritual journeys and give them a sense of direction. I haven’t looked back.” Now living in Hinesburg, Thompson majored in biblical studies and world religion at Wheaton College and followed that with a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
“It’s a real privilege to be able to do what I do,” he said. “I get to walk with people in exciting and challenging times of their lives.”
The decision to move to Vermont from Connecticut three years ago was not one Thompson made lightly. “We were in a space of transition and looking at different opportunities,” he said, “but we really wanted to stay in New England.”
Thompson took an appointment at St. Timothy Anglican Church, which rents space from Ascension Lutheran Church in South Burlington. The church is a little over a decade old and averages 40 worshippers for their Sunday afternoon services.
“It’s a strong congregation with very compassionate people,” Thompson said. “We do a more traditional style of worship.”
Relocating to Vermont meant putting distance between Thompson’s children, Meg, now 4, and Levi, 8, and their grandparents, but there was an additional challenge.
“In other places, church may seem easier,” Thompson said, “because there is more of a cultural sense of Christianity. Vermont doesn’t have that but people are honest about it.”
While religiosity may not be high, Thompson is impressed by how much Vermonters care about community and being involved with things that matter to them.
“There is a real passion about intentional community and living and that is really wonderful,” he said. “Even if our faith is not the same, there is a lot we can agree on.”
The 37-year-old Thompson enjoys renovation projects and that is one of the reasons he and his wife Jen purchased an old farmhouse in Hinesburg.
“It’s a great place and a wonderful community,” he said. “We’ve gotten connected to the food shelf, youth soccer and Cub Scouts. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors, which wasn’t part of the culture in Connecticut. As a church we’re trying to work against isolation, which is a plague on modern society. We are simultaneously more connected and more isolated.”
Thompson noted that many members of his congregation have been through difficult times.
“One of the things we want to be about is the idea of restoration,” he said. “We want to help people identify problems, pray through them, and see how things can come back together.”
Thompson would like to grow the congregation but realizes that is difficult in a state like Vermont. “When I look to have spiritual conversations with people, I don’t assume we’re starting with common ground,” he said “but that can be a good thing. It can be a more honest conversation that way.”
Thompson continues to embrace his calling.
“I don’t know of any other profession that allows the same variety of experiences,” he said. “I’m in the room with newborn babies at the hospital and when people pass away. I’ve sat in nicely appointed living rooms and with people having lunch at the Waystation in Burlington. I don’t know of any other calling that allows you to hear people’s stories of high and low times. It’s exceptionally rewarding.”