St. John’s Welcomes the Rev. Duncan Hilton

The Vestry of St. John’s Church is delighted beyond words to announce the hiring of The Reverend Duncan Hilton as Priest in Charge.

St. John's Priest in Charge
The Rev. Duncan Hilton

Duncan comes to St. John’s and the Diocese of New Hampshire on August 24th, 2020 after serving as Priest for Discipleship and Discernment at St. Michael’s in Brattleboro, Vermont since 2017. You can read a complete bio here.

We will celebrate Duncan’s first service at St. John’s on August 30. We are not yet certain what form that service will take in this new COVID-19 world, but stay tuned to this blog and our web site for more information to come.

We couldn’t be more pleased with our choice, and we look forward to seeing our world and our selves anew with Duncan’s guidance.

News from the Vestry

The search process for a new rector for St. John’s is nearing an end. Your Vestry has been diligently seeking desirable, qualified candidates for the rector’s post since Susan retired last fall. The difficulties were several. We needed to find an individual who was willing to take a part-time position on the fringes of the diocese for the amount of money we were able to offer. And the person needed to fit the personality of our group. The person also needed to be endorsed by the diocese, Bishop Rob in particular. With the assistance of Canon Gail Avery and Bishop Rob we were able to identify two candidates, both of whom were interested. We have selected a candidate and the job has been offered. We will have more news as it happens.

In other news, the Vestry has decided to take a break from hosting our own Sunday Zoom services until the end of the summer, when we will have a new priest and can make new and better plans for our worship services and can return to our church for communion and fellowship.

We know many parishioners are worshiping via online services held by other churches with which they are familiar. We are sharing links for the worship options offered by Bishop Rob and the NH Diocese, as well by Bishop Curry and the National Church, on the St. John’s website. After attending your service of choice, join us for coffee hour at 11:30 AM each Sunday until services resume, and share the pearls you gleaned.

We are looking forward to the future and to the changes that are inevitable.

Please pray for the parish and the St. John’s community. Please also remember George Floyd and pray that the changes and the upheaval that are happening in our country result in justice and real equality for the victims of systemic discrimination in our country.

Al Sparks
For the Vestry

Welcome to the Rev. Dn. Johanna Young

Bp. Hirschfeld has appointed Rev. Dn. Johanna H. Young to serve at St John’s. She will participate in the Eucharist with the usual deacon assignments. She will also bring to St John’s the traditional focus of deacons, service as a sign or sacrament of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve.

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
Psalm 137:4

Johanna lives with her husband, Lindley Rankine, and their 11 year old cat, Benita by a pond, they call Beatitude Pond, in Washington, NH.

Born in Concord, NH, she moved with her family to Bolton, Connecticut when she was a toddler and grew up there. Her father once worked as a weather observer on Mt. Washington and would often delight the family with his stories of the wild winters up there! The family kept their ties to NH after they moved, enjoying hiking in the White mountains in the summer, and skiing on the slopes in the winter. Her mother, who predeceased her father, was a reporter for the local paper, an English professor, and a published poet. Her almost 94 year old dad now lives with her sister and her family live in Albany, NH.

She and her husband also have ties to Jamaica, and make yearly trips to the island country to visit family in Mandeville and Kingston.

She is an avid naturalist and nature poet and enjoys mucking around the swamp, exploring the diversity of life in and around the pond and observing the beavers otter and muskrats with her husband. She also enjoys singing, painting and photography, and occasionally baking gluten free treats!

Since moving to NH in 2005, Johanna has worked as an ESOL teacher of adult refugees for Ascentria Care Alliance, Service for New Americans. She was called to servant ministry after spending many an ESOL class listening to the harrowing stories of her refugee students flights from their native countries, due to fear and persecution, and is a passionate advocate for strangers in our midst. She hopes to inspire the members of St. John’s to take up the cross with her and welcome and serve vulnerable strangers in need beyond church walls.

She was ordained as a permanent deacon in 20016 by Bishop Hirschfeld, after successfully completing deacon formation with fellow deacons from Province I in Arlington, MA at Bethany House of Prayer.

Johanna loves to do open water swimming and occasionally does triathlons, ministering to all those in the back of the pack!

She is a graduate of East Catholic High School, Manchester, Ct, Georgetown University, B.S., Central Connecticut State University, M.S. And Union Theological, M.Div. and serves on the Diocesan Diversity Committee, as the liaison between Episcopal Migration Ministries and the Diocese and has served on the Diocesan Disaster and Preparedness Committee and as the volunteer coordinator of Episcopal Relief & Development.

She is looking forward to this new placement, after having gotten her feet wet as a new deacon in the small churches of Holy Cross, Weare and St. John’s, Dunbarton.


An Overview of the Role of Diaconal Ministry
as posted on the diocesan website–

The deacon’s service is a sign or sacrament of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. The diaconate is one of three distinct orders of ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church—there are deacons, priests and bishops—and an individual becomes a deacon by being ordained by a bishop after completing a course of study and formation

The charge at the ordination of a deacon
(The Book of Common Prayer, page 543):

“In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick and the lonely. As a deacon in the Church, you are to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them and to model your life upon them. You are to make Christ and his redemptive love known, by word and example, to those among whom you live, and work and worship. You are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns and hopes of the world. You are to assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and you are to carry out other duties assigned to you from time to time. At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.”

Brief history

The word “deacon” comes from the Greek language and the biblical concept of diakonia. Diakonos is commonly defined as servant ministry, particularly to the poor, the sick and the oppressed.

Jesus is the model for the servant leadership, and a deacon is called to exercise servant leadership in a variety of ways, including encouraging and enabling others to serve. A deacon has one foot in the world and one foot in the church.

The church has had deacons since New Testament days. Deacons are referred to in 1 Timothy 3, and familiar deacons from history include Stephen, Vincent, Laurence, Alcuin, Francis of Assisi and Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding.

The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire collaborates with other Dioceses in Province I to offer a three year program for the formation of Deacons.

Diaconal ministry is:
• servant leadership
• serving in the name of Jesus
• serving under the direction of the bishop
• serving those in need
• being a student of Scripture
• interpreting the Gospel to the world
• telling and interpreting the needs of the world to the church
• encouraging and enabling others to serve
• a ministry of social care

The Book of Common Prayer provides roles for deacons within liturgies and defines the responsibility of deacons in serving others in the name of Christ and in leading and training lay people in such service. Many deacons define their true ministry as being outside the four walls of the church itself, often at the ragged edges of society and our comfort zones.

Lent & Easter 2016

We had a wonderful Messy Church Lent season here at St. John’s Church, with activities for all ages. Each week we added to our Lenten gardens, which later became Easter gardens with the addition of wheatgrass seeds, butterflies, and flowers. And, we made lots of beautiful butterflies to display on Easter morning. Here’s a little video showing our works in progress throughout the season.

Lent and Easter from Kelli Ann Wilson on Vimeo.

Bishop Hirschfeld’s Visit

The Bishop of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, the Rt Rev A. Robert Hirschfeld, visited St John’s Church yesterday. It was a glorious day–Kelli and Julia were confirmed, the Bishop preached an inspiring sermon on the implications of transfiguration for this faith community, and we gathered at the Table and gave thanks for the risen Christ’s presence among us. Thank you, Bishop +Rob, for helping us see God at work in our midst and in our neighborhood!
Congratulations, Kelli and Julia, on your confirmations! We are so happy for you and honored to walk with you on your faith journeys!