The Rev. Rick Swanson
My best friend from my seminary days was just called to be the rector of St. John’s in the Mountains in Stowe, Vermont. I encourage all of my clergy friends to accept calls to resort towns so that I can visit. It’s not working too well for me but this is a step in the right direction.
The Rev. Rick Swanson (who is also Ben’s godfather) has had a pretty varied vocational life to this point — he served as curate at a parish in California wine country, was an associate priest at a large church in Morristown, New Jersey, was the part-time rector for 4 1/2 years at a small church in Dowagiac, Michigan, and will be moving to Stowe next month.
Along the way he’s had some challenges but he has always remained faithful, above all else, to God’s call. Rick is a man of prayer, someone who has wrestled for years with a call to monastic life, though in the end he discerned that God was calling him to remain a parish priest. His new parishioners will be lucky — they’re getting a priest who loves Jesus Christ and is passionate about making God known through divine liturgy. He’s a creative, compelling, and thoughtful preacher and, more importantly given his new locale, he likes snow.
Being a native Minnesotan will do that to you I guess. He was also on the US Junior World speedskating team but he likes to keep that information under a bushel for some reason. So I always take great joy in telling people this and watching Rick blush. We put Rick’s speed to good use at seminary. He was the running back for our flag football team at Seabury-Western
and we nearly beat the boys at Nashotah House in the annual Lavabo Bowl. This was quite the moral victory since they were all big young guys from the Diocese of Fort Worth (who else goes there these days?).
I wish Rick the best in the days ahead — I know the emotional energy it takes to leave a congregation. But I also know the excitement of being faithful to the call process. And the bunny hills of Stowe better be prepared to receive the Schenck family. We’re animals on those things.