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Local priest accepts new position in Maryland

Rev. Virginia Carr

WESTFIELD — “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven,” Ecclesiastes. 3:1. This passage could not be more poignant of Rev. Virginia Carr’s ministry. She has taught that there is purpose to everyone and in everything, a cyclic rhythm that can be found everywhere, and center to our practices. Life and the moments we take for granted have meaning; beauty can be found in the mundane. Our history is full of it — even in our lowest moments. It’s a spiritual experience not to be hidden, but lived out in the world.

As Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Westfield for almost 10 years, Rev. Carr has accepted a new position in Maryland. She is recognized for her development of uniquely creative liturgy, programming, and events. Her dynamic teaching, expertise, commitment, and dedication to finding new ways to sustain historical traditions and practices, and to transform and revive them for our time are invaluable.

Rev. Carr also serves Chautauqua Institution as the Vicar of the Episcopal Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She loves to sing — especially the service of Compline on Sunday evenings at Chautauqua. Rev. Carr has been an active contributing member of the local Chamber of Commerce, the ministerial association, and the local theater group.

Mother Virginia holds a B.S. from Keuka College and completed graduate work in gerontology at the University of Rochester, a masters’ degree in Theology from St. Bonaventure University and a degree in Anglican Studies from Nashotah House Seminary in Wisconsin. She and her family have served as missionaries with the Episcopal Church in Central America and, among other jobs; she trained paramedics for the military in Germany.

She has had many interesting and unusual experiences. For example, while living in Germany she spent one night sleeping in three places: A brothel, a jail cell, and the Presidential suite of the Berlin Yacht Club (You will have to speak to her in person to explain this one). After raising three grown children, she and her husband Owen, a man of many talents and more stories, were blessed with the privilege of adopting and raising two more boys, Justin (age 8) and Nathanael (age 5).

Rev. Carr will be profoundly remembered by those she has encountered, affected, changed, and altered while on this amazing journey. As in the case of Pilar Padron, a young college student who joined the choir at St. Peter’s and went on to become a Priest, and Jessica Frederick, a farmer who showed up one day and is now in the process of seeking ordination. It’s a testimony of Mother Virginia’s gift and its congregation to make Christ real in people’s lives. Her outreach to Serve and Bless the community through her myriad of events will fondly be remembered in the hearts of all who have had an opportunity to enjoy them.

Although the Carrs are leaving with heavy hearts, they look forward to the new opportunities, relationships, and the ministry that St. Mark’s Lappans in Boonsboro, Maryland has to offer. They will sorely miss their friends, church family, and the colorful communities of this region.

Just as in the change of seasons. There are mixed emotions for something lost, and enthusiasm for the new possibilities that change can foster; the rebirth that waits with expectation in the spring. A time when that cyclic tradition will once again repeat itself, mixing a bit of the old with something new. There is — a time and there is — a place, for — everything.

All are welcome and invited to take part in Rev. Carr’s last Sunday morning Service on Nov. 3 at 10 a.m., 12 Elm St, Westfield. A “bring a dish to pass” follows between noon and 2 p.m., or just come as you are to visit and bid farewell.

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