St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church is served by a priest-in-partnership, an organist, and a host of volunteers who care for the ministry and outreach of the church.
Priest in Partnership
Jennie Anderson is the Priest-in-Partnership of St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church. She is the 23rd rector or priest in charge of the Norwich Episcopal congregation since 1833. She began her ministry here on January 3, 2016. Jennie brings to her ministry a heart of compassion and justice. She is devoted to preaching the love of God within the traditions of the church, while recognizing that we must bring our faith into the world . . . and our neighborhood. She studied for the priesthood at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, graduating in 2007.
Jennie was born in Boston, Massachusetts and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the UMass-Amherst, in wood science and technology. She is a carpenter, pile driver and welder and a trade union member. At the St. James School, a faith-based middle school in the Episcopal tradition in Philadelphia, she served as superintendent of buildings and grounds and unofficial chaplain to children and staff.
While there are few children in our church, Jennie encourages their full participation, joyfully introducing a seven-year old to read one of the scripture lessons and offering a Suzuki “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” cello postlude from another.
Upon her arrival in Norwich, she recognized the church’s special location on the Appalachian Trail, organized a hiker hospitality committee in the church, and began to provide welcome food and shelter to hundreds of hikers throughout the summer months. She connects with hikers empathically, having hiked the Long Trail through Vermont. Hearing the need of a community member to learn how to use tools, she organized and teaches carpentry classes for women. She engages with the community beyond our walls by singing in the Dartmouth College Gospel Choir and teaching welding at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon.
Jennie has a son and daughter-in-law and grandchild who live nearby in Vermont. Her Labrador Retriever, Friese, who is her constant companion, has persuaded the parish to be dog-friendly.
Lester B. Gibbs was born in West Lebanon, NH and attended schools in Hartford, Vermont. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, he joined the US Army. He served in the Army as a Chaplain Administrator and retired in 1981. Before leaving the Army, he began serving as organist for churches in San Antonio. In retirement, he deepened his mastery of organ, studying performance and music theory with the faculty of Incarnate Word College in San Antonio. At the same time, he became a licensed mortician, which he practiced in Texas until he moved back to Vermont in 1995.
Returning to the Upper Valley, Lester served as organist for First Congregational Church in Woodstock and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lebanon. In 2014, Lester became organist for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. His musical talents are called on by Revels North and Phi Beta Kappa. He has been a member of the Grange for more than six decades, and serves it in many capacities, including as Musician. Lester also plays the bagpipe for special occasions and enjoys participating in Revolutionary War re-enactments.
Margaret Graver, Co-Warden, Clerk
Richard Olson (Summer term)
Jenny Thomas (Winter term)
Ex officio as co-treasurers: