By Evan Johnson
After living in the Killington area for over 50 years and ministering to the communities of Killington and Bridgewater, Beverly Anderson said she is ready for a new adventure.
“Between the mountains and the ocean I think I can keep myself busy,” she said after a busy Christmas weekend.
Anderson joined the Sherburne United Church of Christ after moving to the area in 1964 and worked in the lodging business with her husband as the owners of the then Chalet Killington. She became the pastor in 1999 and in 2002, she became the pastor of the Bridgewater Congregational United Church of Christ.
“We chose to stay in Vermont and Killington because it was a wonderful, giving, sharing community,” she said. “It’s a small town that cares for one another and we felt like we wanted to make our lives here.”
On Sundays, she gives a service at the Sherburne United Church of Christ at 9 a.m. and then drives east on Route 4 to the Bridgewater church for another service at 11 a.m. Both churches see congregations of 15 – 20 people every week.
While the congregations at Sunday services may be small, Anderson said the church still plays a role in the community
“Sherburne United Church of Christ really does minister to the community as far as food, needs for funerals, weddings and baptisms,” she said.
In her tenure, Anderson has presided over weddings, funerals, baptisms, Easter Sunday sunrise services at the summit of Killington and more. She also assists in distributing food through the food shelf, which is housed at the church and delivers meals on the holidays. Anderson was also present as the Sherburne United Church of Christ came to share the building with the Roman Catholic Our Lady of the Mountains. Anderson said while the two groups worship separately, they share in the upkeep of the building and help with meeting the needs of the community. On Christmas Eve, the church hosts an ecumenical choir that is open to everyone.
“I feel very strongly about ecumenism and I think as best we can the Sherburne United Church of Christ and Our Lady of the Mountains live that out,” she said.
Anderson cited her age as a factor in her decision to retire.
“My reason for retiring is it’s time,” she said. “My age is certainly a factor and if there are things that I do want to do, this will give me the time to do them.”
In her retirement, she said her plans are “wide open” and she plans to spend time reading, writing and traveling. She has a daughter in Utah as well as family in Maine whom she hopes to visit.
While the church begins to look for a new pastor, Anderson will need to take some time away from the church. An interim pastor will fill in while the United Church of Christ conference will help the church in the process of finding a new pastor.
“I will definitely miss my involvement,” she said. “One of my struggles is that most of these people were my friends long before I was their pastor. I am going to miss that pastoral relationship but hopefully we can pick up our friendship.”