On May 24, 2023

Mission Farm Mission continues to enhance its community space

 

By Curt Peterson

Lisa Ransom, vicar at The Church of Our Savior at Mission Farm since 2020, says the original mission for Mission Farm, expressed in 1895 when Elizabeth Wood Clement gifted the 180-acre property to the Episcopal Church, includes providing beneficial service to the community that is now Killington.

Historically, the farm has focused on the church, Ransom says, which, for 200 years, has had a maximum congregation of 10 people. Even now regular services attract 20, plus those who participate via Zoom. Now the Mission Farm board hopes to make the facility integral to the entire growing Killington community.

“This isn’t ‘Lisa’s idea’,” Ransom told the Mountain Times. “I’ve been invited into the Mission Farm community to take part in this ongoing celebration of its unique buildings and grounds.”

A proposed “Odeon”, an amphitheater to be built into the bank next to the impressive 128-year-old stone church, will be the epicenter of community involvement. Made of stone and designed to accommodate 10 participants close-up and “hundreds” spread out on the surrounding grass, the Odeon (which is Greek for “small space for singing”) will be constructed by professional drystone artists and volunteers starting this summer.

“It will be a public space that will concentrate the earth’s energy into a light-capturing atmosphere and host gatherings for performances and ceremonies,” Ransom said. “A seating arrangement of granite slabs, their surfaces speckled with iridescent mica. A welcoming presence to all who seek community gathering and wilderness solitude.”

All the permits are in place and all that’s needed is financing.

Ransom described the project to the Killington Planning Commission on May 18. Their reaction was very positive. Planner Lisa Davis suggested various grants that might be available and thought the installation might be well included in the new Town Plan.

Ransom was planning to make the same presentation to the Recreation Commission as well.

The popular vicar gives local dry stone wall contractor and artist Dan Snow credit for much of the design.

The renovated former bakery is another community-focused project, which will ultimately house a commercial kitchen for use by entrepreneurs, groups and non-profits. Ransom says there are already applications for use from folks who want to make cheese and bagels during rented time. 

“We haven’t decided what the usage fees will be, but there will be a requirement that users provide some kind of community benefit,” she said.

Vicar Ransom and her husband moved to Killington from Waterbury, where they built, operated and ultimately sold Grow Compost, a successful food waste composting business. 

She was born in Colorado and graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1984.

“My first recollection Mission Farm? When traveling Route 4 with my father in the 1960s, I spied an incongruous sight – a flash of white on the other side of a green valley. As quickly as it appeared, it was gone, but the memory of the little stone church was fixed in my teenage mind,” Ransom said wistfully. 

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