Late last month, Reverend Tom Mousin was welcomed into the St. John’s Episcopal Church community with a service of institution and a celebration of new ministry. Inside the stately dark granite church, built in 1840 and nestled in the crook of Devens Street and Old Rutherford Ave, parishioners, clergy, community members, and the new rector’s friends and former parishioners gathered to commemorate a new chapter for the church.
“What excited me about St. John’s was that it seemed to present an opportunity for ministry in an urban context while also having the values of a small town community,” said Mousin, who is energetic and warm. “One of the places St. John’s is growing is families with younger children. I was excited to see how strong the Christian formation program is here and its potential to grow.”
Mousin, who has lived in Winchester for the past two years, grew up in New Jersey but spent most of his adult life in Vermont. Before being ordained in the Episcopal Church, Mousin was an elementary school teacher and an ordained Methodist minister.
“While I enjoyed teaching, I realized I was never quite as passionate about my work as when I was in ministry,” he said. “I was active in an Episcopal Church (in Vermont) and that congregation helped me see that while I am a good at teaching, my call was really to be a priest.”
Since moving to Winchester, Mousin has served at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Lynn and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Reading, a congregation similar in size to St. John’s. Mousin appreciates the value of community at St. John’s and said he was pleased to hear that the search committee chose him as the church’s fourteenth rector in mid-May.
“We’re thrilled to have him here,” said Stephen Spinetto, senior warden, who has been a member of St. John’s for the past 30 years. “It is great having someone with experience who is also new. It’s a wonderful time for us here.”
Spinetto and Mousin said that the church has seen great growth in the past few years. Roughly 75 parishioners attend Sunday service each week, and 25 children are enrolled in Sunday School.
“We’re age-diverse for sure,” Spinetto said. “Many people are still here from when I came here 30 years ago. It’s a wonderful thing to have older folks say that the most important thing is to make sure St. John’s continues. It’s made that transition. When I first came here, there were only a handful of people on Sunday morning. That group (of older folks) really wanted the church to survive.”
So far, Mousin is adjusting well and enjoying his new community. In addition to his services and other responsibilities as rector, he was tasked with baking pies for the 172nd Annual Harvest Fair, held at the church last Saturday, and he is making time to explore Charlestown.
“I so much appreciate being able to walk where I need to go, whether it’s a pastoral visit or when I’m out walking on Main Street,” said Mousin. “I see people walking, and there’s a small town community feel that’s been lost in so many places. I also love American history, so to be in a place with so many rich layers of history is exciting to me.”