25 May 2021

Shining like the sun

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world…

This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed… But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.”

―Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

20 May 2021

May 25th, Remembering George Floyd: Episcopal Church's Online Liturgy of Prayerful Commemoration

May 25th, Remembering George Floyd: 

Episcopal Church's Online Liturgy of Prayerful Commemoration 

May 25 marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, which ignited a worldwide racial reckoning. You are invited to join Episcopalians in an online liturgy of prayerful commemoration at 8:00 pm EST.
Bishops from six dioceses will lead the liturgy, including a reflection by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, a Prayer of Lament from George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, an “Act of Remembrance” from Ferguson, Missouri, and prayers from Washington, DC.

You are invited to participate virtually with prayers and postings on social media in conjunction with the service.

Watch the Liturgies Online

Post One Thing You Can Do

In addition to joining the service online, you are invited to a 3-part engagement for racial healing.

1. Record a 10-second video of yourself lighting a candle and post that video to your social media during or after the May 25 service.

2. In the same post, share a link to the service, which you can watch on any of the participating dioceses’ Facebook pages.

3. In the same post, describe ONE thing you commit to do for racial healing and justice in the memory of George Floyd and all victims of racial injustice.
The service will appear on the Facebook pages of:
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17 May 2021

O Comforting Fire of Spirit

O Comforting Fire of Spirit

O comforting fire of Spirit,

Life, within the very Life of all Creation.

Holy you are in giving life to All.

Holy you are in anointing

those who are not whole;

Holy you are in cleansing

a festering wound.

O sacred breath,

O fire of love,

O sweetest taste in my breast

which fills my heart

with a fine aroma of virtues.

O most pure fountain

through whom it is known

that God has united strangers

and inquired after the lost.

O breastplate of life

and hope of uniting

all members as One,

O sword-belt of honor,

enfold those who offer blessing.

Care for those

who are imprisoned by the enemy

and dissolve the bonds of those

whom Divinity wishes to save.

O mightiest path which penetrates All,

from the height to every Earthly abyss,

you compose All, you unite All.

Through you clouds stream, ether flies,

stones gain moisture,

waters become streams,

and the earth exudes Life.

You always draw out knowledge,

bringing joy through Wisdom's inspiration.

Therefore, praise be to you

who are the sound of praise

and the greatest prize of Life,

who are hope and richest honor

bequeathing the reward of Light.

Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179)

14 May 2021

The Judas Tree, Ruth Etchells

In Hell there grew a Judas Tree

Where Judas hanged and died

Because he could not bear to see

His master crucified

Our Lord descended into Hell

And found his Judas there

For ever hanging on the tree

Grown from his own despair

So Jesus cut his Judas down

And took him in his arms

"It was for this I came" he said

"And not to do you harm

My Father gave me twelve good men

And all of them I kept

Though one betrayed and one denied

Some fled and others slept

In three days' time I must return

To make the others glad

But first I had to come to Hell

And share the death you had

My tree will grow in place of yours

Its roots lie here as well

There is no final victory

Without this soul from Hell"

So when we all condemned him

As of every traitor worst

Remember that of all his men

Our Lord forgave him first

D. Ruth Etchells

04 May 2021

Erling William “Bill” Chamberlain, 87, of Salisbury


Erling William “Bill” Chamberlain, 87, of Salisbury


SALISBURY — Erling William (Bill) Chamberlain, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his children, on May 4, 2021. He was 87 years old.

Bill was born in Oslo, Norway, on Jan. 5, 1934, to George and Else Chamberlain. He was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Barbara, and his sister, Inger.

His family moved to Flushing, N.Y., when Bill was a young boy. Growing up in Flushing, Bill became fascinated by math as he was taught all sorts of math puzzles by his aunt. After graduating from Brooklyn Polytech High School, he went on to Columbia University, where he got his Ph.D. in mathematics.

While attending a Christian club through the University, Bill met his wife, Barbara. They were married on Aug. 25, 1957. They were married for 63 years,

Bill and Barbara moved to Salisbury, Vt., in 1960. He taught math at the University of Vermont for over 30 years, retiring in 1994 from the Math department.

In 1960 they started their farm in Salisbury, Vt., and named it Stonehenge Farm after Stonehenge in Salisbury, England. During this time, they adopted seven children — six boys and a girl. From morning ‘til night he dedicated his time to his family. Bill loved his family deeply and took great care of them.

His intellect and talent were beyond compare. Bill was an accomplished string instrument maker and spent countless hours making and repairing stringed instruments. He learned Italian so he could translate violin-making books. He made musical instruments for his wife, children, and sister, and played numerous instruments including violin, cello, viola, piano, and even the trombone. He often played the organ for the Salisbury Congregational Church on Sunday and would organize music for Church celebrations, including the Christmas Pageant. He was a member of various string groups and would have music get-togethers at his home. Music was his lifelong passion.

When not teaching at UVM, Bill would be home teaching math or science to his children, who were all homeschooled up until high school. More often than not, lessons were hands on — learning math by building a shed or learning science through tapping maple trees and making syrup. There was a practical application to all learning, and if there was an opportunity for the children to learn from a project, a lesson was taught around it. He was the quintessential teacher.

Bill was gifted in so many ways. He was a fine woodworker and could build anything from violins to outbuildings, to cabinets, to interesting contraptions to make tasks easier. In 1967 he invented a geological calculator, the “Geomat,” that solved geological calculations. He made huge contributions to our country through his mathematical applications to a project for the Department of Defense. He was quiet and unassuming, always thinking long and hard before speaking. Always kind and thoughtful, he would do countless generous things for people. And, he was gifted with a unique sense of humor.

Bill is survived by his seven children: David Chamberlain of Milton, Fla., and his children, Mikaela and Julia, and Mikaela’s son, Preston; Jacob Chamberlain of Salisbury, Vt., and his children, Rachael and Marissa; John Chamberlain and his wife, Erika, of Falmouth, Maine, and their son, Karl; Benjamin Chamberlain and his wife, Lauris, of Bristol, Vt., and their son Linwood and his wife Katie; Sophie Strout of Limington, Maine, and her husband Kevin, and their children, John, Caleb, and Inger; Joshua Chamberlain of Bridport, Vt., and his children, Samuel, Rebekah, Elizabeth, Emily, and Katherine; and Timothy Chamberlain of Lunenburg, Mass., and his children, Hannah, Meghan, and Kiley.

A private graveside committal service and burial will take place, at a later date, in the family lot, at Holman Cemetery in Salisbury.

Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made, in his memory to Age Well, Meals on Wheels, 76 Pearl St., Essex Jct., VT 05452,

Arrangements are under the direction of the Miller & Ketcham Funeral Home in Brandon.◊

01 May 2021

Cecilia Moller Murdoch, 85, of Middlebury


Cecilia Moller Murdoch, 85, of Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — Following a 15-day stay in the Arch Suite at Helen Porter Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, continuously surrounded by the love and presence of her four children, Cecilia “Ceil” Moller Murdoch passed gently from this world on the evening of Saturday, May 1, 2021. She had recently celebrated her 85th birthday with family, friends and quite a bit of festivity despite the COVID-19 protocols in place.

Cecilia Russell Moller was born in New Rochelle, N.Y., March 20, 1936, to Barbara Nichol and Robert Christian Moller. She and her younger sister Laurie spent their early years in New Canaan, Conn., where she fondly recounted memories of attending a one-room schoolhouse and sitting atop the family’s chicken coop. Her father worked in the insurance business and his company moved the family to New Rochelle, N.Y., New Canaan, Conn., and Bellevue and Spokane, Wash., where she graduated from Lewis and Clark High School. Ceil attended Mills College in Oakland, Calif., and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught 1st and 2nd grade in Monterey while sharing an apartment with a friend, studying Italian, and enjoying the 1950’s folk scene at coffee houses — a favorite was Nepenthe in Big Sur.

Ceil met her future husband when he called on her parents. “Wedge” was a Vermonter studying German and Russian at the U.S. Army Language School in Monterey. He was given a letter of introduction by Ceil’s aunt, who knew Wedge’s parents in Middlebury, Vt. Sparks flew and the two were wed on Feb. 20, 1960. Their early married years were spent in the military — two tours in Germany and one in Baltimore, Md. Ceil loved this period of her life when three of their four children were born and she taught special education on the base, edited a newsletter for the officers’ wives, and joined a bowling league. The way Ceil describes it, military life was a series of dinners and cocktail parties, Brandy Alexanders and homemade ice cream. They made some lifelong friends, traveled around Europe, collected wonderful memories and acquired a passable amount of German with which she peppered her conversations all her years.

In 1968, Ceil and Wedge moved to Middlebury and settled into their home on Seminary Street Extension where their fourth child was born. For many years, Ceil and other neighborhood moms (Diane, Jackie, Ruthie, and Connie) collectively raised a group of 18 children providing a childhood experience that was the stuff of storybooks or sitcoms depending on the day. Gardening, canning, sourdough bread making, birthday parties and cocktails on the front porch made for a pleasant routine.

Ceil ventured back into the workforce serving as the parish secretary at St. Stephen’s for many years and then worked in the medical practice of Patrick Stine at Porter Hospital until they both retired. Ceil loved her church — singing in the choir, teaching Sunday (and Tuesday) School, producing Sunday leaflets and monthly newsletters in her own unique style using her cartoon-like drawings and hand-cut rubber stamps and calligraphy, helping with the annual Peasant Market and serving on the Altar Guild. Ceil met some ladies who formed “The Sisterhood” of friends at this time. Ellen, Jessica, Sandy and Ceil supported each other through all that life presented and had some terrific fun along the way.

Ceil spent every moment of our lifetime making her little corner of the world a funnier, cuter, happier, more compassionate, comfortable and welcoming place for everybody she knew. She taught those around her the joy of giving, and blazed a trail for her children and grandchildren with thoughtful deeds, unconditional love and bottomless patience that we all strive to follow in our own way. 

She was predeceased by her parents, her loving husband of 51 years, George “Wedge” Trimble Murdoch, and her nephew Bob Harrison. She leaves behind her daughter Jennifer Murdoch (Bill Huntington) and grandchildren Wills and Emma Huntington of Middlebury; son Andrew Murdoch (Keeley Titus Murdoch) and grandson Nichol Murdoch of Cashmere, Wash.; son Matthew Murdoch and grandchildren Elizabeth, Liam and Margaret Murdoch of Washington, D.C.; daughter Amy (Jason) Unger and grandchildren Annora and Zachary Unger of New Boston, N.H.; sister Laurie (Ron) Moller Partridge of Folsom, Calif.; niece Deidre (Tom) Harrison; nephew Mike (Jennifer) Harrison; several cousins and a community of dear friends.

A service and celebration of life will be held later in the summer at St. Stephen’s Church, Middlebury. Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to St. Stephen’s Church.◊