A Young Eco-Priest
The pandemic reminded Tyson Rosberg that God can be found in the bees, tall grasses, and the earth, not just within the walls of the church.
On a warm fall afternoon, I sat down on the front steps of the architecturally unique St-James the Apostle Church for a conversation with Fr. Tyson Rosberg. I was very curious how this young man from B.C. ended up in the charming rural village of Stanbridge East. He has the huge responsibility of caring for this church, as well as twelve other churches, with colleague Rev. Tim Smart (Grace Anglican Church in Sutton).
Tyson grew up in a nonreligious household. As a child, he spent a lot of time with his grandmother looking at ancestral photos. The old European style architecture is what really caught his attention. It inspired him to re-construct these curious wonders out of Lego blocks. In his early twenties, Tyson decided to attend the University of Victoria, BC to pursue a degree in British History.
One December day, while in Victoria amidst the chaos of last-minute Christmas shopping, Tyson was drawn towards the sound of church bells in the distance. He found himself in front of a most impressive gothic revival ecclesiastical piece of architecture, “Christ Church Cathedral”. When he opened the door, an overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder came across him. There were what seemed to be hundreds and hundreds of candles amongst the most angelic voices. He was completely taken aback by an Anglican service called “9 Lessons and Carols”. Historically, this Victorian type of service was held on or around Christmas. It was designed in part, to lure revelers out of the pubs and into the churches. This life changing event ultimately brought Tyson to Montreal where he earned a Master of Divinity degree from McGill University.
In July 2020, Tyson was ordained into the priesthood. Covid being at its peak permitted only 4 people to be present in the beautifully ornate little church. No internet availability in the church meant a hundred feet of blue ethernet cable had to be strung from the rectory to the church. The sermon was delivered by mentor Marie Haddad. It was live from Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background and hundreds virtually attending from around the world. Once ordained, the celebration continued with all the Stanbridge East townsfolk driving by in a car parade, including the local firetruck adorned with balloons.
Beginning priesthood in the thick of a pandemic has somewhat shifted Tyson’s “Faith Life”. It reminded him that God is not restricted within the walls of the church, but can be found in the bees, tall grasses, and the earth. He has since completed some online courses out of Bishop’s University on sustainable agriculture and food security. Tyson Rosberg is committed to being eco-responsible in his practice and life. He acknowledges with respect that he lives, works, and worships on the traditional territories of the Kanien’keha :ka (Mohawk) and Wabanakiak (Abenaki) First Peoples. He has recently established a garden and takes pride tending to his chickens with rescue dog Roxy by his side. It will be your turn to discover “9 Lessons and Carols” on December 17 at 3 p.m. at Grace Anglican Church in Sutton !
A very grateful organ recipient