A Tri Town Times article on Miriam 30th Year anniversary.
Tri Town Times - HAMPSTEAD - The Rev. Miriam Acevedo, a native New Yorker who came to Hampstead in 2000 as Rector at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, is celebrating her 30th year in the ministry. Her path to St. Christopher’s speaks to her many interests as Rector of the church.
“I basically had no desire to become a priest when I got out of college until one day, on a Good Friday, I visited a little church called St. Peter’s in Chelsea, the land of which used to belong to Clement Clark Moore, who wrote ‘The Night Before Christmas,’” Acevedo said. “Slowly, as I was exposed to the Episcopal Church, the bible and liturgy, I became interested in learning more. I took courses in bible, church history, the Episcopal Church, etc., but I still had not considered becoming a priest.
“In the church we often talk about ‘call,’” she said. “It’s what a person senses when they begin to turn their attention to the church or even other professions. So one day I had an experience; it’s hard to describe but it was like a presence of God that lasted a few seconds or so. That nailed it for me-I felt the call and decided to go to seminary.”
That took her to the General Theological Seminary in New York. She said it took her extra time to complete her degree because in the midst of her studies, she married and had a daughter. She graduated in May 1983 and was ordained a deacon on June 3, 1983 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.
Shortly thereafter, she and her family moved to Philadelphia, where she served as an ordained deacon at Christ Church, a parish started in the 1690s. A year later, on June 8, 1984, she was ordained a priest at Christ Church.
She’s held a variety of positions since then. “I was in an African-American mission in Philadelphia for seven years before moving to Cambridge, Mass., where I got my Doctor of Ministry degree,” she said. “While in Massachusetts I had two interim positions, a rectorship and Protestant Chaplain at Tufts University. Then she moved to New Hampshire to serve at St. Christopher’s. “I’ve been here 14 wonderful years serving with a great Christian community,” she said.
She has worked tirelessly in the St. Christopher’s community to bring the church to parish status and expanded its uses and offerings. Many community organizations use the church facility, and Acevedo has brought yoga, mothers’ classes, blessing of the animals, and Christian educational offerings to the congregation, as well as expanding outreach and community service projects. She has also provided innovative ways to celebrate church holidays.
New Hampshire Episcopal Diocese Bishop Robert Hirschfield said about Acevedo and her 30-year celebration, “The lives that God has transformed through your ministry are too many to count...I have seen the power of your pastoral care, preaching, and spiritual leadership...This diocese is truly blessed by your presence.”
Acevedo summed up her journey saying, “What have I learned in 30 years? Well, a lot about the church and about human nature but the thing is I’m still learning, and I suppose I will keep on learning for a long time to come.”