PLATTEVILLE — Trinity Episcopal Church in Platteville was looking for a rector (pastor) after the retirement of Rev. Diane Markevitch in July.
Rev. Christian Maxfield was looking for full-time ministry as the part-time rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Prairie du Chien.
Each is now meeting the other’s needs. Maxfield, the rector of Holy Trinity since 2010, is the new rector of Trinity, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in July.
Maxfield is in Platteville Mondays and Thursdays, and celebrates Trinity’s Sunday Mass now at 11:30 a.m.
“We didn’t want to have to leave Prairie du Chien for full-time work,” said Maxfield. “Trinity lost its rector due to retirement; the opportunity arose here.
“In Prairie I wanted to grow the church and have 60 families, and now I have it, but in two places.”
Maxfield, a native of Elgin, Ill., graduated from Judson College in Illinois, majoring in youth ministry. He has a master’s degree from Nashotah House Theological Seminary. He started as an assistant at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Peoria, Ill., before he became the rector at Holy Trinity. Maxfield and his wife, Kate, have a cat, Cosmo.
“I knew I wanted to work in the church somewhere at an early age, and kind of confirmed that in my undergrad,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Trinity has shared its rector with another church.
“We shared a priest with Richland Center when I first came here,” Rev. Carson Culver, said Allison Bunte, Trinity’s senior warden, head of the church’s Vestry, or council. “We had a half-time priest for years, and then we went to full-time, and when Diane came here she was full-time. But with the economy not growing, our endowment funds are not growing.
“Our Vestry was considering going half-time or three-quarter time, but we were concerned about finding candidates.”
Maxfield sees opportunity for joint experiences with Trinity and Holy Trinity, “just trying to get the parishes together for spiritual life-building. I think what happens so much in church is we forget that there are other people out there — that we’re all people of God. Both parishes are very similar.”
When asked his favorite duties as a priest, he said, “The times I feel like I’m doing what I’m called to do is when I’m doing marriages and funerals. They’re some of the most beautiful liturgies the church has. Bringing in people to the church is when the church shines.”
One of Maxfield’s goals is to grow his churches as they are “being the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out with love and grace to those around us today.
“I think it’s most about relationships. One thing I’d like to do is build relationships, not only in the church but in the community. Those are the ways they can bring in new folk.”
Maxfield sees potential for parish growth immediately to the west of Trinity, on the UW–Platteville campus.
“I am excited about the opportunity to help Trinity reach out to the student population — do what we can to meet needs that might be over there,” he said.
The national Episcopal Church is in a period of turmoil, with disputes over churches breaking away over what they consider the national church’s liberal direction.
“It’s sad to me because there’s so much turmoil in the church, but I’m hopeful that God will continue to lead us and at some point we’ll be able to come together,” said Maxfield. “Being out here away from the diocese [headquarters], we don’t deal with it very much.”
Rev. Christian Maxfield is the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, which celebrated its 150th anniversary earlier this year.