For today's deputation diary, Nanci Gordon gives us a true day-in-the-life for a deputy to General Convetion. Follow along as she goes throug her day (and watch for a special appearance by Presiding Bishop-Elect Michael Curry)!
It's been a week of important news and moving moments at General Convention. This holds especially true for the Rev. Stannard Baker, who offers his video deputation diary today. If the below embed doesn't work for you, watch it on YouTube.
Bishop Ely created a video diary on this big day at General Convention. If the below embed does not work for you, watch the video on YouTube.
I am now serving in my fifteenth year as bishop of Vermont, where for all those years the state of Vermont has made legal provision for the union of same-sex couples, first by civil union and now by way of marriage. My relationships with the people of Vermont have significantly shaped by understanding and convictions related to same-sex marriage. I rejoice in the decision made by the Supreme Court today that guarantees the right to same-sex marriage to all Americans. It is just and honest.
I especially want to recognize and congratulate two members of the Episcopal Church in Vermont who have been seminal to the movement that has brought us here. The Rev. Stannard Baker was the lead plaintiff in Baker vs. Vermont, the 1999 case in which the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the benefits and protections of marriage. Vermont was the first state to do so. I also want to recognize Tom Little, Esq., who was the chair of the judiciary committee that wrote the Vermont civil unions law in 2000. Later, Tom chaired the statewide Vermont Commission on Family Recognition and Protection. The findings of this commission paved the way for civil unions to give way to full marriage equality in 2008.
I believe equality is a gospel value, a justice value, a missional value, and a pastoral value. Securing the right to marriage to all people is a practice consistent with the long-held values of civil equality held by the Episcopal Church. I celebrate today with all same-sex couples who are now granted this fundamental right.
My plan for today was to write about General Convention Legislative Committees and how they are so critical to the work we do here at Convention. Public hearings must be held by one of our 22 committees on every resolution before it can be presented--in original or amended form--before the two houses, bishops and deputies. Six of our deputies and our bishop serve on committees, and the other two deputies and our two alternates monitor the work of of other committees. We are busy from early morning well into the evening.
But today was not an ordinary day at General Convention. We learned this morning of the Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, and our deputation, along with many others, rejoiced. And rejoicing, we continued the work of Convention. Here are some images from my day here in Salt Lake City.
Bishop and Ann Ely, Anne Brown, and Lee Crawford indulge in a selfie after the morning Eucharist.
Check out first-time Vermont alternate deputy Joshua Cheney's General Convention cell phone video diary. This is the second of a daily diary (video or blog post) that will be posted each day by a different Vermont Deputy. If the video embed below doesn't work for you, watch it on YouTube.
Ever wonder what it's like to be at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church? Let first-time Vermont Deputy the Rev. Rick Swanson show you with his cell phone video diary! This is the first of a daily diary (video or blog post) that will be posted each day by a different Vermont Deputy. If the video embed below does not work for you, watch it on YouTube.
On Thursday, June 18th, Holy Trinity, Swanton held a Celebration of New Ministry, welcoming the Rev. Rob Spainhour as Rector. The celebration fell on the day following the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Ven. Calhoun Walpole of Charleston, South Carolina preached. The words of her wonderful sermon are printed below:
The Ven. Calhoun Walpole, the Rev. Rob Spainhour, and the Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely.
Installation of the Reverend Rob Spainhour
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
June 18th, 2015
I come to you today from Charleston, South Carolina...
It is so fitting that in this service in which Rob is instituted as your new rector, that the Collect prayed is a Good Friday Collect:
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection/completion/wholeness by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord...
The Reverend Norman Runnion, priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, died early this morning at Gifford Hospital, Randolph. Below is a photo from the Facebook page of St. John’s, Randolph. It is from a recent home communion visit with the Rev. Susan Taylor, Rector of St. John’s. Norm was a journalist/war correspondent and Editor of the Brattleboro Reformer before answering his call to ordained ministry in mid-life. He served as Rector at St. Martin's Fairlee until his retirement and served many parishes in a supply capacity.
The Rev. Susan Taylor commented, “His long term fight with Parkinson's disease took a toll on him physically but his clear-mindedness and wit remained untouched. His faith was persistent through it all. Even in the hours before his move into the Garden Room at Gifford Hospital for palliative care, his desire was to have portions of the Prayerbook and Psalms read. Many loving and caring people stood by him with singing and stories. It was a loving ending to a long saga.”
Please remember Norm, his wife Linda and their family in your prayers.
Faithfully yours in Christ
Dear leaders in the Episcopal Church in Vermont
As I prepare to head off to General Convention, I thought it would be a good time to share the status of our AlleluiaFund for 2015.
First of all, to everyone who has made a gift or pledge for this year, please know how grateful I am and how important your gift is. We have received gifts ranging from $5 to $3,000 and each and every gift is a sign of commitment in support of our common ministries funded by the AlleluiaFund. Here is a link to the AlleluiaFund webpageAlleluiaFund webpage where you can read more about the wonderful ministries being supported by the initiative.
On Thursday, June 18th, Bishop Ely issued a statement inviting the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont to ring our church bells at 12:00pm on Friday, June 19th. "We suggest ringing the bells one minute for each victim and one minute for the soul of the individual who committed the crime. I ask that all Episcopal Churches in Vermont join in this witness to peace and hope for healing."
Below are some stories from some of the many parishes who took part in this moving public witness:
From Lew Watters of St. Luke's, Chester: "In response to Bishop Ely's request for parishes to honor the dead in the shooting of worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina, there were a dozen who came, prayed and rang. A photo is below. The Rev. Heidi Edson is on the left, her husband Doug standing tall in the back row, along with vestry members, parents, and children. The Prayer attributed to Saint Francis was read aloud by everyone. Bell ringing has become a tradition at St. Luke's including 2009 for the International Day of Climate Change, the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene in 2012, and following the tragic New Hope, CT school shooting in December 2012.
From Penny Thomas of St. Mark's, Newport: "Claude Comtois off St. Marks Episcopal Church, Newport, rings the bell in the steeple for 10 minutes, starting at noon on Friday, June 19, at Bishop Ely's request. One minute each for the nine people killed in the Charleston church. And one minute for the soul of the person who took their lives.
Passers-by asked why the bell tolled and nodded as they went on their way."
Dear people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont
Once again, tragedy at the hands of gun violence has entered the life of our nation. A young white man, now identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina and shot and killed nine innocent people. As more details unfold, it seems clear to me that this act of violence is a hate crime motivated by racism. As a person of faith I utterly condemn this sinful action and call on other people of faith to increase our commitment to work and pray for an end to racial hatred and gun violence in our country.
My heart and prayers go out to the people of Emanuel, the families of the victims and the people of Charleston. I also pray for Dylann Roof and others who are prone to this type of violence for whatever reason. I pray that our society might find ways to turn from violence and devote our efforts more to the common good.
The Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, has asked the people of that diocese to pray this familiar prayer attributed to Saint Francis. I invite the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont to join with our sisters and brothers in South Carolina in praying these words with special intent for the people most directly affected by this senseless tragedy, as well as for ourselves.
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loves as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”
Members of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops, are asking churches in our dioceses to ring bells for 10 minutes at noon tomorrow (Friday, June 19). We suggest ringing the bells one minute for each victim and one minute for the soul of the individual who committed the crime. I ask that all Episcopal Churches in Vermont join in this witness to peace and hope for healing.
At the upcoming General Convention of The Episcopal Church being held in Salt Lake City, Utah one of the events I will participate in is the Bishops United Against Gun Violence prayerful procession “Claiming Common Ground Against Gun Violence,” on
On Sunday, August 2, 2015 young Israeli, Palestinian and American leaders from the Jerusalem Peacebuilders-Kids4Peace Camp in West Brattleboro invite Vermont Episcopalians and their friends to participate in an afternoon of arts and celebration on the Brattleboro Common from 1 - 4 pm. After sharing music, poetry and skits, the teens are asking for help to paint an original (40’) peace banner as a capstone of their two-week peace camp experience.
This event will take place after the teens offer the sermon at nearby St. Michael's Episcopal Church during a 10:15 am service to be celebrated by Bishop Tom Ely. Local faith communities and youth groups invited, including interns from the Voices of September 11th and 50 Iraqi teens. This exciting project will present an authentic vision of what peace looks like for these young leaders, when given the opportunity, tools and space to express themselves in creative and constructive ways.
Over the last three years, these courageous teens have participated in the joint peace-building and youth development programs of Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JPB) and its partner Kids4Peace (K4P).
Jerusalem Peacebuilders is a nonprofit, interfaith organization that brings together peoples of the Middle East and North America for life-changing, transformational programs focused on peace, leadership, and human development. Created in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and September 11 terrorist attacks, JPB offers youth and adults the opportunity to become one family, by developing participants’ knowledge, skills and awareness of themselves, others and the societies in which they live. The peace banner will publicly travel around New England in 2015.
For more information contact:
(The Rev. Canon) Nicholas T. Porter
Jerusalem Peacebuilders, Inc.
P.O. Box 2020
West Brattleboro, VT 05303
Cell: 203 572 3652
On June 13th, over one hundred members of the Episcopal Church in Vermont gathered at Trinity Church, Rutland for a Convocation. This was an opportunity to share some of the decisions and directions this year-long consultation "Becoming More Missional" has provided. The program was broken up into two parts, both of which are available as YouTube videos.
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