Greetings from Rock Point and the Bishop's House, where I'm about ready to head for some vacation time. Before I do so, I wanted to send out a summer greeting to you, and give you an update on the good work and success so far of the Alleluiafund. To date over 165 of you have made generous gifts or pledges to the Alleluiafund, and so far we have in hand about $25,000 in gifts and pledges. That's a great start to our campaign, and I'm very grateful for the support and generosity that so many of you are demonstrating.
One of the ministries that gets supported through the Alleluiafund is the Rock Point Summer Camp, and things are well under way at camp this summer with great staff, a wonderful group of campers -- I've been down a few times already to visit with them during the course of the summer -- they are having a great time, and the staff under the leadership of Sherry Osborn, our camp director, are doing a great job of providing them a great Christian camping experience.
I also wanted to remind you and invite to participate in the Alleluia Open, the golf tournament that supports the Alleluiafund. That's scheduled for Saturday, September 10 at Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes. We're looking for a great turnout of golfers. We also need lots of volunteers to help with the event. And we also need people, congregations, groups to be hole sponsors and tournament sponsors to help raise the money that the Alleluiafund needs from the Alelluia Open to meet our goal. It's a great opportunity for fellowship and fun and all the proceeds go right to the Alleluiafund and its ministries. So sign up for that if you're able, and even if you've never played golf before, we'd love for you to come and share the event with us, and maybe even be a volunteer.
So as we head out for some summer vacation, my hope for you is that your summer has some time for rest and recreation, and that whatever time you spend with friends and family in the beauty of Vermont or wherever your plans might take you this summer, that you do so with joy in your heart and a sense of hope and a sense of wonder at the beauty of God's creation all around us. Ann and I will be heading out for some time together with our friends and family, and we look forward to that time of rest and recreation for us as well.
So, happy summer to you all. Do support the Alleluiafund. We need the generosity that you provide to make it a success.
May God bless you as you continue your many ministries, and continue our life together as the Episcopal Church in Vermont, where we seek to engage God's mission faithfully and fruitfully and with compassion, energy and the kind of evangelical committment to Jesus and to the Jesus movement that is so much of a part of our life together. God bless you, and may you have a great summer. Bye for now.
Cooperative Christian Ministry at the University of Vermont was one of 18 recipients of the Episcopal Church 2016 Young Adult and Campus Ministry grants.Young Adult and Campus Ministry Grants provide funding for dioceses, congregations, and community college/tribal college/university campuses that are doing or seek to do ministry with young adults on and off college campuses. Watch for more information about how this grant will be used in an upcoming edition of the Mountain E-News.
The State of Marriage profiles the men and women who pioneered the national marriage equality movement through their groundbreaking efforts in Vermont. Cathedral Church of St. Paul deacon Stan Baker and his husband Peter Harrigan appear in the film. Baker was the lead plaintiff in Baker vs. Vermont, the 1999 case in which a state court ruled for the first time that same-sex couples are entitled to the benefits and protections of marriage. Episcopal Church in Vermont chancellor Tom Little also appears in the film. As the chair of the House Judiciary Committee in 2000, Little helped craft the civil union law. The film is available on iTunes and On Demand. Read more and watch a preview.
Joint statement from Bishop Christopher Coyne and Bishop Thomas Ely - July 8, 2016
We write as two of Vermont’s faith leaders whose hearts are aching in response to the recent acts of violence filling news reports and social media networks this week. The tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers earlier this week and deadly assault on police officers in Dallas last evening grieve us to no end. Certainly, our hearts and prayers go out to those killed and injured in these violent incidents, as well as to their families and the communities most directly involved. We value the hard work and faithful commitment of those entrusted with public safety in communities throughout Vermont and beyond. Those who serve the public in dangerous situations are to be commended for their service. Violence directed against police officers in the line of duty has no place in our society.
At the same time, we deplore the sin of racism that so often rears its ugly head in acts of prejudice, discrimination and violence toward people of color in our country. This too, has no place in our society. The disproportionate number of young black men incarcerated in our prisons, the often unevenly enforced laws that contribute to that reality and the all too numerous acts of verbal and physical violence directed toward persons of color disturb us greatly.
Respecting the dignity of every human being and understanding that we are part of one human family are foundational tenets of faith for us, and we lament the varied ways in which so many people fail to embrace those basic values and beliefs. Expressions of hatred and violence seem all too common in our world today and the results are always damaging.
Clearly, there is investigative work to do in regard to these most recent events and it is our hope that justice is swift, full and fair with respect to each. As Christians, we know that prayer is essential and so we call upon our respective communities of faith and all people throughout Vermont to offer prayers this weekend for all who have died violent deaths this week, their families, friends and the communities where they live. Pray for an end to violence and for the courage to love without prejudice.
Prayer must also move us to action and so we invite you to join with us in taking concrete action that might renew our covenant to honor and respect one another as members of one human family. We invite you to take steps that work to build a culture of peace to replace the culture of violence that has us firmly in its grasp. We are deeply concerned and yet ever hopeful.
Bishop Christopher Coyne, Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington
Bishop Thomas Ely, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
The following is a reflection from Jane Lee Wolfe, St. James, Woodstock parishioner and Director of Bog Chapel, Inc. an educational not-for-profit organization that focuses on the spiritual health and spiritual fitness of human beings, from youth through old age.
Many of us know the good wolf/bad wolf parable – the grandfather telling his grandson there are two wolves inside us that battle, the grandson saying which wins, grandpa saying the one you feed.
Ok this makes good sense. However, when we get to the matter of what to or how to actually feed that good wolf, we are not sure what to do.
Let’s look at it this way and discover the formula that grows a great, compassionate, humble and fearless wolf inside, and that furthermore is easy to feed:
The good wolf has three basic nourishment needs: peace, joy and love.
Peace is the good wolf’s oxygen. When you start to get nervous and frantic you are getting spiritually anaerobic and need to breathe. In and out, oxygen and peace. This insures your life, your existence. Breathe in, let the good wolf live and have its being.
Joy is the good wolf’s water. When you get so you can’t move and ache and are semi delusional, you are spiritually dehydrated. You need to take in the great water of joy. You do not have to go on a bear hunt (for which you have no energy) to find and drink in joy. The springs of joy are at your feet always. The clear refreshing liquid can course up through your feet and through your body. You can drink it in also, letting the spring open and splash in your face, fall like a waterfall so you can bathe in it.
The United Thank Offering has awarded a grant of $19,060 to the Episcopal Church in Vermont for the Rock Point Land Use/Forestry Initiative. A ministry of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, Rock Point is a 130-acre property that is an educational, recreational and spiritual resource--an exemplary model of an “urban wild” within the city limits of Burlington, Vermont.
The purpose of the Rock Point Land Use/Forestry Initiative is to gather people from a wide and diverse cross-section of the larger community to help jump-start the three-year Land Use and ten-year Forestry Plans approved by the Rock Point Board in 2015.
The Initiative addresses significant objectives, including: removal of invasive plants such as buckthorn, Japanese holly and poison ivy; pruning the fruit trees; improvement of the trails, with new boardwalks to protect wetland areas and implementation of policies developed to prevent erosion and safeguard rare plants; gardening that reaches out to food insecure individuals and families; boundary maintenance and signage; and enhancement of specific habitat for the American Woodcock.
The grant will provide a total of 1040 hours of salary for two temporary staff positions–a Volunteer Coordinator and a Garden Coordinator. Creating these positions will provide Rock Point year-round staffing and extra caretakers. It will also help organize the increasing numbers of people from the greater community who are interested in volunteering. Achieving the benchmarked results for the Land Use and Forestry plans will help Rock Point leverage additional grant and conservation funding. Also provided are Buckthorn pullers and protective clothing to assist volunteers in beginning to deal effectively with the invasive plants around the gardens and trails, including poison ivy.
This is the second significant grant Vermont has received from the UTO. In 1988 a $20,000 grant provided seed funding to start Vermont Respite House – a “home away from home” hospice house for people who didn’t have primary caregivers. It was the first of its kind in the country and still serves as a model of care for terminally ill people and their families and friends. Rock Point’s Land Use/Forestry Initiative is the start-up of another model of care-this time, care for a uniquely beautiful part of the earth that its visitors, “churched” and “un-churched” alike, recognize as holy.
Bishop Ely has appointed the Rev. Dr. Fred Moser as Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer (EDEIO) for the Episcopal Church in Vermont. EDEIO is the national network of those designated by their diocesan bishops with special responsibility for encouraging the search for the wider visible unity of Christ’s Church and collegial relationships with members of other religions.
Moser brings significant experience in ecumenical and interreligious relations to this position. He served in a similar capacity as Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Diocese of Massachusetts until 2015, when he moved to Vermont to become rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne. In the Diocese of Massachusetts Fred served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and represented the diocese in a wide range of ecumenical and interreligious contexts -- local, regional, and national –- including the National Workshop on Christian Unity and the Annual Meeting of Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers. In Massachusetts Fred also served as rector of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Wayland, where he convened the Wayland Interfaith Clergy Association, a vibrant consortium of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Unitarian Universalist leaders with which Fred developed an internship in interreligious leadership with Harvard Divinity School. Prior to serving in Massachusetts, Fred was chaplain of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, served parishes in Connecticut and New Jersey, taught religion at Trinity School in New York City, and was an associate campus minister at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
The following is a report from the Rev. Dr. Titus Presler of St. Matthew's, Enosburg Falls, who represented the Episcopal Church in Vermont at the 2016 Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) Global Mission Conference in May. GEMN, of which the Episcopal Church in Vermont is a member diocese, brings people together to exchange ideas and best practices, encourage each other, and provide resources to those who are exploring their call to engage in global mission. Presler serves on the GEMN Board of Directors.
“Evangelism and reconciliation are two sides of the same coin,” declared Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the Annual Global Mission Conference held May 18-20 in Puerto Rico by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN).
“I do thank God for you, both for GEMN and those that serve as missioners and missionaries on behalf of the Episcopal Church in the context of our global community,” said Curry in his keynote address. “The truth is that what you do and what we do matters, and how we do it matters. It matters significantly, temporally and eternally. It matters.”
Over 120 people from Episcopal dioceses in the USA and Latin America attended the conference on the theme of Mission amid Migration in the context of the record 60 million migrants, refugees and displaced persons around the world. Episcopal Migration Ministries offered a keynote, and the conference closed with a panel of Latin American and Caribbean church leaders discussing migration challenges in their region.
About 20 Episcopal Volunteers in Mission (EVIM) and members of the Young Adult Service Corps serving in Latin America and the Caribbean attended the conference. GEMN’s Mission Formation Program, which trains people to advocate for world mission, drew 15 people for the two-year formation process, including four people each from the dioceses of Ohio and Belize, which share a companion relationship.
I offered two workshops: “Not Alone but in Companionship: Anglican Resources for World Mission,” and “Reconciliation: Testing our Mission by God’s Vision.”
GEMN is a freestanding network of dioceses, congregations, seminaries, organizations and individuals who support one another in world mission and advocate for the Episcopal Church’s deeper global engagement.
It is with great joy that I announce the appointment of Maurice L. Harris as the new communications minister for the Episcopal Church in Vermont. This is a full-time position on the Diocesan Ministry Support Team. Maurice will be responsible for day-to-day communications planning and execution for the Episcopal Church in Vermont, and will serve as a coach, trainer and advocate for parish volunteers and staff responsible for communications. I am confident Maurice will play an important role in our diocesan initiative of “becoming more missional.” Maurice was selected from a talented group of applicants by members of the Diocesan Ministry Support Team and members of Diocesan Council.
Maurice and his husband, Might, will be moving to Vermont from Cincinnati, Ohio, where they have been active members of Christ Church Cathedral and advocates for economic equity, social justice and LGBTQ rights. Maurice is founder and creative director of Pushpop Media, a full-service marketing and communication creative agency. Prior to launching his own agency, Maurice oversaw communications and media relations for Firstgroup America—parent company of Greyhound, First Student, First Transit, and First Vehicle Services— as director of corporate communications. He also managed communications for Fifth Third Bank as assistant vice president of marketing and communications for the central operations, mortgage and information technology divisions.
A gifted musician and composer, Maurice began his career in music, serving as head sales and music licensing manager for Legend Entertainment Corp. Maurice holds a B.B.A. in Management from Northwood University and an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Mount St. Joseph University. He is currently working on a Ph.D. in Ethical and Creative Leadership from Union Institute and University with certificates in Education Leadership and Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies & Social Change. Maurice's pastimes include songwriting and hiking, and he notes Warren Falls and Rock Point as his latest adventures.
Maurice will begin his new ministry in Vermont on July 11, working out of his home office. He will take on this expanded communications role from Kathleen Moore, our current part-time communications minister, who is beginning her Seminary education at Church Divinity School of the Pacific this fall. Kathleen and Maurice will work together for six weeks as we make this transition. Please welcome Maurice into his new ministry with us!
Two hikers. Three weeks. 273 Miles. A quest to raise $10,000 for a scholarship fund for a at-risk youth pursuing post-secondary education. Tim Heath-Swanson and the Rev. Rick Swanson will hike Vermont’s Long Trail in September. They plan to lace up their hiking books and raise $10,000 to create a scholarship fund for Laraway Youth & Family Services’ clients who are pursuing continuing education in the trades and technical fields.
“Laraway students have untapped skills and gifts for life,” says Swanson, who serves as rector at St. John's in the Mountains, Stowe. “The Trailblazer Fund will provide a path forward into their future." Laraway Youth & Family Services provides therapeutic foster care, operates an alternative school, offers clinical services and directs a public school based behavioral intervention program. Laraway is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible.
Trail Angel: 10 cents per mile = $27.20
Day Hiker: 15 cents per mile = $40.80
Section Leader: 20 cents per mile = $54.40
Thru Hiker: 50 cents per mile = $136.00
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