Each year, we are grateful to have new and returning delegates participate in Diocesan Convention, and we take great pleasure in making training and resources available in advance. As announced in the latest edition of the Mountain, a Pre-Convention Website is now online containing videos, downloads, and dial-in information for an October 25 teleconference to help prepare you for Convention. Critical updates have been made—several new videos and downloads—so please visit the page as soon as possible: http://diovermont.org/preconvention2016/
All questions will be addressed in a live teleconference:
DATE: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
TIME: 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM ET
TOLL FREE DIAL-IN (866) 906-9888
TOLL/INT DIAL-IN (857) 288-2555
PARTICIPANT CODE 6172464#
By Maurice L. Harris
We followed the sign that was clearly marked “Parking 1 mi.” at the fork in the hiking trail. So, how we ended up more than 2 miles west of our car I’ll never know. What I do know, however, is that the journey we took, albeit longer than expected, was as beautiful as the view from Stowe Pinnacle that was still so fresh in our minds. Perhaps that’s what it’s like when the Light shines through.
No one knows this better than the Rev. Carole Wageman, currently a certified interim priest in congregations who find themselves in the wilderness of leadership transition as well as a co-chaplain to retired clergy in the Diocese of Vermont. Wageman’s first book, The Light Shines Through: Our Stories Are God’s Story, offers scripturally-based reflections of people in the Bible who did not know how their own stories would turn out, much like our own life stories.
The book, to be released in March 2017, is now available for pre-order through Church Publishing. As the Rev. Wageman explained in a recent interview with the Mountain, “There’s always that thread that you must follow when you’re on a journey with God.”
Harris: You’ve preached on so many topics over the years. What led you to develop this specific subject into a book?
Wageman: The inspiration for the book was the work I was doing as a half-time interim at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Chester, Vermont. I liked doing transition work with the congregation, and I found that it began coming out in my preaching as well. People in scripture didn’t know how their stories would turn out, and neither did we during that time of transition, but God was there then, and God is here now.
Harris: Had you always wanted to be an author or were there others nudging you along the way?
Wageman: A parishioner/priest who began to attend St. Luke’s encouraged me to publish my sermons, and I was certainly interested in doing that. My interest originally surfaced when I was at a CREDO conference for clergy a couple of years ago. As part of the CREDO conference, you have to develop a plan. Mine was: I’d retire, write a book, travel around to promote the book, and the bio would read, “Carole is a retired priest who lives with her husband in Vermont.” God had a more immediate plan.
Harris: So, it sounds like this is more than just a personal goal. It’s a calling.
Wageman: Yes. Have you ever had the experience of feeling called to a new idea but before you get around to doing anything about it, someone else does? From time to time I have had that sense of God’s prodding. When it came to the book, I had a sense that if I did not write it, someone else was going to. So, this time, it was really important to me to launch into the effort.
Harris: What was it like, getting that first publishing deal?
Wageman: I had poked around about publishing, even had my work critiqued by someone who advised me to “take advantage of writing groups.” That’s not the advice I had in mind. So, after doing some research into how to write book proposals, I submitted one to Church Publishing. Iit was the first book proposal I’ve ever written. I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but it led to a book contract last December and I was totally blown away with surprise.
Harris: Are there any other books on the horizon?
Wageman: Ultimately, I’d like to publish a series. I feel very blessed this whole thing has come about. Money has not been a motivator; that hadn’t even occurred to me, I just feel like I have to tell these stories. It feels that I’m following a spiritual thread. As a priest, or anybody for that matter, there’s always that thread that you must follow when you’re on a journey with God. Sometimes it leads to places you never expected. The Light Shines Through is a spiritual thread for me and I’ll continue to follow that as long as it makes sense. Part of my plan is continue developing retreat and workshop material dealing with the leadership and transition themes that I explore in my book. I have already done one retreat for the vestry at St. Luke’s the Beloved Physician in Saranac Lake and look forward to doing more.
The Light Shines Through: Our Stories Are God's Stories is now available for preorder at https://www.churchpublishing.org/lightshinesthrough
By Wendy Grace
Our Presiding Bishop, the shining beacon for “The Jesus Movement,” implores us quite regularly to become active in mission. Our Diocesan Bishop also leads by example. Our little Diocese of Vermont has its moments of might in mission! I’ve been witness to this in my role as parish coordinator at Trinity Church in Rutland. One of the forefront issues of social justice in our current lives is that of refugee resettlement in the United States. Since news broke that the city of Rutland was seeking to become a refugee resettlement site, I’ve received many calls from congregations in our Diocese expressing interest in helping out. And most want to DO something, not just donate money (although that will never be refused). I rather fear in those early days I was not very helpful. But since then, I’ve learned much and have this to share with you.
There is so much information available from so many perspectives, and this article speaks only of three organizations and their suggestions—Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (the active agent for resettlement in Vermont), The Episcopal Church Migration Ministries (because we ARE the Episcopal Church) and Foundation Cristosal (which was founded in Vermont and continues to have ties with our Diocese).
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP)
VRRP is a field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. But don’t be confused—VRRP is a private organization and not part of the federal government. It is funded by the government, but relies significantly upon the efforts and donations of private citizens and volunteers. VRRP received word from the State Department that Rutland has been approved as a welcoming community for refugee resettlement and is proceeding in its efforts. There are things that neighboring or even more distant communities can do to help:
The Episcopal Church Migration Ministry
Recently, I’ve had conversations with some folks at The Episcopal Church Migration Ministry about the refugee crisis and how people who are not in our immediate community can be active and involved in welcoming new neighbors. I spoke with Lacy Broemel, who is the Refugee and Migration Analyst for the Office of Government Relations in The Episcopal Church. Her office works directly with the US government on developing policy and advocacy concerning migration issues. Here are some suggestions Ms. Broemel offered:
Bear in mind that the current world-wide refugee crisis is not limited to the Syrians! Another conversation I had with Jim Lochhead, the new Resource Development Coordinator at Cristosal, discussed the refugee situation in El Salvador. Cristosal, which had its birth right here in Vermont, is a human rights NGO in El Salvador that works to protect displaced Salvadorans and speaks world-wide to the plight of Central American refugees. In my conversation with Jim, he offered these suggestions for action:
As I said, these are just a few resources to help your congregation get started in this area of mission. I am a delegate to Diocesan Convention this year, so I will be around on both Friday, November 4, and Saturday, November 5. Please find me and share with me your interest and ideas!
About the Author
Wendy Grace is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Rutland, Vermont.
“Reconstructing imagination for the mission of the Church is the important work we are called to do now,” said author and activist Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove at a workshop for “Mission at Work.” The workshop was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul in Burlington on October 1 and brought together over two dozen leaders from Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Vermont. Wilson-Hartgrove drew on his experience in leading a local community in Durham, NC to engage in Christian mission as well his work with the Rev. Dr. William Barber in the “Moral Monday” campaigns for social justice in North Carolina that have garnered significant national attention.
In a wide ranging discussion, the participants began in worship from Common Prayer, a worship resource developed by Wilson-Hartgrove and Shane Claiborne. Wilson-Hartgrove noted that as Christians we now live in a world with many neighbors who are not in the Church, and that now our task is to build communities of justice that extend to those outside the walls. He said that our task is to reconstruct our imagination of mission to be both Christian and public, and this is accomplished through listening to our communities. He quotes noted Christian community development specialist John Perkins who said, “Perhaps in the past we have over-evangelized the world too lightly.”
As a particular example of ways to listen to the community, Wilson-Hartgrove held up Asset Based Community Development, known best as “ABCD.” This process can be employed to find the gifts and uncover movements in the neighborhood that provide great opportunities for mission. He spoke of the example of the Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the pastor’s decision to employ a “community listener” to hear the stories in the community and help match up their outreach efforts with innovative programs in their neighborhood. This congregation has been very successful in their efforts to build, “Economy, Community and Mutual Delight.” He explained that true mission is this sharing of the “Good News” that is the story of Jesus and understanding it in terms of our own local context.
The discussion concluded with the example of the “Moral Mondays” campaign, bringing a moral revival to North Carolina. Wilson-Hartgrove told of the development of “Moral Fusion Organizing” reaching out in an intentional listening campaign and bringing together a large coalition into a new framework to advocate together for the most excluded citizens of North Carolina. One of the participants noted that a tribute to Shimon Peres was, “History is not made by cynics but by realists who are unafraid to dream” and suggested that this should characterize our approach to Local Mission in the Diocese of Vermont.
The Rock Point 2016 Advent Retreat will be held on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3, at the Bishop Booth Conference Center. The leader will be Fr. Justin Lanier, rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bennington, Vermont. This will be a silent retreat.
This retreat will focus on introduction and immersion in contemplative prayer, through chanting, Centering Prayer and Open Heart Awareness practice. The pattern of the retreat will revolve around short presentation & practice sessions to introduce the practices. We will then immerse ourselves in these practices as we pray in the Daily Oﬃce, in the sitting and walking periods, as well in the simple silence of our time together and meals. On Saturday morning there will be a period of predawn Chanting, sitting and meditative walking, for those who are suited to a “Vigils” style night time prayer. There will also be time for individual spiritual direction. Previous silent prayer experience is helpful, though not a prerequisite.
Fr. Justin began his contemplative formation in St. Benedict’s Trappist Monastery in Colorado studying under the direction of Fr. Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. He holds a Master of Divinity degree, from the Church Divinity School of the Paciﬁc (the Episcopal Seminary of the West), Berkeley, California, and did his undergraduate work at the University of Delaware studying Philosophy and minoring in Religious Studies and East Asian Studies with a Language (Japanese). During his formation, Fr. Justin also entered monastic training at Tofuku-sodo Rinzai Zen Buddhist Monastery under Keido Fukushima Roshi in Kyoto, Japan for what you might call “contemplative cross-training”.
Fr. Justin is presently the 27th Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Bennington, Vermont. He is a longtime advocate of Centering Prayer, Plainchant and Contemplative training, serving as retreat master and teacher in intensive retreat environments. He lives in Bennington with his wife and their two daughters.
Stay tuned for coming information on the retreat chaplain, musician and registration.
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