The Rt. Rev. Thomas Clark Ely was consecrated in 2001 the Tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. With a diocesan Ministry Support Team who live and work in a variety of locations, he oversees a diocese of 45 congregations and approximately 7,000 members.
Bishop Ely serves on the Board of the Vermont Ecumenical Council and Bible Society and is involved with Vermont Interfaith Action, a congregation-based community organizing network. He is also active in Kids4Peace, an interfaith initiative of Saint George’s College in Jerusalem that brings together Jewish, Muslim and Christian children from Vermont and Israel/Palestine. He is a member of Bishops Working for a Just World, Bishops United Against Gun Violence, the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music and The Episcopal Church Task Force on the Study of Marriage.
In 2007, Bishop Ely completed a period of sabbatical leave in which he explored, through time spent with Episcopal churches in Sudan and El Salvador, the “global mission vocation of the bishop.” He is committed to building relationships with those in parts of the world experiencing the tensions of poverty, globalization and development. He serves on the board of Fundacion Cristosal, which supports the Anglican Episcopal Church in El Salvador.
In 2014, Bishop Ely completed a second period of sabbatical leave in which he explored the theme of Dignity, especially as it relates to his work with Kids4Peace and Jerusalem Peacebuilders. Insprired by the work of Donna Hicks and her book “Dignity: The essetial Role it Plays in Conflict,” Bishop Ely is working to incorporate what it means to be a “Dignity Agent” into every aspect of his life and ministry. This sabbatical included time spent in the Holy Land and time in Taiwan and Japan.
Bishop Ely is committed to building environmental considerations into diocesan decision-making, and the diocesan Earth Stewards Committee is charged with promoting a diversity of ecological initiatives. On Earth Day, April 22, 2010 the Diocese of Vermont received an Environmental Merit Award from the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The award honored the efforts spurred by a 2007 Diocesan Convention resolution requiring congregations to conduct energy audits, develop implementation plans for addressing energy inefficiencies, as well as the work of the Earth Stewards Committee and Bishop Ely’s commitment to environmental sustainability. In 2011, Bishop Ely led the effort to house a Solar Orchard on the diocesan Rock Point property in Burlington. This Tracker Solar installation is the largest of its kind in Burlington and the largest solar installation on any religious property in Vermont. It produces nearly 100% of the electricity consumed on Rock Point.
Prior to his election as Bishop of Vermont, Bishop Ely served ten years as the Missioner of the Greater Hartford Regional Ministry. He is interested in collaborative ministry, ministry in small churches and regional groupings of churches and ministry with young people.
Bishop Ely is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University (1975) and has both a Masters of Divinity (1980) and an honorary Doctor of Ministry (2002) from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He is married to Martha Ann Ely and has two grown daughters and two granddaughters.