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Diocese of Vermont sponsors Irene caregiver gatherings

The Diocese of Vermont invites all those throughout Vermont who have provided or are providing care to those in crisis as a result of Tropical Storm Irene’s destruction to attend one of five three-hour sessions to be held the weekend of January 13-15, 2012:

Friday, January 13
St. Luke’s, Chester (313 Main St.), 5:30–8:30 pm
Saturday, January 14
Christ Church, Montpelier (64 State St.), 10:00 am-1:00 pm
Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington (2 Cherry St.), 5:00–8:00 pm
Sunday, January 15
St. Michael’s, Brattleboro (16 Bradley Ave.), 1:00–4:00 pm
St. Paul’s, White River Junction (749 Hartford Ave.), 5:30–8:30 pm

The retreat sessions, led by an Episcopal priest experienced in disaster response, are open to all caregivers. Those who have been working tirelessly these many months to provide direct care for those affected by the storm and its aftermath have also been affected. Many of these workers are Episcopalians, many are from other faith traditions, and many have no faith tradition. All have given much of themselves, and many continue their efforts.

Each retreat will be spiritually based and presented in such a way that those from any faith—or no faith tradition—will be encouraged, supported, and provided opportunities to be thanked and soothed. The retreat will include listening and discussions that will allow participants to connect, grieve, and to tell their stories. Participants will also share good food and a small gift.

The retreat leader, the Rev. Charles LaFond, is Canon for Congregational Life in the Diocese of New Hampshire. While a monk with the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Charles provided similar care to clergy in the Diocese of Louisiana beginning on the second day of the Katrina disaster. He also was chaplain to the Disaster Mortuary Unit at St. Gabriel Hospital, whose 400 secular pathologists and staff cared for those whose lives were lost in that disaster.

The Diocese of Vermont’s efforts to respond to Tropical Storm Irene have been supported from the very beginning by Episcopal Relief and Development. An early concern that arose in conversations of the Response Task Force was the need to provide care to the caregivers. Episcopal Relief and Development recently awarded a grant to the Diocese, which includes funds to provide some of this care for caregivers throughout Vermont. The Diocese is honored to receive this grant, and a sub-group of the Task Force has worked diligently to develop a program to serve our neighbors and use the money effectively.

To register, please call the diocesan office (802-863-3431), email adminasst@dioceseofvermont.org, or Ann Cooper. Let them know which retreat session you plan to attend.

Questions about the event may be directed to Ann Cooper at aecooper@sover.net (802-388-6802) or Sissi Loftin at sissiloftin@hotmail.com (802-254-9509).

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