January 10, 2013 – the Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, Episcopal Bishop of Vermont
The current residence of the Episcopal Bishop of Vermont at Rock Point in Burlington, built in 1895, stands on the site of the original house built by Bishop Hopkins some 50 years earlier. Over the porch of the entrance is carved the “arms” of the Diocese, comprising the pastoral staff, the mountains and wheat sheaves of the State coat of arms, the fleur de lis of the arms of Old France, and the words Veritas liberabit vos – “The truth shall make you free,” taken from the eighth chapter of the Gospel according to John. Our State motto incorporates two other great Biblical themes: “Freedom and Unity.”
It is in the spirit of these declarations that I invite you to join me in prayer: Good and gracious God, God of truth, freedom and unity, we pray your blessing upon the people of Vermont: those gathered here today and those at home, at work, at school or wherever they may be across our beautiful State.
We pray for our Governor, Peter, and the other constitutional officers who pledge their oath this day to faithfully execute their respective offices, serve the people of Vermont and insure equal rights and justice to all persons. May they be guided in their work by good judgment, sound wisdom and compassionate hearts.
We give thanks this day for those who have carried us through the challenges of these past two years, especially all who have given their time, energy and resources to assist the Irene relief and recovery efforts throughout our State. We know our work here is not yet done, and so we pray for the continued generosity of our people and the continued diligence of our leaders in order to bring hope, comfort and relief to those still in need.
We pray also for God’s blessing and guidance upon our Vermont members of Congress, the members of our General Assembly, Courts, and all who serve in local government throughout the valleys and hills of this great State; that Vermont might continue to offer its informed witness and visionary leadership to our country.
Grant to Peter, our Governor, and all others entrusted with the mantle of leadership in our State, a passionate love of truth, an unquenched thirst for freedom and unity, and deep wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties. Help them, O God, and each of us to be alive to the opportunities of each moment and alert to the possibilities we share today. Give them and each of us a vision of hope that we might see beyond the worries and discouragement and problems of today, so that we may grasp the future that you are surely bringing to our lives and to our world. Help them and each of us stretch our imaginations so that we may be open to the changes that your future makes possible. In the light of your everlasting love, we pray. AMEN.[i]
[i] Portions of this final paragraph adapted from prayers in God Has No Religion: Blending Traditions for Prayer, Frances Sheridan Goulart.