Bishop Ely has appointed the Rev. David Hamilton Canon for Vocations. In his new role, Hamilton will provide communication and counsel around vocations of all the baptized to the bishop, the Commission on Ministry/Committee on Discernment, and individuals. “I have long desired to have a person of David’s capacity serving in a position like this,” writes Bishop Ely. “I am most grateful that he has agreed to accept this appointment. David brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom to the ministry of assisting persons in the discernment of vocation. In this new role, David will serve as an extension of my ministry in this important area of our common life. This part-time ministry is made possible by the use of restricted funds available to the bishop.”
In concert with this new role, Hamilton is also developing a new pilot pastoral care training program called, “The Power of Listening: Pastoral Care Training for the Ministry of the Baptized,” for which the diocese has received a Roanridge Trust Grant. In the past, all those preparing for ordination in the Diocese of Vermont have been required to take part in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), a program that places students in real-life settings such as hospitals, mental health facilities, correctional institutions or nursing homes. While CPE will remain the standard pastoral care training for those being seminary-trained for ordination, it has become clear that for those preparing for ordination by means of guided self-study, most of whom are employed full-time, the time commitment and travel involved for traditional CPE can make this requirement a roadblock. “This is an issue that is a concern in many dioceses across the country,” explains Hamilton. “The Pastoral Care Training (PCT) we are developing will not be an ‘alternative’ to CPE, in that it will not be ‘second-class.’ It will stand by itself as a flexible, diverse, creative and robust new standard for pastoral formation.” Bishop Ely adds, “this pilot project has been something we have dreamed about for many years and it is exciting to see it come alive thanks to the support of the Roanridge Trust. I think it will serve as an excellent model of formation that will attract the interest of many around the church.”
The Pastoral Care Training Program will be open to those seeking ordination as well as to lay leaders looking to develop a pastoral care ministry within their parish. Those interested in the program are encouraged to speak to clergy leadership or to their vestry, and to let Canon Hamilton know of your interest.