A Message from the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the Episcopal Church in Vermont,
As you know, our Bishop, Thomas Ely, has announced his intention to resign as Bishop of Vermont no later than the end of September 2019. In response to that announcement, we write to you as your Standing Committee for our diocese. The Standing Committee is an eight-member elected body of Convention, with several canonical functions, including serving as a Council of Advice to the Bishop. In this situation, the Standing Committee is charged with the responsibility of leading the diocese through this time of transition.
In his resignation statement, Bishop Ely said, “I was indeed very glad when you said to me “Come and share in God’s mission with us, here in Vermont.” When we heard his announcement, we had two immediate and powerful reactions:
- Our profound respect and love for our Bishop, who has faithfully led us through changing times over the last 17 years.
- Our deep commitment to prayerfully lead and walk with the diocese through this time of transition.
The Standing Committee met with Bishop Ely, Tom Little (Chancellor of the Diocese) and Bishop Todd Ousley (from the Presiding Bishop’s Office of Pastoral Development) and we are already beginning to prepare a transition plan and calendar for the process. Some of the tasks that are ahead include: discerning options that might include appointing a Search/Nominating/Discernment Committee and a Transition Committee, as well as creating a budget and financial plan for this transition. In January we will have more details about the process, the timeline and how you might volunteer to serve on one of these committees. We are committed to keep everyone informed each step of the way and to be as clear and transparent as possible throughout the process.
We also know that our work of discernment must be filled with the Holy Spirit and we all will walk this Advent journey with new expectations; the birth of Christ will have new meanings and the entry into a season of Epiphany and Lent will take us deeper into knowing God’s will for us.
We ask that you pray with us for Bishop Tom and Ann. As the Bishop noted in his letter, please hold the diocese, the staff, all our ministries and the Standing Committee in your prayers. As well, we invite all Episcopalians and congregations in the Episcopal Church in Vermont to offer this prayer in your daily prayers and in your Sunday worship:
Prayer for the discernment process for the 11th Bishop of Vermont:
Loving and gracious God, we pray for your Holy Spirit’s guidance as we seek new leadership for the Episcopal Church in Vermont. Give listening hearts and receptive minds to those appointed to search for candidates, and inquiring and open hearts to those discerning a call to serve as Bishop of Vermont. May we all share the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. May we be united in our desire for your will for this Diocese, that the love of Christ may be evident to all; for it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.
With God’s peace and Advent Blessings,
The Rev. Rick Swanson, President | St. John’s in the Mountains, Stowe
The Rev. Cn. Dr. Lee Crawford, Secretary | Church of Our Saviour, Killington
The Rev. Thad Bennett| St. Michael’s, Brattleboro
The Very Rev. Jeanne Finan | The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington
Mr. Paul Harrington | Christ Church, Montpelier
Mr. Lars Hunter | St. Mary’s in the Mountains, Wilmington
Mr. Brett Murphy | St. Mary’s, Northfield
Ms. Max Neal | St. John’s in the Mountains, Stowe