Bishop Ely Announces Cancellation of September 29 Special Convention
To follow is a letter by the Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely, bishop of the Episcopal Church of Vermont, that is co-authored and signed by the Rev. Rick Swanson, president of the Standing Committee, and Maggie Thompson, chair of the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee, and reviewed by the Chancellor, regarding the decision to cancel the Special Convention on September 29, 2018.
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Dear People of the Episcopal Church in Vermont,
This notice is to alert you that, in consultation with the Standing Committee, the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee (BDNC) and the Chancellor, I have cancelled the Special Convention scheduled for September 29. Please read on for a fuller explanation.
As you may recall, on June 7 I called for a Special Convention of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, to be held on September 29, to hear reports from the Standing Committee and the BDNC and to act on any recommendations in those reports regarding the next Bishop of Vermont. At the time, because the BDNC had not finished its listening work, we did not know what shape the day would take, or ultimately if such a day would even be necessary. However, it was my judgment, and that of the Chancellor’s, that any potential change in the model of episcopal leadership or compensation that might result from the listening and discernment process would benefit from a full presentation to a Special Convention. Waiting until our regular Diocesan Convention was not possible under the timetable adopted by the Standing Committee. So, we put a placeholder on the calendar in anticipation of the need for further discussion about episcopal leadership models and compensation.
In the meantime, beginning in May of this year, the BDNC conducted over 35 listening sessions throughout the state, one of which I hope you were able to attend. They met with members of congregations, leadership bodies, diocesan administrators, and me to hear how the Spirit was moving in our hearts and minds. Because of that prayerful listening, the BDNC has discerned that the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont desire the next Bishop Diocesan to continue in the episcopal leadership model of my predecessors and me, in a full-time capacity. The Standing Committee has agreed with the BDNC and is moving forward with this recommendation. It is expected that compensation will be commensurate with the current financial structure of our Diocesan Budget.
Because these important consensus decisions have now been reached by those commissioned with such responsibilities, and in consultation with the Standing Committee, BDNC, and the Chancellor, I do not believe it is necessary to gather the diocese in Special Convention for further conversation, or action. The Standing Committee and the BDNC have informed me that they are exploring possibilities for sharing the fruit of their listening sessions and the recommendation to move forward with a conventional election process for a full-time Bishop Diocesan with the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont before the profile and call for nominations goes public. So, stay tuned for further announcements from them.
The Rev. Rick Swanson, president of the Standing Committee, and Maggie Thompson, chair of the BDNC, join me in sending this communication to you. I am very grateful for the faithful work of the BDNC and the Standing Committee as they navigate this time of discernment and transition in our common life. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Thomas C. Ely
The Reverend Rick Swanson