Updated on November 20, 2019
BURLINGTON, Vermont – The Grants and Loans Committee of The Episcopal Church in Vermont is pleased to announce the approval of more than $32,000 in grants during the second half of 2019. Combined with almost $18,000 in grants announced in the first half of the year, the Committee has awarded a total of about $50,000 in grants for the calendar year.
Eligible applicants included Episcopal congregations and diocesan entities within the State of Vermont, as well as parishes and other organizations affiliated with the Diocese. During the September and November meetings of the Grants and Loans Committee, a total of seven Episcopal congregations were selected to receive grants for specific projects. Most of the grant-funded projects were chosen due their direct impact on the wider community while a couple addressed building maintenance issues considered vital to the life of the church. The projects included:
St. Peter’s Vicarage Lyndonville: $8,700
When the biblical King David penned the famous words, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” who knew so many churches would take him literally? On-site living quarters were once a common feature of Episcopal churches, but increasingly fewer priests are opting to live in a vicarage, rectory, or parish house today, instead using the space for gatherings, administration, or other purposes. At St. Peter’s in Lyndonville the attached vicarage has been repurposed in recent years to function as a rental residence—a much-needed contribution to the affordable housing market and an opportunity, from the church’s perspective, for local mission. A grant of approximately $8,700 will support repairs to the building so that the historic vicarage can continue to function as a rental residence.
Discipleship and Discernment at St. Michael’s, Brattleboro: $7,500
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Brattleboro tapped the Rev. Duncan Hilton in 2017 to launch a discipleship and discernment ministry that resulted in the formation of several flourishing Discipleship groups. Billed as “an experimental movement…to explore, create and reclaim the practice of following Jesus in community,” the Discipleship groups have invited participants to engage in Benedictine-inspired spiritual practices regardless of affiliation with a church or religion. Outgrowths of the Discipleship groups have included an opioid crisis response team, an animal rescue team, a team that builds relationships with isolated individuals in the Brattleboro area, and a tag sale fundraising team. As the program enters its third year, a $7,500 grant will help offset costs associated with current efforts, as well as the costs to explore new ideas. For example, research has begun into the possible formation of a L’Arche community in Vermont—a community where people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them can live and work together.
Feeding Ministry at Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre: $4,500
Twice a week an average of 60 people receive support through the Feeding Ministry at Church of the Good Shepherd in Barre. The congregation has considered ways to expand this ministry, and three opportunities have emerged. The first involves the continuance of the Community Breakfast Program, now in its eighth year, which serves 50-70 people each Monday and Thursday, as well as the continuance of monthly dinner service at Good Samaritan Shelter, now in its 26th year, which serves up to 30 individuals. The second opportunity aims to feed both the body and the spirit through yoga classes open to the community at large. The third opportunity is a series of bi-monthly Recovery Dinners launched this year to offer hope and support to individuals in recovery from substance abuse. A $4,500 grant will help offset the costs associated with all three efforts.
Organ Restoration at St. Matthews, Enosburg Falls: $4,400
It can be easy to take for granted the sound of the church organ on any given Sunday. But for centuries, the organ has proven its power to unite people through music like no other instrument. This might explain why the organ is such a vital component of many Episcopal churches, including St. Matthew’s in Enosburg Falls. The church building has been home to an organ built by the famed Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro since 1920. Today the instrument is in need of repairs due to age and humidity. A $4,400 grant will help offset costs associated with repairs and the installation of a new humidifier, effectively preserving a cherished piece of Vermont history and Episcopal tradition for years to come.
Furnace Replacement at St. Mary’s Rectory, Northfield: $3,750
The Rectory belonging to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Northfield has functioned as a residence for the priest serving the congregation for almost 150 years. The small but active gathering of about a dozen families and individuals has appreciated the ability to house its priest and provide adept local leadership for ministries such as St. Mary’s Living Supply Closet, which serves approximately 100 community members monthly. A grant in the amount of $3,750 will offset the costs of replacing a failed furnace in the Rectory, ensuring a safe, warm abode for St. Mary’s local parish leader this winter and beyond.
Full Ladle Outreach at Christ Church, Montpelier: $2,000
For more than 25 years, Christ Church in Montpelier has offered a free community meal, serving 75-100 people a week. The ministry known as Full Ladle has been made possible in part by area restaurants, several bakeries, and many Christ Church parishioners. The Full Ladle ministry also maintains an emergency food shelf and has relied on individual contributions and diocesan grants for financial support. A $2,000 grant will help fund Full Ladle’s newest venture, an Essential Living Supplies section in the emergency food shelter, which offers essential items not covered by supplemental nutrition (SNAP) benefits. Such items include toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers, dish soap, and laundry detergent. Capstone Community Action is administering the distribution of Essential Living Supplies in partnership with Christ Church.
Libros Para Los Niños at St. Johns, Essex, New York: $1,500
From October 27 through November 3, a team of volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, New York made the 13th mission trip to the Dominican Republic representing the church’s Libros Para Los Niños program. The program was created in 2007 to provide supplies and support for Episcopal schools in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Since its launch, Libros Para Los Niños has delivered an estimated $200,000 in direct educational support to more than 5,500 children. A grant of $1,500 will help offset costs associated with the recent mission trip.