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Our Continuing Commitment to Protect the Vulnerable

Dear People of God in the Diocese of Vermont,

On Friday, Governor Scott announced that effective immediately faith communities may resume services and gatherings at 25 percent of a building’s seating capacity, assuming all mandatory health and safety criteria are met. While I am encouraged that Vermont is moving in the right direction in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, I must continue to ask that we keep our buildings closed as I first requested in my letter of March 25.

A working group of the Diocese of Vermont is developing a plan for a phased return to in-person worship across our diocese, and we will be sharing it with you soon. This plan will take into account the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for faith communities released last week, although it may not follow them exactly.

For now, we can continue in our commitment as Christians to protect the most vulnerable among us by meeting together online for fellowship and worship. I invite all Vermont Episcopalians to join us for a special online Diocesan Pentecost Celebration of Community on Sunday, May 31 at 4:00 p.m. This Pentecost celebration is in addition to our usual 11:00 a.m. online Sunday service. Please bring something red or orange to the service, such as a scarf or a bright piece of paper, as well as a candle. The service will feature a video made up of photos and videos submitted by people across the diocese that show where we are finding hope and joy in this time.

I know we are all glad to see the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic flagging in our diocese, but I urge you all to remain vigilant. The Vermont Department of Health continues to advise people age 65 and over, and people with underlying medical conditions to remain at home. Please take every precaution to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.

I am so grateful to each one of you for your faithful commitment to show love for one another by remaining physically distant.

Peace and blessings,

Bishop Shannon

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