Lynn Bates, who has served on the staff of the Diocese of Vermont since 1995, has announced that she will retire at the end of 2020.
“Lynn has served the Diocese of Vermont faithfully and tirelessly for more than a quarter-century, and I am grateful that she has been willing to spend the last year helping me learn about the people of the diocese even in the midst of the pandemic,” Bishop Shannon said. “Her retirement is well-deserved!”
“The last 25 years have been amazing and wonderful – the years have flown by!” Bates said. “Every day there have been opportunities to learn, times of great joy, challenging times. Never have two days been the same. I have loved what I do and those with whom I minister. I am overflowing with gratitude for being called to this ministry, and for being able to share your journey, and trust you know you have been a significant part of mine.”
Bates, a longtime member of Church of Our Saviour, Killington, joined the diocesan staff in 1995 as executive assistant to Bishop Mary Adelia McLeod. She found the position after seeing an advertisement in the diocesan newspaper, then called the Mountain Echo.
“As the first woman diocesan bishop, Bishop McLeod was sought after for many national and international events in addition to her duties and ministry in the Diocese of Vermont,” Bates remembers. “I managed her travel and public appearances along with providing executive support and counsel in all matters – I was dubbed by her as her ‘Shadow Bishop.’”
A highlight of those years, she says, was traveling with Bishop McLeod and Bishop Barbara Harris to the consecration of Bishop Christina Odenberg, the first female bishop of the Church of Sweden.
Under Bishop Tom Ely, who took office in 2001, Bates became canon to the ordinary and eventually added transition ministry to her portfolio. Over the years, as the diocese sought to respond to changing conditions, Bates took on restructuring Bishop Booth Conference Center operations, the Congregational Support and Resources Committee, and the diocese’s safe church training program. She also became a trained conflict mediator.
“An important part of my ministry has been to live, model and encourage us all to have a better understanding of the importance for each of us to own our ministry, sharing the gifts we have been given. It has been an honor to serve with and alongside three faithful, caring bishops who have freely shared their gifts with the people of Vermont and beyond,” Bates said.
In 2011, when flooding from Hurricane Irene devastated large swaths of Vermont, Bates became “diocesan central” for response, she says. Episcopal News Service published an interview with her just days after the storm, in which she described setting up a system to support local businesses and providing clothing, food and school supplies. “The response has been amazing throughout the state,” she told ENS. “… but it will be months before anything feels normal … and years for the economy to recover.”
Bates, who holds an associate degree in paralegal and legal secretarial sciences from Champlain College and a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in psychology and human services, began her career as a paralegal and legal secretary for a law firm in Rutland. Before joining the diocesan staff, she worked in the town clerk’s office in Sherburne, becoming town clerk in 1987. She has continued her community work on the boards of several local schools, as a guardian ad litem, and as a volunteer with Women Helping Battered Women.
In retirement, Bates plans to spend time with family and friends.
“I hope they will help me and encourage me to discover who I will be in this next phase of my life,” she said. “I look forward to time to read, to paint, to play the piano, discover new hobbies and activities.”
An opportunity to gather online and wish Bates well in her retirement will take place in December. Watch future issues of the Mountain for details.