As we prepare for a post-COVID world, I am thinking a good deal about Pentecost. On that day, the scriptures tell us, the church was born in a swirl of violent wind and tongues of fire, and nothing has ever been the same.
Here in the Diocese of Vermont, we are experiencing our church’s rebirth after more than a year of traversing a deep valley of shadow and pain. Like the season of spring that enlivens God’s creation all around us, our congregations are burgeoning with new energy for creation care, for deep and sustained anti-racism work, and for stewardship that fosters the leadership of clergy and lay leaders in communities across our state. We are becoming a community of transformation.
I hope that you will support the new life that is all around us with a gift to our new Bishop’s Appeal, which provides us with an opportunity to support our ministry and mission across Vermont. You can designate your gift to our creation care ministry, our antiracism work, or our leadership development efforts, or you can allow us to use your donation where it is most needed.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, new ministry has begun to take root. Nearly 40 aspiring lay preachers enrolled in a course we are offering with Backstory Preacher. Thirty lay people were trained to lead worship, and more are on the way.
Our anti-racism initiative is also transforming our common life. Some 80 people participated in our book study on the Biblical Case for Slavery, the 1861 work by our founding bishop John Henry Hopkins. The Anti-racism Action-Dismantling Racism task force is meeting monthly to develop more ways that we can continue the journey toward Beloved Community together.
And at Rock Point and Mission Farm, as well as countless other places across the diocese, we are coming together to care for God’s creation and honor the legacy of Vermont’s Indigenous people, the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we live and worship. These places have been beloved in our past and are helping to lead our transformation into the future.
With your support, our ministry together can transform our congregations and communities in even greater ways. This Pentecost season, please join me in making a generous gift to the Bishop’s Appeal.
Peace and blessings,
The Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown
Image: original art by Bishop Shannon