This year, Israeli, Palestinian and American teenagers discovered peace at the Jerusalem Peacebuilders-Kids4Peace Leadership Camp on Acer Farm in Brattleboro, VT. Led by Canon Nicholas and Dorothy Porter, along with Jack Karn, this ministry empowers teens to explore leadership, interfaith and social justice issues essential to peace-building in the Middle East and US. Among the many special guest educators were Bishop Tom Ely, Rabbi Michael Cohen, Mary Fetchett (Voices of 9/11) and Edward Turner (Lawyers Without Borders).
The following is a reflection from the Rev. Justin Lanier, rector, St. Peter's, Bennington
Last year I met with a graduating college student who told me that he was considering a vocation as a priest or as a lay minister but wanted to undergo some serious contemplative training before studying at a school of divinity or seminary. He asked if there was anything like the Zen training in Japan or the Trappist formation I had talked about during a lecture I gave at his college. He wanted some intensive hands-on spiritual formation in an immersion context. He had questions about how to practice the "Cloud of Unknowing" and frequented regular centering prayer groups throughout the year as well as Holy Week liturgies. I told him about the Order of Julian of Norwich and Society or Saint John the Evangelist and the Holy Cross Monastery, but he was not looking for a monastic life, he was looking for monastic training. Having myself lived a monastic life and undergone monastic training, I could hear the difference in what he was asking for. Our monastic life tends to be a long slow and steady approach to spiritual formation, very balanced. The Zen approach (in particular the Rinzai Zen tradition in Kyoto’s Tofuku-sodo monastery where I trained as a resident monk) is more of a training. You do the training for 3-10 years then you move out of the monastery and enter a temple where you live a more balanced life. One of the hallmarks of this training time in the monastery is what is called the sesshin 攝心 (translation: To touch, receive, convey the mind-heart) which is the most intense period within the training season. In a sesshin monks and lay practioners come together to focus one pointedly in the practices of contemplation, chanting and walking meditation within the well disciplined monastic structure.
I heard the same question asked years ago from another young Episcopalian who was visiting the seminary I attended in California. This student was from Harvard Divinity School and had just returned from a trip to Green Gulch Farm Zen Center a Soto Zen Temple not far from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, my seminary. His question, “Where is our Green Gulch?” This question comes up again and again from lay people and clergy alike. Recently a young priest mentioned how wonderful it would be if we didn’t have to go to Buddhist retreats for this kind of training. A devout laymen said, "it would be great if we didn’t have to leave the prayer book behind."
So I proposed a training-retreat similar to what the Zen tradition’s sesshin but within our own Anglican tradition. I wrote a grant to cover our food and lodging and to our surprise we received a “Stirrings of the Spirit Grant.” We scheduled an intensive contemplative retreat at Church of Our Savior at Mission farm in Killington where the Rev. Canon Lee Crawford accepted our reservation, and with enthusiasum fixed the bell for our arrival. She got to hear it first thing each morning at 3:15am our call to prayer.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler has written an important reflection for The Daily Beast on the church-state struggles at Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan and its relation to religious oppression in Pakistan. Titus is principal-in-exile of Edwardes College and past president of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He and his wife, the Rev. Jane Butterfield Presler, live in Shelburne. Jane is currently serving as interim rector at Trinity Church, Shelburne.
"I was beaten in Pakistan for my religion. I am far from alone.
Dear Clergy Colleagues
I trust you have found some time to rest and relax this summer and enjoy the beauty of Vermont.
The morning session has been designed by a team of colleagues involved in our Economic Justice Working Group: Is Economics a Moral Issue?: Pastoral engagement with poverty and economic struggle
“We invite the clergy of our diocese to engage our scriptural tradition, present reality and personal stories in exploring the relationship between vocation and economic life.”
Thursday, September 10, 5:30 - 7:00 pm at First Congregational Church of Essex Junction
Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel is pleased to announce the September 2015 dates for the premiere concerts of the Palestinian Violin to be played by acclaimed violinist Michael Dabroski. The concerts will feature the world premiere of an exquisite violin made by a young Palestinian luthier, Shehada Shalalda, of Ramallah, Palestine. Joining Michael in these first four concerts will be celebrated pianist Michael Arnowitt.
The concerts will also premiere Mr. Dabroski's Suite for Palestine, six movements for unaccompanied violin inspired by Palestinian folk melodies and his travels to Israel-Palestine in March 2015.
The program will include Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita no. 2 in c minor, BWV 826, Erik Satie Gnossienne's no. 1 (1890 - arr. for violin and piano), and Ludwig van Beethoven's Sonata in G for violin and piano, Opus 96.
Free-will offerings at the concerts will benefit Al-Kamandjati ("The Violinist"), a school that provides music education to impoverished Palestinian children. Anyone wanting to donate to Al Kamandjati who is unable to attend a concert may make a tax-deductible contribution via Alwan for the Arts. For details please visit www.alkamandjati.com/en/.
Performance dates, times, and venues are:
• Thursday, September 3, College Street Congregational Church, 265 College Street, Burlington, VT, 7:30 pm;
• Friday, September 4, Unitarian Church, 130 Main Street, Montpelier, VT, 7:30 pm;
• Thursday, September 10, Trinity Church, 85 West Street, Rutland, VT, 7:30 pm, cosponsored by Good Shepherd Lutheran Church;
• Saturday, September 26, Our Savior Lutheran Church, 5 Summer Street, Hanover, NH, 7 pm.
Congregations are invited to request seed funds for outreach projects they feel called to sponsor.
• McClure IV / Alleluia Fund Grant Application, Domestic and Social Justice Committee, the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. McClure Funds require matching funds from the congregations; Alleluia Funds do not
• Both Funds have a limit of $2000.00; amounts awarded are dependent on available funds and
number of requests
• Preference will first be given to new initiatives within congregations/regional ministries with
an emphasis on local projects beyond the walls of the Church. Previously supported projects
include Habitat for Humanity, Camp Agape, Brookhaven, VIA and UVIP to name a few.
• Applications are accepted twice a year: May 1st and October 1st; available funds are divided
between these two dates.
Summit on a Moral Economy
Organized by VIA and co-sponsored by the Vermont Workers' Center, this event will pull together social justice organizations and discuss how to work collaboratively to accomplish our common goals. This will be followed by an Interfaith Worship Service in honor of Pope Francis' visit to the US and to celebrate his call for global social justice. Saturday, Sept. 26 from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm at St. Stephen Parish, 115 Barlow Street, Winooski.
September 12, 2015 | Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, Vermont | Shotgun start at 10:00am
The Alleluia! Golf Open of the Episcopal Church in Vermont benefits the Alleluiafund and the ministries it supports. The day includes competition and awards, and concludes with a Celebration BBQ.
If you would rather not register online, you may download and print this form or you may register by phone by calling Michelle Sandul at (802) 863-3431.
Sponsoring this event is also a great opportunity to support the AlleluiaFund Ministries. Sponsorship opportunities are listed below, as well as the cost of the event. You need not be a golfer to offer a sponsorship. All sponsors are invited to the Celebration BBQ.
$125 per player, $500 per foursome
Bogie Sponsor - $100
Hole Sponsor - sponsor a hole on the course for $200
Birdie Sponsor - sponsor a hole and the captain plays free for $750
Alleluia Sponsor - sponsor the tournament, a hole, and the team plays free for $1,500
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