184th Annual Convention Overview
The theme for our Convention is Love Heals. Our special guest this year is Becca Stevens, the founding director of Magdalene and Thistle Farms located in Tennessee. Becca has been featured on CNN and in other national media. She is also an Episcopal priest, an author and a well-known speaker. In 2011 the White House named Becca a “Champion of Change” for her work against domestic violence. Recently she was featured in the PBS documentary, “A Path Appears”, and named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America.
Magdalene is a residential community for women who have survived lives of prostitution, violence, and abuse. The women live together and support each other through the work of Thistle Farms, a nonprofit bath and body-care business run by the women.
Convention begins with a Keynote talk by Becca Stevens at 10:00am on Friday. This will be followed by a Vermont Panel made up of groups from Vermont who do ministries similar to Becca’s. The panel will have representatives from the Lund Home, The Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence, Committee on Vermont Human Trafficking, DIVAS and Give Way to Freedom.
After hearing the presentation, we will break out for further discussion led by each of the panelists. Please note: this will be at lunch time…you may pre-order your bag lunch or bring your own.
Becca Stevens will lead a forum in the chancel of The Cathedral from 2:15-4:00 pm on Friday. She will also speak during the Friday night banquet and then she will be the Preacher for our Eucharist on Saturday morning.
Becca's sermon from General Convention, in which she talks about her journey can be found at: http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2015/07/01/becca-stevens-preaches-at-july-1-general-convention-eucharist/
Thank you for taking the time to review this information! We believe we have a very exciting Convention planned. Please watch your email and check this site periodically for updates.
Photo credits: Kristin Sweeting (top) and Peggy Napier (bottom)
Draft Convention Schedule
|Friday, November 4|
|9:00 AM-3:30 PM
|10:00-11:15||Workshop lead by Becca Stevens|
||Vermont Panel Discussion with representatives from: The Lund Home, The Vermont Network Against Domestic Violence, The Committee on Vermont Human Trafficking, DIVAS, and Give Way to Freedom
|Panel workshops in conversation groups
|2:15-4:00||Becca Stevens's Forum|
||Convention Call to Order /Worship (Evening Prayer)|
|Saturday, November 5|
|8:30||Eucharist, Becca Steven preaching|
How to Register for Convention
To register for Convention please use the link below to access our on-line registration system. Part of the registration process includes the options to order your lunch for Friday and/or to sign up for Friday’s dinner (lunch on Saturday is included in your registration). Up to four (4) individuals may be registered using the on-line system so we encourage you to coordinate the registration process among your parish’s delegation. PLEASE NOTE THAT HOTEL RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE DIRECTLY WITH THE HOTEL.
Link to on-line registration: https://form.jotform.com/61604708185962
Registration deadline is October 21, 2016
Convention Cost, Lodging & Parking Information
Guests are responsible for making their own overnight reservations. In order to access the special rate, guests must either call the hotel or use the hotels' links when making reservations. Accommodations at special rates have been reserved on a first come first served basis at the following hotels:
The Hilton Burlington
Tel: 1-800-HILTONS (800-445-8667) or 802-658-6500
The Courtyard Marriott, Burlington Harbor
Parking is available at conveniently located city parking garages. Handicapped parking is available in the Cathedral lot. Limited metered parking is available on the streets surrounding the Cathedral.
|Document Title (Format)
|Email #1: First Call to Convention 2016 (.PDF)||August 15, 2016|
|Email #2: Call for Resolutions; Call for Nominations; Display Space, Teller Volunteers (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|Call for Nominations 2016 (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|Nomination Form 2016 (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|2016 Diocesan Offices to be Elected (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|August 26, 2016|
|A form to be used to submit a resolution to Convention
(“Form for Diocesan Convention Resolutions”) (.PDF)
|August 26, 2016|
|A guide for preparing a resolution for Convention
(“Preparing a Resolution 2016”) (.PDF)
|August 26, 2016|
|2011 Convention Journal (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|2012 Convention Journal (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|2013 Convention Journal (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|2014 Convention Journal (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
|2015 Convention Journal (.PDF)||August 26, 2016|
On August 1, 2016, we were saddened to report that Eleanor Avery Ravenel Spainhour, 30, of Hollywood, SC passed away in an automobile accident. To honor Eleanor's memory, a scholarship has been created in her name at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, her Alma Mater. The award will support a female culinary major. Contributions to the scholarship fund may be made online here.
Eleanor is survived by her parents, The Rev. John Robert "Rob" Spainhour of Swanton, VT, and Marcia Stockton (Boykin) Spainhour of Hollywood, SC, her sister, Marcia Cantey Wills Spainhour, grandfather, "GiGi" Henry Elias Collins, and her adoring niece and nephew, Skylar and Hawkins Spainhour.
The following is a reflection from Sylvia Knight, Earth Care Coordinator at St. Paul's Cathedral, Burlington
For freedom Christ has set us free; ... do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Gal 5:1 "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62 ESV
What slavery do we experience today? Emotional bondage to perceived expectations of others? Feeling trapped in work that violates one's values and dignity? Attachment to things or attitudes that offer a false sense of security? Addiction to shopping or to electronic devices? Crippling indebtedness?
Jesus and Paul lived daily under the yoke of Roman domination and oppression at a time when those marginalized by poverty or physical ailment were considered unclean and dispensable. Is there a similarity here to our time? Jesus spent much time healing and liberating those shunned because of leprosy, blindness, paralysis, and poverty, calamities thought to be the result of sin. He emphasized their ultimate worth in God's creation and kingdom. When Jesus prayed, he went alone to the hills amongst the olive trees and cedars that provided shade and beauty and held the soils of the land. He felt solidarity with the humble poor and affinity for the Earth.
Jesus' exhortation to not look back, once our hand is on the plow (Luke 9:62), can free us to love Earth Community as part of our response to God's love, to know our life-giving inter-dependence with Earth's air, water, soil, trees, and wildlife. We can begin to understand how idolatry, licentiousness, selfishness, and envy (Galatians 5:19) can harm Earth, contaminate air, water and soil, squander forests, kill off entire species, and create climate chaos. Exploitation of Earth also exploits people in other lands who still experience slavery to produce goods for our markets. Slavery exists in the food industry (including in Vermont), in the clothing industry (Bangladesh, Indonesia, Central America), and in silver and gold mines (Africa, Central and South America). Such uncomfortable truths may nudge us through compassion toward different buying habits.
I feel Christ's spirit of new life stirring among our immigrant neighbors on Vermont farms who struggle for liberation from slave-like conditions and from oppressive policing even here in Vermont. God's liberating love can help us examine our privilege and how our lives affect others, learn from the poor, and strengthen our faith. Deeper thanks for God's love and reverence for Earth Community (all communities of life) lead me to live into intentional simplicity, quiet listening to God, loving solidarity with farmworkers, and sharing Eucharist with those who give their lives to God's kingdom of love, justice and peace.
Can we as Jesus' disciples learn to extend the graces of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control to Earth Community? Jesus is Lord, not only of human-kind, but of the whole Creation. I believe that we can read Luke 9:62 as a call to radical discipleship in God's kin-dom on behalf of a new Earth Community, listening carefully to those who are marginalized, working in solidarity with the oppressed for justice, and knowing our relatedness with God's sacred creation as a basis for life. AMEN.
About the author
Rev. Earl Kooperkamp recently announced that Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre, is in the process of developing its Local Mission Approach. As part of this process, congregants were asked to complete a Mission Questionnaire, a process that is ongoing as of this writing. Additionally, congregants can track the progress of current Local Mission activities on a white board in the sanctuary.
Several examples of individual efforts include:
On a church-wide scale, the Rev. Kooperkamp has launched a family-oriented worship service on Sundays at 5:30 pm, an outgrowth of their Local Mission Approach, which Good Shepherd plans to make a regular event during the school year. Learn more on the Church of the Good Shepherd website.
Bishops United Against Gun Violence is a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops, including our own Bishop Thomas Ely, working to curtail the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. In partnership with The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence, member bishops are asking congregations to remember all victims and perpetrators of gun violence in liturgy and song on Sunday, September 25, 2016.
Liturgical resources are available on the Bishops United Against Gun Violence website. Clergy who will be hosting special services or adding remembrance to their liturgy on that day are asked to contact mharris@dioceseofvermont for inclusion in upcoming announcements.
September 25, which is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, will culminate with a series of concerts to be held at select location across the United States coordinated by The Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Click here to locate a concert near you.
The Rev. Canon Dr. Titus Presler has written an important reflection for The Episcopal News Service on the link between terrorism and religion. Titus is principal-in-exile of Edwardes College in Peshawar, Pakistan, and past president of the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He and his wife, the Rev. Jane Butterfield Presler, live in Shelburne, Vermont.
“Terrorism has no religion,” read a placard at a demonstration in New York. The slogan expressed a wish, but the evidence indicates otherwise.
Terrorism often does have a religion. It may be Islam, as in the San Bernardino, Paris and Orlando mass killings and the atrocities of ISIS. It may be Christianity, as in the Colorado Springs killing and the much older church-sanctioned lynchings of African Americans in the American South. It may be Judaism, as in killings by settlers on the West Bank. It may be Hinduism, as in the Gujarat riots of 2002. It may be Sikhism, as in the insurgency in Indian Punjab in the 1980s. It may even be Buddhism, as religious minorities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka have now experienced.
So is religion inherently pernicious? No, for not only are most people in the world religious but the religious practice of most people grounds them spiritually and nurtures wisdom, compassion and communal commitment.
Read the full story from The Episcopal News Service
Maurice L. Harris is the new communications minister for the Episcopal Church in Vermont, a member of the ministry support team that serves the diocese. Maurice, his husband Might, and their cat Oscar recently relocated from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Brattleboro, Vermont. (Pictured left to right: Maurice and Might)
I’ve been in labor for three weeks now. Of course, I have no idea what labor feels like, but I have to imagine that this is it. Dangling from the precipice, a wrestling match between birth and death, as something in me fights to live. And so I push. The “For Sale” sign on the front lawn. Push. The things I won’t have room for, paid too much for, and don’t have time to sell. Push. The cardboard boxes, the farewell speeches, and that final wave goodbye. Push.
I push, and I puff three, short breaths, and I push again…harder this time. I squeeze my husband’s hand and push with all my might because the Holy Spirit has put this in me, and this is the closest I will ever get to bearing the Christ child. The best that I can strive for is to bring life into the world that mirrors the Father.
Might and I load up the car. A small apartment in Brattleboro awaits us. It’s cozier than the house we left behind, but this move is the push we need. Oscar the Cat disagrees. The low growl from the back seat is a reminder that change isn’t always voluntary, but we get through it. As for me, I welcome it. Communications, marketing, media—the trades I once knew as secular work—are now reborn as ministry.
As diocesan communications minister for the Episcopal Church in Vermont my role is to engage in, coach and teach communication practices that strengthen our faith and make good works possible. But does this even matter? All good Episcopalians know from Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace through faith—“not by works, lest anyone should boast.” So, as long as we love God and our neighbor, what more is there to do?
Well, we also know that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14). The problem is that we can grow weary in our well-doing if our work is unappreciated. Now more than ever, we need willing hands doing good works—intentional, missional works—radical works that spill from our parish windows, flow into our neighborhoods, and cover the Green Mountain State. Then we need someone to shout about it, to cheer us on, to lend a hand. And that’s where I come in.
Vermont needs what’s growing inside you. Anti-racism education and training—to demonstrate leadership in a state that may not be known for racial diversity, but has a reputation for social justice. Unity against gun violence—so that “violence shall no more be heard in [our] land, wasting nor destruction within [our] borders” (Isaiah 60:18a). The preservation of Rock Point—to give current and future generations “a sanctuary where people experience a sense of God's presence, the beauty of creation, and a caring community.” There is so much work to do, and this is just the start.
The Holy Spirit has conceived in each of us a work that is fighting to live. Let’s push together and bring life into the world that mirrors the Father.
The following is a reflection from Jane Lee Wolfe, St. James, Woodstock parishioner and Director of Bog Chapel, Inc. an educational not-for-profit organization that focuses on the spiritual health and spiritual fitness of human beings, from youth through old age.
How do we make the changes in our lives that would allow us to live in the Garden of Eden? We “think” it sounds like a lovely place with all its plants and creatures and good weather all the time, but we can’t even drum up the energy to stand at the gate and look at it, much less return to our birthplace.
Why is that? Because unconsciously we know that we have to change in order to return. To live in the Garden of Eden we have to give up wanting everyone to be just like us. We are happy in our orchard, all oranges, all fruits like us. We don’t want to live in that messy place where everything grows and overgrows and some of it is dangerous. We love our orchard and we can build fences against invasive species and not nice creatures, particularly other human beings we don’t like or are unused to.
The Garden of Eden has everything in it. We have to be smart and honest to live there. We have to learn that some of the plants are toxic to us, but not all; and those that are toxic to us may be life-giving to other living things. Same with some of the creatures – some support and enhance human life, some support and enhance other forms of life. We have to learn this and respect it. We do not – cannot – simply eliminate the dangerous and inconvenient.
We also have to learn how to repent in order to live in the Garden of Eden. Living there does not mean you will never harm another thing or lie about something. It means you will have the honesty and integrity and sense of safety enough to be honest about what you’ve done wrong and turn yourself in to the authority of the Garden, namely God. You present yourself in chains and handcuffs that you have willfully put on. I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned; and I know my wickedness only too well.
Are we willing to repent? To walk into God’s presence and say, yes I killed something, yes, I destroyed another person’s confidence, yes, I got angry and took my anger out on someone I should not have? Are we willing to be so honest that we do not lie about our sins? That we honor them and ask to be forgiven for them? Are we willing to lose the risk of banishment from the Garden for a future we do not know and cannot understand? Or would we rather continue lying, down-playing our sinfulness (it really wasn’t that bad), and saying to ourselves, oh well, basically I’m a pretty good person so it doesn’t matter that much.
We must learn that repentance is a sign of health. Running away from sin is a sign of terrible weakness and what’s worse, a sign of a badly damaged sense of self; a sense of self that says human beings, especially you, are horrible, worthless creatures that need no nurture but only to be reined in and punished for impertinence. This heresy is widespread: Take statements that say you should love God and your neighbor – period. This is a deep perversion of the great commandment. You are to love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself. It is God, then neighbor/self: 1, 2/2, not 1, 2, 3 or what is generally spouted 1, 2 – God, neighbor, no self at all.
Your Self is beautiful, an expression of your soul. It is not your pitiful, arrogant ego trying to triumph here and there. It is humble and beautiful and self-assured in tiny ways that add up to immense holiness.
You don’t have to rein it in or punish it, you have to let it bloom and be holy and beautiful. You have to let it repent when it needs to, which will be often, but you have to let it grow, so that it can live smart and holy in its native land, the Garden of Eden into which it was born and to which it must return.
Meet Emily. She joins Rock Point after having recently completed a Master’s in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Before moving to Vermont, Emily was involved in a wide variety of food systems work, including cooking, gardening, event planning and editing a food and farms publication. As the Garden and Volunteer Coordinator at Rock Point Center, she hopes to help grow the Rock Point community through expansion of the current garden initiatives, promotion of the space as an educational tool, and utilization of garden products to foster food security in the Burlington area. When Emily is not at Rock Point she can be found biking around town, seeking out swimming holes, or cooking for her family and friends.
When Jessie and Alex spearheaded the Homeward Bound Collective in 2014, it was with a goal of supporting permaculture efforts and developing an educational garden on the beautiful and healing Rock Point property. At the time, Alex was working as a mentor with Crow’s Path and Jessie was working as a Farm to School educator for the Burlington School District. The first growing season was spent getting to know who was using the property and how they could best revitalize spaces being used for food and plant medicine production. They worked with Dan Cahill from parks and recreation to grow an annual garden on the south side of the community gardens as part of a weed remediation project. If you have seen the garden, you may notice it is shaped in a circular formation, this is because they planned the garden to be oriented with the four cardinal directions!
Since that first season in 2014, they have supported the construction of a hoop house and the revival of Kara’s perennial herb garden. They have worked with Rock Point School’ 6-week long summer session, developing a curriculum called Cultivations, which is a combination of ecology and history, using the land at Rock Point as an outdoor classroom and learning space for the high school students. There is increasingly year-round farm to school connection with Rock Point School and Homeward Bound Collective. This year, the plant starts for the gardens were grown by the science class and a few of the spring gym classes were spent preparing the gardens for the upcoming season. The project has also collaborated with Jackie and the Partner’s Pantry, preserving produce for the Chittenden food shelf. When not working with the Homeward Bound Collective, Jessie has been working to receive her Masters in Food Systems from the University of Vermont and Alex has been working as an apprentice ski guide in the mountains of Idaho.
From a rousing game of "Herron, Fish and Mosquitoes" to silent meditation in the beauty of God's creation, youth from across Vermont recently experienced "Care for Creation, Care for Neighbor, Care for Self, and Fun" at this year's summer camps under the direction of Rev. Sherry Osborne. Learn More
Two hikers. Three weeks. 273 Miles. A quest to raise $10,000 for a scholarship fund for a at-risk youth pursuing post-secondary education. Tim Heath-Swanson and the Rev. Rick Swanson will hike Vermont’s Long Trail in September. They plan to lace up their hiking books and raise $10,000 to create a scholarship fund for Laraway Youth & Family Services’ clients who are pursuing continuing education in the trades and technical fields.
“Laraway students have untapped skills and gifts for life,” says Swanson, who serves as rector at St. John's in the Mountains, Stowe. “The Trailblazer Fund will provide a path forward into their future." Laraway Youth & Family Services provides therapeutic foster care, operates an alternative school, offers clinical services and directs a public school based behavioral intervention program. Laraway is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations to the fund are tax-deductible.
Trail Angel: 10 cents per mile = $27.20
Day Hiker: 15 cents per mile = $40.80
Section Leader: 20 cents per mile = $54.40
Thru Hiker: 50 cents per mile = $136.00
Copyright © 2001-2014 The Episcopal Church in Vermont. All rights Reserved.
Neither this site, nor any of the material contained herein may be reproduced or redistributed without prior written permission from the Diocese.