May 27, 2020
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Our Continuing Commitment to Protect the Vulnerable
A Letter from Bishop Shannon
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

Rock Point Camp 2020 Season Canceled
The board, staff and leadership team at Rock Point have  decided to cancel the 2020 camp season after receiving input from the Centers for Disease Control, the State of Vermont and medical and health communities .

Vermont Disaster Case Manager Training: June 11-12
Vermont Disaster Case Management training will take place online June 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and June 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The training is sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Human Services and  Vermont Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters , of which the diocese is a member. Please register in advance for the training.

Episcopal Church Foundation Webinars: Video Available
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, many people of faith are thinking about both end-of-life preparations and how to support the institutions and causes that matter to them through legacy planning. On May 16, Jim Murphy, managing program director at the Episcopal Church Foundation, presented two webinars to help Episcopalians make faithful and generous responses to the uncertainty of the world around us. Recordings of both webinars are available below and on the legacy giving page on the diocesan website .
Diocesan Convention to Take Place Online
Bishop Shannon and the Dispatch of Business Committee have determined that Diocesan Con vention will be held online, October 30 and 31, to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities from the risk of COVID-19.

Watch future issues of The Mountain for more details, and please continue to hold the dates.
Diocesan Bridge Loan Program
No-interest loans available in amounts up to 5% of operating budget
The Diocesan Council has announced a new no-interest loan program for parishes struggling to meet expenses in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loans through the Butterfield Fund will be available in amounts up to 5 percent of the vestry-approved FY2020 operating budget. The loans should be used for operating expenses that would otherwise be difficult to pay or require the use of investment equity. Loan applications will be reviewed and funded within 5 business days. No interest will be charged on this loan. Payback will be deferred for 6 months, and made in 60 equal monthly installments.

The loan application is available online The loan must be approved by a vote of the church vestry, and the application signed by the senior warden or treasurer and by clergy serving the congregation. The parish must be current with its parochial report before the funds are dispersed. Questions may be directed to Canon Lynn Bates .

Download the application [ doc ] [ pdf ]
Online Worship with Bishop Shannon
Watch Sunday's Sermon on YouTube
Bishop Shannon continues to host online prayer each morning except Sundays at 8:00 a.m. and each evening at 8:00 p.m. She also hosts Sunday worship at 11:00 a.m.  Join at:   https://zoom.us/j/531110497  (or dial by phone:    646-876-9923 , code 531110497#). Password: RockPoint

June 6 Safe Church Training Canceled

The Safe Church training session originally scheduled for June 6 has been canceled. Contact Canon Lynn Bates with questions.
Out of the Pews and Into the Garden
New group for gardens of the Episcopal Church in Vermont
The Rev. Lisa Ransom and the Rev. Jim Ballard recently launched the Vermont Episcopal Gardens Facebook Group . They invite Vermont Episcopalians to email them with questions on planning and planting a garden, and to join the Facebook group to receive free seeds.

Ransom and Ballard also invite gardeners to document their harvest and share it with neighbors. Contact them for ideas on where to share your food.
Beware of Email Whaling Scams
Do not answer emails from an unknown email address
Some of you may have received an email purported to be from Bishop Shannon, and sent from a Gmail address that included her name. This is a form of cyber attack know as "whaling." Please know that any communications from Bishop Shannon will come  only  from her diocesan email address, which is: bishopshannon@diovermont.org or from communications@diovermont.org . The fraudulent account from which the whaling email was sent has been reported to Google and is being investigated.

If you receive another fake email like this one, please do not respond. Instead, send an email to communications@diovermont.org to let us know as soon as possible so we can report it.
Hopkins Bookshop Remains Open for Orders
Hopkins Bookshop at Trinity Shelburne is closed for in-person shopping, but is still taking orders. Contact Jenny Ogelby , Hopkins store manager, with your order. Please include the name of the book, the author, and the easiest way to get in touch with you. Hopkins can either mail the book to you, or leave it in a safe place for you to pick up.  
Online Giving During COVID-19
Give to congregations or diocesan institutions
Although our buildings are closed, the work of the church goes on. If your own income remains uninterrupted, please continue to support your congregation.

While our buildings are closed, the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont will process online gifts for all congregations and absorb all payment processing fees. Fourteen congregations around the diocese have already benefited from this new online system, which now includes the ability to set up recurring donations. It also accepts donations for the diocese, Rock Point Camp, Rock Point School and Brookhaven Treatment and Learning Center.
 
In addition to giving through the diocesan website, you can also make donations via a mobile app or text-to-give.

St. Stephen's, Middlebury Opens Search for New Rector

St. Stephen's, Middlebury has posted its parish profile as it seeks its next full-time rector. Learn more on the parish website. Please share with those who may have interest in this position.
Diocesan Unit Trust Fund Investment Review

The Trustees of the Diocese provide shareholders with regular reports on the performance of the Diocesan Unit Trust Fund. The investment review for First Quarter 2020 has been posted to the website .
LEADERSHIP NEWS
The Rev. Lisa Ransom has been called as vicar of Church of Our Saviour, Mission Farm, Killington.
IN MEMORIAM
Justice Ernest W. Gibson III died on May 17. Gibson served as diocesan chancellor from 1977 to 1998. He was a member of St. Michael's, Brattleboro and Christ Church, Montpelier, and also served as a deputy to General Convention. A virtual memorial service will be held in June (details to come) and burial with military honors will take place in Morningside Cemetery in Brattleboro in the fall. Read the obituary .

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.
CYCLE OF PRAYER
May 31: St. Stephen's, Middlebury and the Anglican Church of Melanesia

June 7: Christ Church, Montpelier and La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico

EVENTS CALENDAR AT A GLANCE
(See  the Diocesan Calendar  for details.)

Daily online prayer  at 8:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 11:00 a.m.

May 27 at 4:00 p.m., Clergy Zoom with Bishop Shannon

May 28 at 11:00 a.m., Subcommittees of the Trustees of the Diocese Meeting (Zoom)

May 28 at 1:00 p.m., Meeting of the Trustees of the Diocese (Zoom)

May 31 at 4:00 p.m., Diocesan Pentecost Celebration of Community (Zoom)

June 3 at 10:00 a.m., Standing Committee Meeting (Zoom)

June 3 at 4:00 p.m., Clergy Zoom with Bishop Shannon

June 4 at 4:00 p.m., Wisdom Practice Circles hosted by Rock Point Intentional Community (via Zoo m: https://zoom.us/j/339661906)

June 10 at 4:00 p.m., Clergy Zoom with Bishop Shannon
5 Rock Point Road | Burlington, VT 05408
Tel: (802) 863-3431 | In Vermont (800) 286-3437