It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life;
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever— This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world— This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers— This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history— This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth.
So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.
From Walking on Thorns, by Allan Boesak, Eerdmans, 2004.
O Lord, Let Advent begin again In us, Not merely in commercials; For that first Christmas was not Simply for children, But for the Wise and the strong. It was Crowded around that cradle, With kings kneeling. Speak to us Who seek an adult seat this year. Help us to realize, As we fill stockings, Christmas is mainly For the old folks — Bent backs And tired eyes Need relief and light A little more. No wonder It was grown-ups Who were the first To notice Such a star.
David A. Redding, from If I Could Pray Again (1965)
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"Constant Change is a Part of Our Tradition"
Diocesan Convention Wrap-Up
If participants in the Diocese of Vermont’s 2021 convention did not know the diocese was entering a period of turbulent change before the online sessions last Thursday and Saturday, they certainly knew it afterwards.
The convention—conducted over Zoom—was the first since Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown announced that a recent financial analysis indicated that the diocese would run out of money at some point in 2023.
Presentations by the bishop, Bishop Sean Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York, the Rev. Scott Neal of the recently-established task force to help chart the diocese’s future and Dr. Catherine Meeks of the Absalom Jones Center of Racial Healing in Atlanta, focused primarily on how the diocese might move into a new future while deepening its commitment to racial healing.
“The church as an institution is bound by tradition and we have lived for generations thinking that part of our mission is to protect the church from change,” Bishop Shannon said, in a sermon during a service of morning prayer on Saturday, November 6. “However, we must no longer deny that constant change is part of our tradition.”
Later, in her bishop’s address, she said the diocese’s future might include closer relationships, although not a merger, with the dioceses of New Hampshire and Maine. “We are looking for ways to collaborate across dioceses so that our ministries will be strengthened, and to achieve greater efficiency and increased stewardship of our financial resources,” she said.
Melanie Combs and Linda Moore to be ordained deacons
By the Grace of God and with the consent of the people, Bishop Shannon will ordain Melanie Combs and Linda Moore to the Sacred Order of Deacons on Saturday, November 13 at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington.
Celtic Advent Weekly Meditation Starting November 15
Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Anam Cara Sojourners, a group that explores Celtic spirituality and is directed by the Rev. Kim Hardy of St. James, Essex Junction, is hosting a weekday Celtic-themed online gathering during Advent. The series will provide quiet time for reflection to prepare for Christmas and a group to pray with during this season.
Email the Rev. Lisette Baxter, a member of the Rock Point Intentional Community planning team, with questions or to be added to the Rock Point Intentional Community mailing list.
Diocesan Sacred Ground Program Begins in January
In partnership with the Diocese of Alabama
Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont are invited to participate in the Episcopal Church's Sacred Ground program via Zoom with members of the Diocese of Alabama. The program, part of the Episcopal Church's Becoming Beloved Community initiative, invites participants to learn about the history of race and racism in the United States in the context of family stories, economic class, and political and regional identity.
To sign up or learn more about joining this Sacred Ground circle, email Amy Hastings or call her at 802-989-0647.
Image: Bishop Glenda S. Curry of the Diocese of Alabama with Bishop Shannon.
Green Mountain Online Abbey Schedule
The Green Mountain Online Abbey meets on Zoom Monday through Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 8:00 p.m.