The Episcopal Church in Vermont announces slate of candidates for 11th bishop diocesan

Posted Mar 25, 2019

From left to right are the Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, the Rev. Hillary D. Raining, and The Very Rev. Hilary B. Smith. Photo: Maurice L. Harris/The Episcopal Church in Vermont

[Diocese of Vermont] The Standing Committee of The Episcopal Church in Vermont has announced a slate of three candidates for the 11th bishop of the diocese. The candidates will stand for election on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The new bishop will succeed the Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, who is retiring from the position of bishop diocesan in September after 18 years. The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

  • The Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Interim Rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Franklin, Indiana.
  • The Rev. Hillary D. Raining, Rector, St. Christopher’s Church, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.
  • The Very Rev. Hilary B. Smith, Rector, Holy Comforter, Richmond, Virginia.

The Standing Committee received and approved the slate of candidates by unanimous vote in a closed-door session Saturday. The approval of the list marks the culmination of a process that began nearly 15 months ago at which time the Standing Committee appointed a Bishop Discernment & Nominating Committee to lead the process of discerning and proposing candidates for bishop.

Maggie Thompson, chair of the Bishop Discernment & Nominating Committee and member of Christ Church, Montpelier, commented, “Our committee met every other Saturday for a year. We took time to get to know each other and build trust and rapport. Collectively, we brought many skills, insights and wisdom to the process, along with buoyancy and humor. Our chaplain, the Rev. Carole Wageman, was an integral presence, always centering our work in listening for God’s call as we entered into mutual discernment with our applicants. We came to know and love these three finalists and have the utmost confidence that they represent the characteristics the people of The Episcopal Church in Vermont are seeking, as we heard in our 38 listening sessions in parishes around the state. We are grateful for the support and affirmation of the Standing Committee. The Holy Spirit has swirled among us throughout this lengthy, prayerful, and joyous process.”

The Rev. Rick Swanson, president of the Standing Committee and rector of St. John’s in the Mountains Episcopal Church, Stowe, commended, “The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Vermont is deeply grateful for the ministry of the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee for their commitment to listening to the Spirit through the churches and institutions of the diocese, the candidates and nominees, and their own hearts. They have faithfully offered to the Church in Vermont three individuals who are faithful servants of Our Lord, and any one of them will lead the diocese to embrace the love of God in Jesus Christ and share God’s abundant grace throughout the state of Vermont and the world. We are blessed by their ministry and excited about the future.”

Brett Murphy, member of the Standing Committee and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Northfield, concurred adding, “The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Vermont is excited to present this slate of three candidates for the 11th Bishop of Vermont. We thank the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee for their exhaustive work in considering a diverse pool of applicants and their sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit to bring these excellent candidates to the Church.”

Detailed information on the individual candidates can be found on the Bishop Search website at.

Candidates for bishop may still be added to the final slate through a process of “nomination by petition,” the details of which are stated on the Bishop Search website. Nominations by petition may be filed until at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 29, 2019.

A special convention for the election of the 11th bishop of The Episcopal Church in Vermont is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington. A service of ordination and consecration is scheduled for Saturday, September 28, at the Ira Allen Chapel on the campus of the University of Vermont, Burlington.

The Episcopal Church in Vermont encompasses 45 congregations across the Green Mountain State.