[Episcopal Church in Vermont] The Episcopal Church in Vermont has announced the election of the Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, interim rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Franklin, Indiana, as its 11th bishop diocesan.
MacVean-Brown was elected on the first ballot of the Special Electing Convention held May 18 in Burlington, receiving 41 votes in the clergy order and 69 votes in the lay order. A minimum of 31 clergy votes and 58 lay votes were necessary for election on that ballot.
The other nominees were:
• The Rev. Hillary D. Raining, rector, St. Christopher’s Church, Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.
• The Very Rev. Hilary B. Smith, rector, Holy Comforter, Richmond, Virginia.
“I am thrilled to welcome the Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown as bishop-elect,” the Rev. Rick Swanson, president of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Vermont, said. “Her gifts and skills for ministry will not only lead the Episcopal Church of Vermont into the future, but her role in the wider Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion will be a voice of hope and promise for all of God’s people throughout the world.”
Commenting on the election, MacVean-Brown said, “I’m excited that the people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont are so willing to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and try something courageous. I am looking forward to forging relationships, participating in ministry, and joining in the work of the church in the brave little state of Vermont.”
This historic election marks the first time an African American has been elected as bishop of the Episcopal Church in Vermont. Additionally, MacVean-Brown will be one of only three African American women to hold the title of bishop in any of the seven dioceses that make up the Episcopal Church in New England, also known as Province I of The Episcopal Church. The first was the Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, who served as a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Massachusetts from 1989 to 2003 and the Rt. Rev. Gayle Harris, who is presently serving as bishop suffragan in that diocese.
MacVean-Brown holds a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Ecumenical Theological Seminary. She was ordained deacon in 2004 and priest in 2005 in the Diocese of Michigan. MacVean-Brown and her husband, Phil, have been married for 26 years. Together they have three daughters. MacVean-Brown resides in Indiana but will be relocating to Vermont.
Pending the consent of a majority of Episcopal bishops with jurisdiction and a majority of the diocesan standing committees, MacVean-Brown will be ordained and consecrated on Sept. 28 at Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, will serve as the chief consecrator.
MacVean-Brown will succeed the Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, who has served as bishop since 2001 and will retire in October.
The Episcopal Church in Vermont encompasses 45 congregations across the Green Mountain State.