3 Nominees for Vermont

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The Episcopal Church in Vermont has announced three nominees — from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia — in the search for its 11th bishop:

The Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, transition priest at St. John’s Church in Speedway, Ind. (essay answers)

I am always at heart an artist. I express this in the liturgies I create, my poetry and icon writing, and in other creative endeavors that nourish my spirituality. Essential to my identity, my non-negotiable values are love, integrity, truth, authenticity, creativity, community, beauty, prayer, joy, delight, family, our church, and wellness of mind, body, and spirit.

My husband Phil and I have been married for 26 years. He has an MSW and worked in various capacities in Child Protective Services for the state of Michigan until his retirement after 30 years. We have a fifteen-year-old daughter, and a chihuahua named Detroit.

The Rev. Hillary D. Raining, rector of St. Christopher’s Church in Gladwyne, Pa. (essay answers)

The project that I am currently most excited about is called “The Hive.” Before the creation of “The Hive,” I was looking for a place that could speak to deep and meaningful wellness and spirituality topics in a way that fostered conversation and community. I found a lot of great stuff—wellness blogs, lifestyle gurus, theological research— but nothing that blended it all together. So, I do what I always do when I get stuck—I meditated and waited. One such session ended with a bolt of inspiration and “The Hive” was formed! Based on a model of community and support found in the hive of the honey bee, this wellness and spirituality digital community is growing every day.

I am a yoga instructor, bee keeper, and musician and have many varied hobbies, including skiing, hiking, gardening, and leading my daughter’s girl scout troop. I am married to Ken Raining, a reference librarian and circulation desk administrator at The University of Pennsylvania’s Van Pelt Library. We are blessed to be raising our daughter, Delia who is our light and joy!

The Very Rev. Hilary B. Smith, rector of Holy Comforter, Richmond, Va. (essay answers)

I feel called to the Episcopal Church in Vermont and to be your bishop so that together we can explore new ways of being the Church in our time while being grounded in our traditions. The themes of community and belonging run through my life. Together we can help others know the love of God that we have known. I’m passionate about justice for all, and I share your focus on racial reconciliation, creation care, immigration, LGBTQ inclusion, and much more. I believe Vermont is the place God is calling me to so that we can bring out the best in each other to the glory of God and the benefit of all people.

When I was living in Vermont with my Mom, my Dad was living in Miami, FL where he met my Cuban-born stepmother, Zita. I’m part Costa Rican and both my Dad and Zita are native Spanish speakers. While I don’t speak Spanish, I love the culture and spending time in New Mexico where my Dad and Zita have lived for the last 17 years. Their daughter, my sister Miranda is doing a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at Northwestern University.  I’m also part Jewish; my grandfather on my Dad’s side was Jewish as was his whole family, my extended family. I grew up with a lot of diversity. When I came out as gay to my Dad and stepmother, Zita said, “What an exciting thing for our family!”

The diocese will accept nominees by petition until March 29. The electing convention is scheduled for May 18.


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