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Hope Fund

Message from the Conference

Friends of the Vermont Conference,

This week, our Vermont Conference Hope Fund Discernment Team met for the very first time. This team has the role of discerning how best to use the money that has been given to the Hope Fund to have the biggest impact on the Vermont Conference over the next ten years. We didn’t want to have our first meeting on Zoom, so we gathered at the Hummingbird Center for Common Ground in Berlin in person for a day long retreat. (I highly recommend this spot if you are looking for a retreat location. The mountain views are spectacular!)

The members of the Team (Caryne Eskridge, Paul Eyer, Lava Mueller, Mary Hoadley, Dan Haugh, Jessica Moore and myself) are a good mix of veteran pastors and pastors starting out in ministry. All have a hopeful spirit about the future of the church! Elise from the Conference Office came along to help us out. We had such a fun and meaningful day!

One book that the group is using in their work is “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You are Going”, by church consultant Susan Beaumont. In it, discernment is defined as “an ever-increasing capacity to ‘see’ the work of God in the midst of the human situation, so that we can align ourselves with whatever God is doing.“ This is the objective of the Discernment Team. In that spirit, we will be looking for projects that nurture relationships with people who don’t go to church, build disciples, children, youth and adults, and welcome the community, by seeking justice and the common good. We plan to set up a simple Application process for grants that churches and individuals in the Conference can use starting on Jan. 1st.

As we approach this special time of the year, we invite churches in the Conference to consider giving part of their Christmas or Epiphany offerings to support the work of the Hope Fund. May our churches be beacons of hope all throughout the state of Vermont, both now and in the years to come!

Faithfully yours,
Paul

A Successful Chicken Pie Supper! Thank you.

I’m taking nature’s invitation to begin to slow down, notice the details of the changing landscape, and embrace transition. What can I let go so that my focus can go where it’s needed? That is the question I’m keeping with me for now.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Chicken Pie Supper: Take-out and Tent Edition a success! I had so much fun joining a whole team of folks to do prep at the church on Monday night, and it was such a joy to welcome folks and meet so many folks as they picked up their food on Tuesday. We sold all 100 meals, and I even spotted a day-of request on Front Porch Forum from someone looking for any extra tickets that would go unused. Even with the chilly and breezy weather, there were some who ate under the tent! The fire pit from the Myhres’s house was a welcome way to warm up a bit for those of us who were outside. And, of course, the food was spectacular (thank you, Martha!!). I am grateful that we were able to try something new – never an easy thing – and I certainly came away feeling nourished by the company and the food. ~Peace, Pastor Caryne

CROP Walk, October 2

Addison County CROP Walk – October 2nd!

Afghanistan and Pakistan are a far cry from Weybridge, Vermont.  And the journey is much more than the actual distance.  The challenges and hardships are difficult to accurately imagine and certainly to relate to.  

What can we do?  

Fortunately, our friends and allies at Church World Services are doing the hard, grass roots, action-oriented work to make a difference.  CWS is one of the leading refugee resettlement agencies responsible for Afghans move to the U.S.  I had a recent conversation with a friend who works as an Afghan resettlement coordinator in New York – it is tireless work, but they are doing their best to answer the overwhelming need.  And, as we see photos of the deadly floods in Pakistan, one main word comes to mind: loss. Thousands of lives, entire communities and the livelihoods of millions have been lost to the raging waters.  CWS has hundreds of workers on the frontlines of disasters, many of which have been significantly intensified because of climate change.  

So, what can we do?  Few of us will be able to do the actual work done by CWS, but we can support it.  Please consider walking, fund raising or donating (or all three!) to this year’s CROP Walk effort.