MacVean-Brown elected as Vermont Episcopal Church bishop

Maurice L. Harris / The Episcopal Church in Vermont
Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown

The Episcopal Church in Vermont announced the election of Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Interim Rector at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Franklin, Ind., 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.

“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,” said MacVean-Brown. “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.

MacVean-Brown holds a Master of Divinity degree from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Chicago and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. 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.

“I am thrilled to welcome the Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown as bishop-elect,” said the Rev. Dr. Rick Swanson, president of the standing committee of the Episcopal Church in Vermont. “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.”

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 Sept. 28, at Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington. The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate 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 diocesan since 2001 and will retire in October.

The Episcopal Church in Vermont encompasses 45 congregations across the Green Mountain State, including All Saints Episcopal Church in South Burlington and Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne.

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