Greek Orthodox Launches “How-to” Green video series

Greek Orthodox Launches “How-to” Green video series

To observe the global celebration of Earth Day, which was first held in 1970, the Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations welcomes its newest addition to the Greening the Parish initiative: The How-to Video Series. Beginning on Earth Day, the Department will be releasing weekly new videos featuring ideas and ways to introduce creation care and sustainability in your parish and home. Ranging from practical to theological, each three-minute video offers a unique perspective on environmental stewardship through the knowledge and expertise of Orthodox Christians across the United States. 

Have you ever wondered how to start a garden at your parish? Or would you like to learn about 5 simple ways to green your parish? These videos will offer tangible actions you can adopt today, along with introductions to environmentalism, creation care, the theology of creation and the responsibility of Orthodox Christians. 

This first episode features Archdeacon John Chryssavgis on “The Green Patriarch.”

Episode 2 features Dr. George Nassos with “Practical Tips.”


Check the Orthodox Observer every Thursday afternoon for a new episode.

Visit the Resource Page
Joint Urban Ministry Project “Responding to Hope and Need” – Spring 2021 Update

Joint Urban Ministry Project “Responding to Hope and Need” – Spring 2021 Update

2020 was a year like no other at the Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP).  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, JUMP operated a Drop-In Center in Burlington providing vouchers for basic needs ranging from groceries, utility assistance, transportation gas support, identification, laundry, prescription co-pay, household goods, personal care items and cleaning supplies serving Chittenden County and beyond.

In March 2020, when the pandemic prevented in-person visits, JUMP quickly changed direction by providing online services and mailed vouchers through the new FLEX Assistance Program. These vouchers assist in not only meeting basic needs, but New families in need have been identified.

The online FLEX assistance support has improved program efficiency as JUMP adapted and created four different lanes for clients to access services: FLEX Online application, FLEX Mail In application, Call JUMP– for FLEX application by mail, and Quarterly Care Call (QCC) where staff and volunteers call QCC registered clients who lack computer skills, elderly, homebound serving as a caring point of contact to also proactively identify where food or other needs may exist.

Despite the impact, JUMP remained a dependable reliable resource providing voucher assistance to families and individuals representing (32) towns. Clients requested 2865 vouchers valued at $78,358Top requested vouchers included food security relief 57% valued at $44,458 and Utility Assistance 14% valued $12,192.

Still, the Utility assistance voucher requires an additional $15 to subsidize which helps JUMP sustain a workable 2021 budget. Helping to subsidize Utility assistance will help keep families in their home and maintain good credit by not having utilities disconnected. Plus, based on the potentially long-range economic effects of the pandemic there is no end in sight to the vulnerable population who will be “living on the edge”.

The Covid-19 Impact – Like many non-profits, the current crisis has forced JUMP to re-imagine how we operate, how we administer service, how we interact. We believe, what has manifest is an opportunity to reconfirm JUMP’s purpose as we effectively “Respond to the need that is out there” and work to ensure the well-being and dignity of our most vulnerable neighbors.

With much appreciation, thank you supporting 28 are area faith communities, local agencies, businesses, individual donors, foundations, and First Congregational Church UCC of Burlington for donated space as well as Board of Directors, Committee members, Volunteers and Staff for your unwavering commitment and dedication to JUMP’s mission.

To learn more about JUMP’s important work please visit our website: www.jumpvt.org  and JUMP Client video courtesy of Charlotte Congregational Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUe81ohXi7g

Help respond to the need and hope that is out there. Donate online TODAY: www.jumpvt.org or by mail: JUMP, PO Box 1657, Burlington, VT 05402

Focus on Food

Focus on Food

NORTH END FOOD PANTRY
Saturdays: 9-11am,
Sundays: 9-11am (bakery/produce items only)
Oddfellows and Rebekahs Lodge of Burlington
1416 North Ave (entrance is in the rear of the building)

Stop in if you need extra food support for yourself or your family.  we have canned food, bakery items, milk, produce, and health-related items on Saturdays.  On Sundays, we offer a “second helping” of bakery items and produce.

Donations may be dropped off at the pantry on Saturdays or Sundays between 8-11am.  If you prefer to have a donation picked up from you, please contact us to arrange this.  You may email us at tlfleury@aol.com or call us at 802.862.7300.  Please note that the telephone is answered only on Saturdays and Sundays between 8-11am.  In the case of a food emergency, please also contact us at that email address and/or telephone number.

*** The North End Food Pantry provides food for those who need it on an emergency basis.  The expectation is that visitors will take what they need while being mindful that our supply of food is low and the need for it among all our visitors is high.  To make sure there is enough food or everyone, we ask each visitor to take no more than two plastic grocery bags of food and to be careful not to take too many of the same item.  This two-bag limit does not include perishable food, and we can provide visitors with additional bags for these items.  Visitors to the pantry on a Saturday may return for a “second helping” of food the following day but please remember that only bakery and produce items are available on Sundays.

Faith Climate Action Week

Faith Climate Action Week

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light invites your congregation to participate in its upcoming Faith Climate Action Week!
 
During April, known as Earth Month, Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) hopes you will get involved in Faith Climate Action Week, an annual commemoration held April 16–25.  This year’s theme is, Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between our Faith, our Food, and the Climate.
 
If your congregation plans to hold any special activity or event, including virtual viewings of the free Faith Climate Action Week feature film, Kiss the Ground, please let VTIPL know by Friday, April 9, and we will feature your activity in a list of FCAW events in Vermont.
 
Kiss the Ground is available for free online screening April 10 – 26 or you can order a DVD of the film and discussion guide. Register to view the film and watch the trailer.
Kiss the Ground is a documentary which shows how regenerating the world’s soils has the potential to rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies. The film explains why transitioning to regenerative agriculture could be key in rehabilitating the planet, while invigorating renewed hope and inspiration in viewers.  On Wednesday, April 21, at 2 p.m. ET, national IPL will host a webinar Sacred Ground, a Message of Hope with filmmaker Josh Tickell and Faith in Place’s Veronica Kyle on what congregations can do to be part of the solution to food justice and climate justice. 
 
Please contact VTIPL for more information and to share your Earth Month event. Thanks! info@vtipl.org  www.vtipl.org
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness about the causes and risk factors for sexual assault and empower individuals to take steps to prevent it in their communities.

“Sexual violence is a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent,” said Sharon Trani, a nurse practitioner and a marriage and family therapist with Vermont Catholic Charities Inc., adding that consent cannot be granted under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are many types of sexual violence including rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse, date/acquaintance rape, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment and sex trafficking.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexual violence is common. More than one in four women and one in five men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. One in three female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11 and 17 years old and one in eight reported that it occurred before age 10. Nearly one in four male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11 and 17 years old and about one in four reported that it occurred before age 10. Nine percent of high school girls said they experienced sexual assault before graduation.

Catherine Ducasse was 19 when she was raped. “Through spiritual direction, prayers, adoration, retreats and the sacraments I have been able to persevere on my path of healing and wholeness,” said the parishioner of Christ the King-St. Anthony Parish in Burlington. “Every time I receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, I remind myself that I am strengthened through Jesus Christ, that He is my strength, my courage, my light and my hope, that He and I are united in suffering, and through Him I will find inner peace and freedom from that horrific event.”

She is a victim advocate and associate director for H.O.P.E WORKS (Healing, Outreach, Prevention, Empowerment) serving Chittenden County.

“Advocacy entails listening, supporting, showing empathy, educating and empowering survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones,” she said. “It is to be present to survivors and their stories and to remind her/him that ‘I believe you,’ ‘It’s not your fault,’ ‘I’m sorry this happened to you” and “You are not alone.’”

Her faith strengthens her advocacy work in various ways. Before she returns a crisis phone call, she prays that the Holy Spirit guide her. She reminds herself that she is sharing God’s love in a dark moment of a person’s life and that she can be a vessel for His hope and light. “I have often asked the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe in dire situations, and I surrender the survivors to be wrapped in Mary’s mantle and be in Her comfort and care,” she said. “I believe Our Lady of Guadalupe is an advocate for victims of sexual violence and praying to her and our Lord Jesus definitely strengthens me to be the person I need to be.”

She also asks for the intercession of other saints like St. Maria Gortetti, St. Joan of Arc, St. John Paul II and St. Padre Pio. “Spiritual direction, prayer, retreats and daily Masses are all part of my self-care routine to help me face the vicarious trauma I encounter in my daily advocacy work,” Ducasse said.

According to Tran, everyone plays a role in preventing sexual violence and establishing norms of respect, safety, equality and helping others. “Empowering women to resist violence and protect themselves … is a positive and sensible part of sexual violence prevention, and there is a long history behind these kinds of approaches,” she said. “However, women-focused approaches used in isolation for prevention not only deflect responsibility from potential perpetrators but also represent only a partial solution. We can have a greater effect through combined efforts that also focus on potential perpetrators, bystanders and broader community-level influences.”

For more information, contact Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence at rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline or call the Office on Women’s Health Helpline at 1-800-994-9662.

“If you or a loved one needs help after sexual violence or are in an abusive relationship know that you are not alone,” Ducasse said. “You can reach out to speak to an advocate and they can assist you in making a safety and a healing plan.”

Reach H.O.P.E WORKS at 802-863-1236 for victims of sexual violence or Steps to End Domestic Violence at 802-658-1996 for domestic violence. “You can reach out to a trusted family member, friend, counselor or speak to clergy,” she added.

There are also options for safety and accountability such as filling for protective orders, reporting to police and going to the hospital. “It is important that survivors feel empowered to make their own decision after a traumatic event or if they are in an abusive relationship,” she said. “Advocates can educate and provide information on different options, but it’s ultimately the person’s decision on how and when they are going to proceed.”

To reach out to Ducasse directly, email catherine@hopeworksvt.org.

April online Christian Concert with Lydia Laird

April online Christian Concert with Lydia Laird

APRIL 14 @ 7PM ET via ZOOM
Tickets available for $15/ea per family – purchase online at https://vtchristianmusic.com
Facebook event – https://www.facebook.com/events/491153722049277

Not all artists’ work transcends sound to emotion but for artist/songwriter Lydia Laird, she doesn’t make music any other way. Her self-titled debut EP, releasing August 2020, will not only introduce listeners to Laird’s powerful vocals but also to her willingness to be in the dark places and find hope there with anthems that honestly address the pain in life along with the power of the Gospel.

Laird, who is number seven in a family of ten children, grew up in a Christian home in East Texas while also living in Romania as missionaries when she was young. She remembers becoming a Christian when she was just four years old and wrote her first song at nine as music became an outlet for her.

LYDIA LAIRD – https://www.lydialaird.com/

St. Joseph the Provider Food Security Initiative

St. Joseph the Provider Food Security Initiative

Food insecurity in Vermont has reached record levels during the Covid-19 pandemic with nearly 30 percent of Vermonters experiencing food insecurity since March, new University of Vermont research has found.

In this Year of St. Joseph, Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne has announced a new coordinated effort to increase the Catholic Church’s capacity to feed the hungry in Vermont in response to the increasing need.

In the Diocese of Burlington, there are 68 parishes, most of which have formed a partnership with their local food shelf or operate their own pantry. “From operating their own food shelf, to partnering with local food shelves to hosting regular food drives, our Catholic community is already actively engaged in feeding the hungry,” he said. “I began this initiative to increase our efforts across our Diocese to meet the growing need for food in the community.”

Eileen O’Rourke, former executive director of human resources for the Diocese, volunteered to help launch this effort in collaboration with diocesan staff and the Vermont Foodbank to increase the Church’s capacity to feed the hungry by increasing volunteerism and food donations through local parish partnerships and foodbank initiatives throughout the state.

“The Vermont Foodbank is experiencing an unprecedented demand for food due to the pandemic,” she said. “They expressed a dire need for volunteers for several food distribution events that they host monthly and seasonally as well as in the local food shelves.”

The Vermont Foodbank is the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, providing nutritious food through a network of more than 300 community partners – food shelves, meal sites, senior centers, after-school programs, schools and hospitals. The Vermont Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, provides about 12 million pounds of food annually to people throughout Vermont.

“Throughout the year, the Foodbank hosts VeggieVanGo, gleaning and other food distribution events that are supported by our amazing network of volunteers,” said Kate Steward, volunteer manager for the Vermont Foodbank. “The Covid-19 pandemic has made it harder for many of our community members to access the food they need to thrive. In fact, Foodbank volunteers helped to distribute over 19 million pounds of food last year to Vermonters facing hunger — a dramatic rise from 2019. We’re grateful that members of the Diocese are willing to step forward and fight hunger by volunteering with the foodbank; it truly makes a difference in the lives of our neighbors.”

The St. Joseph the Provider Feed the Hungry Initiative is largely a communication effort to connect the Catholic community with organizations that feed the hungry and increase capacity.

“All our parishes are involved in multiple social ministries to help the most vulnerable among us. This initiative will harness the goodwill of the Catholic community to increase our capacity to ensure no one goes hungry by partnering with existing organizations and meeting the need,” Bishop Coyne said.

Parishes with Pantries

St. Charles, Bellows Falls

Sacred Heart-St. Francis de Sales, Bennington

St. Monica, Barre

St. Peter, Vergennes/St. Ambrose, Bristol

Nativity of Blessed Virgin Mary-St. Louis, Swanton/Highgate

St. John the Baptist, North Bennington

St. Ann, Milton

Our Lady of the Lake, Grand Isle/Alburgh/South Hero/Isle la Motte

St. Michael, Brattleboro

Most Holy Trinity, Barton

March Worship Night online

March Worship Night online

MONTHLY ONLINE CONCERT SERIES

2nd Wednesday Night of the Month – 7pm via Zoom — LIMITED SEATING AVAILABLE

ZOOM link will be sent out via email a few days before the show.

Tickets will be on sale through 6pm March 10, 2021 or until we run out of Zoom seats.

March 10, 2021 @ 7PM ET – featuring

JEN ALDANA

http://www.jenaldanamusic.com/

$10/FAMILY TICKETS

 VISIT OUR EVENT PAGE

Jen Aldana is a Boston based singer-songwriter and worship leader. She is most known for winning Season 5 of “The Voice on Snapchat” on Team Adam and working with Noah Cyrus.

Jen started writing and playing music at the age of 7. Through years of performing, touring, and singing at special events and concerts (such as at The Apollo Theater), she quickly realized she was meant to be an artist. By college, she received a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music and eventually graduated with a degree in Songwriting.

Requesting Bibles

Requesting Bibles

Did you know that the Vermont Bible Society, a fully funded ministry within the VECNCC, helps Vermonters and Vermont-based ministries get FREE bibles to distribute throughout Vermont and the World?

The Vermont Bible Society’s funding comes from the Greenleaf Fund, established by Colonel Charles Greenleaf. The Bible Society does not keep a supply of Bibles on hand. The ministry or person making the request provides information to the Vermont Bible Society about which Bibles it wants, and the VBS places the order with a particular publisher or bookstore, depending on which Bibles are needed. The Bibles are usually shipped directly to the requester.

Guidelines for the use of the Greenleaf Fund

The Greenleaf Fund shall be used to distribute Bibles without charge to ministries and individuals in Vermont. It may also be used to provide a Bible of choice to each newly-ordained clergy person who resides in Vermont, and to pastors being installed in their first Vermont church. The Fund will provide Bibles to any church destroyed in a catastrophe in Vermont. Any other use of the fund not consistent with this policy must be at the discretion of VEC leadership.

Colonel Charles Henry Greenleaf was born on July 23, 1841 in Danville, Vermont. He moved with his parents to New Hampshire while still an infant and spent most of his life in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Throughout his life, he carried a copy of the New Testament in his pocket and read it daily. Upon his death, he left a generous gift to both the Vermont and New Hampshire Bible Societies for the purchase and free distribution of the Holy Bible.

The Vermont Bible Society has distributed Bibles throughout the State of Vermont to: prisons, hospitals, street ministries, churches, soldiers, and more.

If you have a ministry in need of bibles, please use our online form found at – https://vecncc.org/request-bible/

Vietnamese seminarians

Vietnamese seminarians

For the vocations director for the Diocese of Burlington, Father James Dodson, “it is a joy to welcome” three seminarians for the Diocese of Burlington from Vietnam. “It is always a great blessing when young men hear and respond to God’s call for their lives with faith, hope, love and a lot of prayerful excitement,” he said.

The new seminarians are Khoa Nguyen, An Dinh and Loc Vo.

They currently are living at St. John Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts, and studying English at Boston University.

The Diocese covers the cost of tuition, room and board and other miscellaneous expenses during their time of formation.

“God-willing, and upon successful completion of their formation, they will be ordained priests of the Diocese of Burlington and serve in Vermont for the rest of their lives,” Father Dodson said.

An was born in 1995 and has one younger sister. He graduated from Lac Hong University with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering in 2018. While in Vietnam, he served in parishes as a catechist, altar server, cantor and volunteer in hospitals and shelters for the less fortunate.

Loc was born in 1994. He is the youngest in his family, which includes four older brothers and three older sisters. He graduated from Hue University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in literature. While in Vietnam, he was a vocational team leader of a group of Catholic students studying in Hue while serving Mass and teaching catechism.

An and Loc both arrived in the United States on Dec. 29, 2020.

Khoa was born in 1994 and has two younger sisters. He graduated from Medicine and Pharmacy University in Saigon with a bachelor’s degree in medicine in 2017. He worked in a children’s hospital in Vietnam for one year before coming to the United States in 2018 to study English at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

“There is an abundance of seminarians in Vietnam and a need for more seminarians and priests in the United States,” Father Dodson said. “It is in light of this reality that An, Loc and Khoa discerned God’s call and have come to Vermont as the first step in answering His call.”

The commitment to faith and family in Vietnam is strong, he noted: “The Vietnamese seminarians bring with them this lived experience, which can help to inspire, reignite and recapture a fervor for the faith in our families throughout the Diocese.”

The Diocese already had two seminarians from Vietnam, Luan Tran and Giang Vu; both are in their second year of pre-theology studying at St. Meinrad Seminary in Meinrad, Indiana.

“Please keep An, Loc and Khoa and all our diocesan seminarians in your daily prayers as together we pray for an increase in vocations throughout the Diocese of Burlington,” Father Dodson said.