The Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown
The Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown / Photo credit: M. L. Harris.
Greetings dear people of the Episcopal Church in Vermont.
I’m so looking forward to meeting and getting to know you!
I love how you speak of God’s abundance, the way you articulate the responsibility of being stewards of your resources and the possibility of doing things differently. I have delighted in your authenticity, vulnerability, honesty, creativity and wonder about how God is calling you to be church both now and in the future. You’ve committed to discerning about small church ministry and sustainable ministry models. Instead of allowing yourselves to be gripped by uncertainty, you seem to be holding it lightly, knowing that grace will be found in openness and the reality that you are enough. You stir my creativity, hope, and courage. The idea of being your bishop in partnership- singing, dancing, discerning, exploring what God has in store- makes me feel like I’ve arrived home. Ministry with you would be a joy!
I’m almost a lifelong Episcopalian. When I was four years old, while attending the daycare center of Church of the Messiah Episcopal Church in Detroit, I convinced my mother that we needed to go to church. She agreed, and we joined Messiah and the integral intentional community where my future stepdad was rector and leader. My mother would go on to establish and be principal of Messiah Learning Center, a K through 6 elementary school serving that inner-city Detroit neighborhood.
I was six when I first heard the call to the priesthood, even though I didn’t know the church was not ordaining women then. I was not aware of the barriers that existed because I saw women included in leadership and around the altar. Six-year-olds also think they can do everything. In addition to being a priest, I thought I'd also be an artist, and ballerina. Maybe in my retirement, I’ll try the ballerina option. I do love to dance!
After some years immersing myself in art as a commercial interior designer, designing and selling clay jewelry and tiles through my business, and teaching art, I embraced God’s call to the priesthood.
I have a passion for awakening communities of faith to the power of our baptismal covenant and how it is a genuine bond that connects us to Jesus and each other, drawing us to prayer, worship, and the celebration of God’s creation. Our baptism compels us to notice and be present in our communities, no matter our location.
My experience ministering with a variety of congregations from white blue-collar, historic black urban to a multiethnic and multilingual metropolitan endowed cathedral has developed my ability to companion with people from all walks of life, in the discovery of their identity and giftedness. I am currently Interim Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Franklin, Indiana, a rural congregation, committed to radical welcome and service to their community.
I am committed to social justice work in the church and the community, as seen in my service on the Episcopal Church Taskforce on Women, Justice, and Reconciliation, and as president of Faith in Indiana (501C3), and Act Indiana (501C4). Faith in Indiana and Act Indiana are working closely as a statewide multi-faith organization and creating innovative solutions to issues facing rural, urban and suburban communities. We are many races and sexual orientations, representing many faith expressions; from Roman Catholic to non-denominational, Jewish and Muslim. We are faith leaders and laity, working to call our elected officials to put families first, by addressing issues such as immigration, public transportation, mass incarceration, and criminal justice reform, access to healthcare and day care for children.
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.