Convention puts capital campaign on hold
Delegates from 39 of the Diocese of Vermont’s 48 congregations and 38 canonically resident clergy gathered the afternoon of June 4, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Burlington, for a Special Diocesan Convention. Bishop Thomas Ely called for the gathering at the 2010 Diocesan Convention for the specific purpose of considering and acting on a report from the Capital Campaign Discernment Committee (CCDC).
Following an opening worship service of readings, hymns and prayers, an address by the bishop, a report from the CCDC and facilitated small group discussions, the Convention adopted a resolution proposed by the CCDC. It calls for attention and actions to address the concerns expressed in the Feasibility Study prepared by Consultant Christine Graham and resolves, “that the Bishop and Diocesan Council, parallel with the above efforts, use the next 18 months to prepare a detailed plan for a collaborative diocesan-wide approach to fundraising to be presented to Diocesan Convention 2012 for consideration and action.” The resolution also asked delegates to “commit to communicate the content, spirit and outcome of this day with the members of their local congregations.”
See below for links to materials related to the proposed capital campaign, including the consultant’s Feasibility Study Report.
Bishop Ely’s address
Bishop Ely told the Convention, “We gather today for a sacred conversation: A sacred conversation about our common life and ministry as God’s people called to participate in God’s reconciling mission in a rapidly changing world and church.” He expressed gratitude to the members of the CCDC and co-chairs Peter Galbraith and Jamie Hastings, as well as to Consultant Christine Graham, those she interviewed, and the many others involved in the process and in planning for the Convention.
The bishop called attention to three primary concerns expressed by those interviewed: 1) a focus of concern on their local churches and the threats to their future; 2) lack of agreement on and insufficient specificity regarding proposed campaign priorities; and 3) a sense of lack of connection to the Diocese and thus interest in investing in a campaign at this point.
Ely said these concerns, to the extent true, “describe something of a ‘disconnect’ in how we understand and relate to one another as ‘Diocese,’” and a pose a “question of confidence with regard to whether ‘we’ as the Diocese can help solve the extraordinary challenges we are facing, or not.”
While as bishop, he sees “the Diocese” in terms of its members and local congregations, as we, others seem to have a more they image, and he invited open and honest conversation about this dynamic.
The full text of Bishop Ely’s address is here.
Reporting for the CCDC, Peter Galbraith said, “I believe that most congregations would benefit from a capital campaign, but it is clear to us that now is not the time.” He added, “Our focus over the next 18 months is on what you believe to be your needs. We need to fully understand the relational issues, the disconnect between the Diocese and the congregations, before developing a new case statement. That begins this afternoon.”
Delegates were seated at round tables in the Cathedral nave, each of which had a facilitator who recorded major points for the CCDC’s later use. They spent nearly an hour talking about the Case Study, the results of the Feasibility Study, and the questions raised by Bishop Ely. Each table reported back with “table tweets” that offered brief reflections on their conversations. They spoke about the need to get connected, a need to build awareness of diocesan resources, a scarcity mentality and a need to get beyond fear, a need for clarity of purpose and vision, a need to reach youth and young adults, a need to build relationships among congregations, and much more.
With virtually no debate, the Convention adopted the CCDC’s resolution, and Bishop Ely said, “You are both decision makers and ambassadors of the work you have been doing today,” and that he would welcome further thoughts.
Materials related to capital campaign
Summary Case Statement (“Spirit and Energy”), February 2011 (pdf)
Communications Detailed Case Statement (pdf)
Earth Stewardship Detailed Case Statement (pdf)
Mission Farm Detailed Case Statement (pdf)
Rock Point Detailed Case Statement (pdf)
Spiritual Formation Detailed Case Statement (pdf)