Diocesan Council Welcomes New Year, New Members
Diocesan Council, the legislative arm of the diocese between Conventions, ushered in a new year by welcoming a new cadre of members at an annual retreat held at the Bishop Booth Conference Center on January 13-14, 2017. The participants spent time networking, setting diocesan priorities, deepening their understanding of the Jesus Movement, and embracing their call to evangelism.
As explained on the Diocesan Council web page, the organization exists “to support and extend the work of the Bishop and Convention, to promote the health and well-being of the Diocese, and to lead and support the people of the Diocese” in mission. The Diocese is arranged into five Mission Districts, and each District elects three council members to serve a three-year term.
Diocesan Council also consists of the Bishop as Chair, ex officio, and the Chancellor, ex officio. The Canon to the Ordinary, Diocesan Treasurer, and Diocesan Communications Minister also have a seat and voice, but no vote.
To foster collaboration in mission and ministry, Bishop Ely invited all participants to share their perceptions of the Episcopal Church’s Five Marks of Mission, the Jesus Movement, and Local Mission Approach – examining the evolution of the Diocese’s focus on each concept and seeking to discover points of interconnectedness between them. Common to each, the Bishop explained, is a call to evangelism—a word often avoided in progressive churches because of its popular connection with evangelical and fundamentalist churches, but a nonetheless crucial aspect of Christian discipleship.
As an extension of the evangelism message, Communications Minister Maurice Harris challenged Council to dispel what he called, “the myth of the shrinking church,” in light of recent studies indicating strong faith and religious affiliation in the US despite gradual declines in Sunday attendance.
Council spent some time reviewing its progress against the previous year’s diocesan priorities and setting a direction for the year ahead. Some achievements in 2016 included more than $40,000 raised toward the AlleluiaFund goal, significant progress in the development of Local Mission Approaches, and the naming of a new diocesan treasurer. In 2017, Council plans to tackle such issues as continued efforts around dismantling racism, the Funding Our Mission Task Force, Ecumenical/Interfaith Relationships, and disaster preparedness — to name just a few.
Please visit the Diocesan Council web page for additional information, including a schedule of upcoming meetings. Council meetings are open to all people of the Diocese.
In the featured photo: Diocesan Council 2017. Top Row: The Rev. Mark Preece (Mission District 3), Gerry Davis (Treasurer), the Rev. Paul Gratz (Mission District 5), the Rt. Rev. Tom Ely (Bishop), the Rev. Liam Muller (Mission District 4), Paul Leduc (Mission District 1), the Rev. Rob Spainhour (Mission District 1). Middle Row: Elizabeth Parker (Mission District 2), the Rev. Dr. Fred Moser (Mission District 4), the Rev. Heidi Edson (Mission District 5), Jean Wilson (Mission District 2), Barbara Johnson (Mission District 3), John Hartman (Mission District 3), Rick Taylor (Mission District 1). Front Row: the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp (Mission District 2), Lisa Newton (Mission District 4). Not pictured: Deb Moser (Mission District 5), Lynn Bates (Canon to the Ordinary), Tom Little (Chancellor), Fern Fryer (Recording Secretary), and Maurice Harris (Diocesan Communications).