Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights – January 19-20, 2018
By Lisa Newton
Friday, January 19, 2018
The gathering began at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, with a clear and informative presentation on the Diocesan budget from Gerry Davis, MD, Treasurer. This presentation was followed by a quick review of 2017, which is summarized here:
- Racial Reconciliation Team: put together an impressive (full-color) presentation, described learning to work together well.Evangelism: this will be the topic for the Convention; presentation is expected tomorrow.
- Models for ministry in Vermont, including local ministry approaches; mission is our central focus, and local ministry is becoming a priority.
- Took awhile, but we developed an alcohol policy for diocese and parish events.
- We’re getting better at videoconferencing.
Saturday, January 20, 2018
The day’s proceedings were formed as an extended Eucharist, with the opening liturgy of the word to start the day, the business of the Council to comprise the homily, and the conclusion of the service in the afternoon before breaking.
The first part of that sermon was a presentation by Lee Crawford and Lars Hunter of the Standing Committee on the looming Episcopal Transition for Vermont. It is presently in the process of forming a Bishop’s Discernment and Nomination Committee (BDNC). The process has started well, and there is time to do it well; those who are interested in participating are referred to the Diocesan website.
The sermon continued at 10:30 AM with a presentation on Evangelism by Liam Muller (Trinity Rutland) and Titus Presler, Priest in Partnership at St. Matthew’s in Enosburg Falls. Quick writing assignment: What is your favorite part of going to church on Sunday? What is your favorite part of being in a parish? And What is your favorite part of being a Christian? Answers varied, but the point was that all of us were able to complete the quiz in 30 seconds or so. Question, then; why not share your answers? And that sharing is called evangelism. Evangelism requires vulnerability. It should be distinguished from ecclesial welcoming (making newcomers feel at home in church), and any other practice motivated by church growth (important as that may be).
The preprandial portion of the sermon concluded with a presentation on communications by Communications Minister Maurice Harris. At lunch, the Eucharist continued with the Prayers. Ecumenical activities were announced on behalf of the Rev. Fred Moser (Trinity Shelburne) who was unable to attend.
After lunch, the council heard from Rob Spainhour and Maurice Harris on the work of the Racial Reconciliation Team. There was some discussion of the process of combating racism that they worked out: Acknowledgment, Engagement, Reconciliation, Restoration. Would a workshop on Dismantling Racism be a good idea?
The rest of the business meeting included an announcement that Rev. Bob Wilson has been appointed to the Grants and Loans committee, a review of the Alleluia Fund (with a suggestion that the website should include a description of the procedure to seek a grant from the Fund), and a brief review of the Personnel Guidelines Document.
At the close of business, the Eucharist was continued and concluded; Bishop Ely closed out the day by commissioning (or recommissioning) the members of the Council to service. At 3:00 PM the meeting was adjourned.