Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights – March 22, 2018
By Maurice L. Harris
Some might think it strange that I enjoy Thursday evening Council meetings. To be clear, logging into my computer for a two-hour web-conference at 7:00 PM on a weeknight is not exactly my idea of fun. However, the exceptional dedication of individuals across the Diocese who join in, whether live or online, and bring their “A game” to every meeting reminds me that the institution of church, at least The Episcopal Church, stills has relevance and meaning at a time when so many have lost faith in God. And so, on Thursday, March 22, at 7:00 PM, I logged in.
Council meetings are open to all people of the Diocese, and various reports are available online, so I will not cover in great detail the business that was discussed during our time together. However, I would like to summarize some of the highlights.
Following an Opening Devotion led by Edith “Dinny” Hawskworth, Mission District 1, and the unanimous acceptance of our consent agenda, we heard from Treasurer Gerry Davis who had two pieces of good news to share. First, he introduced Rich Sagui, our new Diocesan Financial Administrator, who in turn expressed his enthusiasm to support our mission. Additionally, Gerry announced that revenues and expenses are on track so far this year, which is welcome news considering congregations’ commitment to the adjusted Parish Contribution formula in last November’s Diocesan Convention.
To everyone’s excitement, the Rev. Fred Moser spent some time discussing recent developments regarding a proposed Full Communion Agreement between The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church. Although this agreement is not scheduled to be voted on until General Convention 2022 — and there are as yet unanswered questions on such issues as UMC’s acceptance LGBT Episcopal clergy — Council appeared hopeful that the announcement will signal at least a stronger fellowship in the larger body of Christ, perhaps even locally.
Finally, Canon Lynn Bates presented an updated draft of our proposed Council Meeting Topic Schedule. This newly-adopted meeting format provides a forum for Council to “workshop” topics related to our diocesan priorities. For example, in the April 21 meeting, the Rev. Rob Spainhour and I are scheduled to lead a Racial Healing workshop. And the Revs. Liam Miller and Mark Preece will lead a session on Evangelism in May. All are welcome!