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Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights

Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights – May 16, 2018

By the Rev. Paul Habersang

On Wednesday May 16, 2018, Diocesan Council met via Zoom web conference and discussed the following topics:

Treasurer’s Report. Our diocesan treasurer, Dr. Gerry Davis reports that overall revenue, contributions from congregations, and budgeted expenses for 2018 are largely on target. In addition, the close of fiscal year 2017 is also largely completed. Due to efficiencies in cost containment and additional 2017 contributions from four congregations, the previously anticipated budget deficit for 2017 is now significantly reduced. The total deficit for 2017 totals only $4,392. The remaining $4,392 deficit will be absorbed throughout the congregations of the diocese who will be asked to pay a small portion of the deficit. Letters to congregational treasurers will be mailed by the end of May.

Models for Leadership. Bishop Ely and Canon Lynn Bates led a conversation discussing the models of congregational leadership that are currently being employed throughout the diocese. While the traditional clergy models of rector and priest-in-partnership are still active in the diocese, Bishop Ely reports that leadership models are definitely changing to meet the needs of changing congregational models. Other models for congregational leadership include: sacramental partnerships, supply clergy, and interim clergy leadership. Beyond clergy models of leadership, Bishop Tom is hopeful that individual faith communities will focus on being ministering communities rather than communities gathered around a minister. Examples of lay leadership within the diocese include Local Ministry Support Teams and Covenant Groups. Both of these models of congregational leadership focus on ministry development within their unique congregations.

While the traditional clergy models of rector and priest-in-partnership are still active in the diocese, leadership models are changing to meet the needs of changing congregational models.

As congregations change over time, the Bishop reminded us that clergy charged with leading changing congregations must also manage their time effectively. Bishop Tom pointed out that many clergy in the diocese are ¾ time, ½ time, or even ¼ part-time priests. As such, it is beneficial for congregations to understand what the expectations of part time clergy may be so they have a better perspective in terms of expectations and weekly schedules.

Both Bishop Ely and Canon Bates expressed the reality that creativity in congregational leadership is critical now, especially as we move into the future. Down the road there may be opportunities to partner with Lutheran churches or even with joining with other Episcopal churches. Regional collaborations and cluster ministries will also be an option as the Episcopal Church in Vermont moves forward into the next generation of mission and ministry.

Commission on Ministry. The diocesan Commission on Ministry Team will meet with Dr. Jesse Zink, principal at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College, to explore the possibilities of developing future partnerships, continuing education, and professional training for Episcopalians here in Vermont.

Rock Point. The Partnership Campaign for Rock Point continues to make great progress, as the final aspects of the campaign come to a conclusion. Bishop Ely reports that the City of Burlington has been very supportive of the project and has shown good will toward honoring the sanctuary space and trails that are part of the Rock Point campus.

Racial Reconciliation Team. Maurice Harris reports that he was able to attend Christ Church, Montpelier, on two different occasions, and film two public speaking events on racial issues that will complement the library of videos available on the Racial Healing Landing Page.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Habersang

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