Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights – June 30, 2018
By Barbara Johnson
The June meeting of the Diocesan Council, held at Christ Church, Montpelier, was called to order by The Rt. Rev. Thomas Ely at 10:00 AM. Following morning devotions, led by the Rev. Liam Muller, the Rev. Paul Habersang shared a brief overview of the various activities of Christ Church, including community activities, such as the soup kitchen, and creative use of space in the Church and the Parish Hall to expand community involvement and generate revenue.
Following acceptance of the consent agenda, Diocesan Treasurer Gerry Davis presented a financial review, reflecting the overall positive status of the Diocesan Budget. Revenues and expenses remain at expected levels, with contributions from congregations at 96% of projections. 2018 receipts for the Alleluia Fund, combined with remaining funds from 2017, represent a total of $26,724 that is available for distribution by the Grants and Loans Committee.
Council members reviewed and discussed the following Standing Reports:
Bishop Ely commended contributors for their continuing support, which has enabled the Grants and Loans Committee to respond to many requests from congregations, as well as special initiatives for Rock Point Camp. Council members were reminded to encourage parishioners to participate as golfers or sponsors of the upcoming Golf Tournament on September 22, 2018.
Noting the pending retirement of Jeanne Finan, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, Bishop Ely reported that he and Canon Lynn Bates have met with the wardens to begin the discernment process to fill this important role. The Bishop will serve as Interim Dean.
Commission on Ministry
Lisa Newton reported that the Commission met on June 9, to consider those individuals who have recently become or are in the process of becoming priests or deacons. The Commission is also reworking the process for the work of ministry support teams.
The transition team is conducting a series of listening sessions throughout the Diocese for parishioner participation, as well as meeting with various groups, such as the Council, who are part of the diocesan governance structure. A Call has been issued for participation on the Transition Team, with at July 15 deadline for responses.
Grants and Loans
The Committee met recently to review applications; work continues to clarify its charge, with a focus on the relation to the Diocese. Membership on the Committee is under review to determine the status of opportunities to serve.
As reported by the Rev. J. Robert Spainhour, Diocesan Convention Alternate, deputies, and alternates met on June 5 at St. Stephens Church, Middlebury, to discuss issues of concern for individual and the group, and roles and responsibilities at Convention. The Vermont deputation is well represented on the national level at General Convention, including a very visible role for our Bishop. Convention attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a prayer service outside one of the Texas border areas that is housing immigrants in a detention center.
Jean Wilson reported that the Province will meet at General Convention.
A Clergy Day is planned for October 2018; information is available on the web site for congregations wishing to become engaged in racial reconciliation activities.
A new pledge of $100,000 was received on June 29, and additional pledges are still coming in to the Rock Point Partnership Campaign. Bishop Ely reported that 44 out of 45 congregations are participating through pledges or gifts, and several Burlington-area organizations are forming a coalition to raise funds to support stewardship and development of Rock Point and the surrounding area. A portion of the funds generated by the campaign will be transferred as endowments or deferred maintenance funds to sustain the properties into the future.
Vermont Ecumenical Council/Vermont Interfaith Action:
The VEC is planning a large mission fair and concert on October 20 at the north Avenue Alliance Church in Burlington, including performances of Christian folk/rock music and representation from 35-40 area ministries.
Green Mountain Witness
Following a lunch break, Council Members heard a presentation from members of the Evangelism Team, who shared their personal experiences with Evangelism that led to their participation on the Team. After reviewing the Team’s activities since January and previewing the remaining events for the first year of their work, members described preliminary plans for the 2018 Diocesan Convention (October 26-27), which will serve as a centerpiece of the mobilization for Green Mountain Witness.
The Council meeting adjourned with closing prayer, at 2:00 PM.