Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights, January 18-19, 2019
By the Rev. Paul Habersang
On the weekend of January 18 & 19, members of Diocesan Council came together for a working retreat at the Bishop Booth Conference Center on Rock Point in Burlington. While the weather was very cold and a major snowstorm was about to descend upon New England, there was plenty of warmth and camaraderie present among all the members of the team.
We spent Friday night getting to know one another and we welcomed two new members to the Diocesan Council Team; Alice Daley and Colleen Gates. Also on Friday evening, we looked back at some of the priorities that Council engaged in 2018. We learned about “The Way of Love” which is a rule of life sponsored by the Episcopal Church that invites participants to “turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go, & rest” as we strive to follow Jesus by committing to living unselfish, holy lives just as Jesus did.
On Saturday, we heard from our Diocesan Chancellor, Tom Little, who helped us to understand the role and responsibilities of his ministry among us. Later, we heard from David McKay, Treasurer of the Rock Point Board, who shared the vision of making the Rock Point Commons a sustainable part of our diocesan heritage for generations to come. Dr. Gerry Davis, Treasurer of the Diocese, also offered a detailed overview of our diocesan finances by presenting a condensed version of “Diocesan Finances 101.” The bottom line of this whirlwind course reminded us that our diocesan budget for 2019 will be flat to that of 2018 in order to maintain a balanced and prudent fiscal budget.
Later, on Saturday, Council also brainstormed about what priorities we might embrace for 2019. Some of these priorities included: Environment, Evangelism, The Way of Love (as an overarching principal for Council), Race Relations, Ecumenical & Interreligious Relations, Understanding the Israel/Palestine Resolution, Opioid Epidemic & Homelessness, Issues Relating to Immigration & Refugees, Welcoming a New Bishop, & Parish Sustainability. Obviously, there were a number of suggested priorities and Bishop Ely invited council members to consider which ones we might focus on in 2019. We will plan to set those priorities in place at the next Council meeting which is scheduled for February 9th in White River Junction. As we wrapped up the day, Bishop Ely invited Council members to also consider serving on the Diocesan Finance Committee or the AlleluiaFund Committee.
Because of the threat of the impending storm, we powered through lots of material and were able to adjourn a little early at about 1:40 PM. Gathering as a team for this working retreat weekend was really helpful and informative and I personally believe that we all grew closer together as a united team.