Diocesan Council Meeting Highlights, February 9, 2019
By Dinny Hawskworth
A cold wind under bright blue skies accompanied the members of the Diocesan Council on their journey to St. Paul’s in White River Junction. As always the meeting opened with devotions. We spent the morning reviewing reports from Committees. Specifics about the search and upcoming election of a new Bishop will be widely publicized to parishes and elected delegates.
The Treasurer’s Report was especially reassuring as the 2018 budget and actual figures were right on target with a small surplus. 84% of parishes met their assessments.
The Bishop kept us advised of Maine’s convention where the Rev. Thomas Brown was elected on the third ballot. He had served in Vermont.
In small group discussion we were asked to fine tune our priorities for Council for the upcoming year. The larger group work resulted in four areas of commitment: Re-Imagining and re-engaging the future of the Episcopal church in Vermont and beyond; Race and reconciliation: Immigration; and Welcoming the new Bishop. Although that list was not prioritized, each area was expanded further. Topics identified to increase our learning were: the Israeli/Palestine conundrum; racial reconciliation exercises; and Episcopal resources and development. The foundation for all our deliberations will be The Way of Love.
A highlight of the gathering came from an hour spent with Mark Hughes, director of Justice for All. He shared his pursuit of racial justice within the criminal justice system targeting advocacy, education, and relationship building. His immediate focus is on a resolution to amend Article 1 of the Vermont State Constitution to remove slavery from it. Most of us admitted we had no idea it was written there. As a result of his stimulating presentation, Council unanimously voted to lend our voice in support of the legislation listing our names and our parishes. A public hearing is coming up shortly.
There was a lively, open exchange of ideas throughout our deliberations. Individuals volunteered for various committees as we realized time was up. We were blessed, and sent on our way filled with the joy of holy fellowship.