Nearly 200 elected delegates from 46 congregations in the Diocese of San Diego, college chaplaincies and their clergy gathered for the 39th annual diocesan convention at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9.
The Rev. Dr. Reggie McNeal gave an entertaining and incisive keynote address at the gala dinner on Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency, Indian Wells. He spoke again Saturday morning at St. Margaret’s, Palm Desert about reaching out to our neighbors, being leaders and changing the world.
The Rt. Rev. John Chane, retired bishop of the Diocese of Washington gave the Eucharist sermon at St. Margaret’s. His words recalled the state of decline of not only the Episcopal Church, but all churches in America. He encouraged greater creativity in carrying out church activities including yoking parishes and turning over more leadership to the laity. “The God of mission has a church in the world,” he said. “Let us be that church.”
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes installed Ms. Nancy Holland as a canon of the diocese; her official title is now canon for mission enterprise and director of the Episcopal Church Center.
Bishop Mathes commended the decisions made at last year’s convention to merge two governing bodies into one Executive Council and to pass the mission plan which guides diocesan life to this day. He thanked the Diocesan Service Coalition for its work across congregational lines and encouraged members of every congregation to attend the quarterly Service Summits.
He announced diocesan staff changes, including the end of the development director position and the addition of a part-time accounting and administrative assistant, which will allow the current treasurer’s assistant to help congregations with their annual audits. A new missioner for young adult ministries and one for Hispanic ministries will be added this year as well.
Bishop Mathes shared the details of the feasibility study with the Convention, stating that the capital campaign goal was scaled back from $5 million to $2 million based on the information gathered.
“For the balance of this year, we will be in the so-called quiet, or major gift, phase of the campaign with a formal kick off at next year’s convention,” said Bishop Mathes.
The diocesan staff plans to move into the Episcopal Church Center in Ocean Beach at year’s end and the School for Ministry will begin its tenure there in September.
Bishop Mathes laid out the reasons for the new Vital Congregations plan, saying, “Many of our congregations are at risk. Too many of us are living beyond our means. Reserves are being depleted.” Taking a cue from McNeal, he said, “We need a different scorecard.” The plan divides the congregations into eight geographic ministry areas. Each area will be assigned a missioner who will work to build collaboration among congregations.
In a moment of personal openness, Bishop Mathes shared his new priority for his own physical health and well-being and encouraged all present to care for their own bodies by attending the Health and Wellness Summit on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, UTC.
All resolutions passed with minimal amendment. One calls for canonical change to allow the diocesan treasurer authorization up to $2,000 to pay for items not approved in the budget, up from $500. Another resolution changes the date of financial reports from June 1 to September 1 in order to allow time for audits to be conducted. Another canonical resolution authorizes the secretary of convention as a signatory on diocesan checks.
A resolution put forth by the Advocacy mission leader, Dr. Steve Crawford, calls upon all members to begin every meeting with the question, “How will what we do here affect or involve those living in poverty?” A second advocacy resolution encourages all clergy, congregations and agencies to educate themselves about the needs of our nation’s military personnel and veterans and to “take action in the face of increasing reports of veterans and active duty military who commit suicide, lose jobs, use illegal drugs, become homeless or die.” Focusing on immigration, a third advocacy resolution encourages clergy and congregations to educate themselves about the plight of immigrants and the root causes of migration.
The Convention approved the Vital Congregations Plan, which provides a framework and system of shared connection and accountability for congregations to support one another. A Vital Congregations Committee with eight ministry areas will carry out efforts to strengthen congregations, especially “those whose future may be imperiled.”
Bishop Chane was made an assistant bishop of the diocese and is available to visit congregations as his schedule permits.
Secretary of the Diocese:
Catherine Campbell, St. Andrew’s, Encinitas
John Will, St. Paul’s Cathedral
Bill Krieger, St. Paul’s, Yuma
JD Cowart, St. Bartholomew’s, Poway
Paige Blair, St. Peter’s, Del Mar
Allen Sweet, St. Michael’s, Carlsbad
Martha Anderson, All Souls’, Point Loma
Kathleen Kelly, Good Shepherd, Hemet
Kevin Warner, St. Dunstan’s, San Diego
Joyce Justus, St. Peter’s, Del Mar
Roxanne Perfect-Knight, St. Paul’s Cathedral
Jay Powers, St. Michael’s, Carlsbad
Diocesan Foundation Trustee:
Sam Ward, Christ Church, Coronado
The Bishop’s School Trustee:
Ann Wolterstorff Love
A full list of the bishop’s appointments to committees and commissions will be available on the governance pages of www.edsd.org.
Delegates approved a $2.3 million budget that includes $487,000 for mission and parish investment, and $190,000 for outreach, programs and clergy support. Julie Young, diocesan treasurer and canon for finance and administration, reported that, “all sources of income were below budget as were most expense categories.”
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